|One of the most significant lessons I ever learned about forums, and particularly email is a principle we used to call "The Irrectractibility of the Launch". It still holds 100% true with email, because you can't stop the launch. There were times when, if it had been a mailbox, I would have crawled into it to get the letter. It used to be like that with posts, too- if you wanted to get rid of one, you'd have to get one of the list owners to pull it. That could take a few days sometimes, which was quite a treat for you, since you already realized you had done something you didn't want to, and now it was out there. The best course of action was to lay low until things blew over, because even if you posted an apology, being on the forum was about as fun as going to a herpes fuck party. |
All of us who have been around since lists and bulletin boards know this principle. The funny part is that even with that, it doesn't always stop even the best and brightest from violating the principle.
What I ended up calling into question, after awhile, was my purpose. Why did I unleash the monster? What did it achieve? What was underlying my action? Was I a narcissist? Was I impressed with how I used what was for sure a very, very sharp tongue? Was I trying to be like Hunter Thompson? What the fuck was I doing it for?? More importantly, what did it say about me when, for a good long time, I went for the "I yam what I yam" defense? Deep questions, man...
I finally came to the conclusion that I enjoyed writing with that tone. It was the Weapon of Choice, and I was so very good at it, mainly due to extensive hands-on experience. That, plus as nice of a guy as I was, I wasn't all nice- I could be a real asshole. I concluded that that particular type of writing might be able to be harnessed into something else, if I learned how to be comparably good at writing some other way, and made prudent use of the tactical knife. I made a conscious effort to stop being an asshole when I wrote on forums about two years ago. Results vary, but basically I got rid of the whole passive-aggressive thing, because I found no purpose in it. It alienates more than communicates.
Being new here, I have had to find time when I could to go and read Linz's work, along with many others, so I can learn about them, and of course enjoy their many ideas. For what it's worth, I find Linz to be an exceptional writer, and not just as an essayist. I've only seen little bits of when he cut loose on someone, which he does quite professionally. He's at least as good as I was at it, probably better... :) . But, as darkly entertaining as his work can be during those times, I have read many, many other things so far by him that I value much more. I don't know if he enjoys what he gets out of it, and if he does, why. I'm still not sure why I got off on it so much. I just don't do it anymore because it makes me feel funny.