General

How To Win Friends And Influence People?

Good morning from Potton, Bedfordshire, England:

[Potton, England. Photo by me, this morning, May 21, 2019.]

I took that photo earlier: a beautiful morning.

“Women are afraid that men will kill them” – so shouted a meme I saw a couple of days ago on Instagram quoting a Canadian woman β€œfeminist” author of a “highly-regarded” 1985 dystopic novel which has sadly and worryingly resonated with it seems many women.

A bit jarring, that photo before that quote, I know.

And that is the point. That quote was shared due to online “discussion” stemming from the passage of a new law in the U.S. state of Alabama. The still living author who is the original source is of the same generation (she was born about three years before) as my now late mother…

[Excerpt from Distances: Atlantic Lives, 1996-1997, on Kindle for iPhone/iPad. Click to expand.]

…and seeing that quote I could not help but recall my mother once declaring almost exactly that final paragraph above.

[Back paperback cover. Distances: Atlantic Lives, 1996-1997, on Kindle for iPhone/iPad. Click to expand.]

The original author’s glittering reputation among some in β€œthe literary world” is evidently secure at the moment. Fiction reading is always also a matter of personal taste. I have read that 1985 book’s Amazon promo and sample and felt it was as subtle a work as a punch in the mouth and decided to “pass” on buying it: Dystopian paranoid fantasies almost never interest me.

Given that fantasy she had concocted, that comment from her is utterly unsurprising. This is instead about the woman writer I actually follow on Instagram who posted that quote on her timeline: Does she actually fear that I – that all men – will kill her? Because that is what that sentence actually means – not some women, not some men; it is women and men. All.

Oh, she doesn’t really think that about all women and men? Okay, fine, then why post it? If she purports to be a writer herself, she should aim to be original; she should think for herself and more importantly think about what ALL of her readers and her followers see… and not post incendiary and inaccurate “kernels of wisdom” taken from others that she does not hold to be entirely true. It is not complicated.

That is an example of why I feel political and social belligerence on my blog or other social media is inappropriate. (I came THAT CLOSE to unfollowing that person on Instagram, but decided I would not.) Such to me only alienates visitors and readers who may disagree and without my achieving anything useful. Too many authors out there, however, appear to consider know-it-all-ism and obnoxiousness useful methods of persuasion. A word of advice if you are one of those: Don’t assume because no one disagrees overtly in your comments with your opinions that most therefore agree with you; do not mistake silence for agreement. Numbers of readers and followers just can’t be bothered to argue with you… and they will just fade away, having muted you or unfollowed.

[Books on the desk. Photo by me, 2019.]

Preaching to the converted hardly requires any great effort. The art of argument aiming to change minds, such as it might be said to have ever existed, has taken a thorough beating with the rise of social media in the last ten years. Now every dimwit person with an internet connection has an opinion; especially since the rise of “terrible Twitter” we are treated to β€œ280 character” diatribes, or we are smashed across the face with “brilliant” memes, either of which could well also end up on the likes of the BBC or CNN if they are outlandish enough.

I am certain you would not agree with all of my political opinions. Nor would I agree with all of yours. I’m not here to assert I’m absolutely right about my worldview and that if you disagree with me even by an iota you are some unenlightened idiot.

Maybe I’m shortsighted or just plain wrong for our era in not turning into some online loudmouth spouting heavy-handed views (or lazily re-posting those of others) as if they are unassailably correct and ought to be implemented immediately… because, well, I know everything. Perhaps doing that would attract me more attention? But I’m far more intellectually comfortable not heaping more trash on dumpster fires and I sleep much better at night being what you see here.

So if you want sloppy vitriol such as that author’s original comment, you are in the wrong place. This is the wrong blog to follow. And I am – proudly – the wrong author to read.

[Bogart and Bergman on the wall at last. Photo by me, 2019.]

On that note, have a good day, wherever you are. πŸ™‚