My post about Why I Write Masculine Stories generated a lot of commentary. I didn’t (and won’t) participate in it beyond this follow-up post because I find the whole thing silly.
I did find it an interesting study of internet outrage culture, though. I’ve been a spectator to other writers on the receiving end of the internet’s outrage, but experiencing it myself was both enlightening and, I daresay, kind of fun. I won’t draw conclusions about the character of people who habitually engage in this kind of outrage-a-thon, but I have trouble understanding the psychology. It seems a poor use of one’s emotional energy (particularly for those hangers-on who show up to every one of these and, I swear, must trawl the internet looking for things about which to be aggrieved and/or irate). But whatever floats your boat, I guess.
In any event let me once more state the obvious: I’ll continue to write what I want to write. I’ll continue to write it how I want to write it. And I will continue to characterize it how I want to characterize it (masculine, natch). You can like that, love it, hate it, think it’s stupid, feel meh about it, spend time and energy critiquing it, or whatever, because I don’t care.
I’m not saying that with a puffed-out chest or a raised middle finger. I’m simply observing that I don’t care what you think about it. When it comes to the writing, I owe and am responsible only to myself. I hope that what I write finds an audience and is widely-read (and so far, so good on that score), but torrents of digital criticism and outrage move me not at all when it comes to what I write, how I write it, and how I characterize it.
It seems that at least one goal of these kind of outrage fits (apart from making the outraged feel better by giving them a target at which to aim) is to chasten the target, try to humble them, or (best of all) elicit an apology and a promise to engage in righthink thereafter.
That won’t happen in this case. Digital anger and sundry rants and name-calling and trolling and even well-intentioned critiques (there were some of those, I think, by people of whom I used to think highly) don’t trouble me. And if it makes you feel good to go preach to your choir, or have a collective shouting session with the like-minded, or whatever it takes to get your rage on, hey, knock yourself out. Because…I don’t care. Because in my art I’m responsible only to me.
“But,” says Internet Wag, “If you don’t care, why this post at all, huh? I guess maybe you do care. Haw, haw.”
To which I answer: “Well, I care about something. But not about what you think.”
There are many people who watch these fits from the sidelines. And I suspect some of those folks self-censor in an effort to avoid attracting this kind of attention. If you do self-censor, I hope you’ll stop. Here’s why: Internet outrage is absurd, unintentionally amusing, and entirely powerless. Don’t let it concern you. Do your thing and go your way.
I saw an apt tweet yesterday that made me chuckle: “This world will never be short of donkeys telling racehorses how they should run.”
The internet, in particular, is chock-full of donkeys. Ignore them. Pick your own path and run.