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Saturday, June 30, 2007
What Do You Think?
I was just in a discussion on another blog regarding the kind blog button. The concensus there seems to be that those of us who are displaying the button are in effect the opposite. That we're holding ourselves up as better than others, and therefore, the very opposite of kind. The original post wasn't quite that harsh, but some of the comments got there.

I commented that I had the button because I think it would just be a better world if we were all a little kinder to each other. When I say that I include myself. That button reminds me to be a little kinder when I want to go into a rant. I see people tearing each other apart all over the Internet on blogs and message boards. All the while they hid their identity under some clever, or not so clever, pseudonym.

I also mentioned that as a high school teacher, I really wish people would be kinder to each other. It is amazing how cruel kids are to each other, to their families, to their teachers, and to themselves.

I also admitted to loving a good snarky blog. I'll admit it. I'd be snarkier if I could be, but when I do it just sounds like bitchin'. I admire someone who can state their opinions in a humorous snarky way.

I was taken to task and quoted the definition of snarky, which apparently is mean. I haven't looked it up for myself because I don't really care what the "official" definition is for that word. The snarky blogs I enjoy, and there are quite a few, have one main thing in common and that is humor. And while they may make sarcastic comments about situations, I haven't seen them attack an individual. It's okay to make fun of situations.

I guess being funny wipes out the mean for me. For the record, I think it's mean to personally attack another person for what they say, especially for what they write because nuance is so easily lost. I think it's mean to be rude or malicious or to pick a fight just because you disagree. I don't think it's mean to disagree. I think that's great, and I don't think it's mean to be snarky.

Enough of what I think though, what do you think?

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9 Comments:

Blogger Michelle said...

I actually agree w/what you said!

Anonymous Lady Old Eggs said...

I'm sorry you felt attacked, or that I was picking a fight with you, or that I was being rude. NOT my intention and I sincerely apologize for making you feel that way.

It does however, serve to prove a point: one person's perception or interpretation is not necessarily the same as someone else's, This is why I gave the "official" definition of snark; so that it was clear rather than blurred based on perception. Why? Because what one person finds acceptable, another finds as being mean. Such as how you found my response (mean), which someone else may have found as snarky (which was it's intent, hence the use of your own declaration of not being good at snarkiness yet wishing you were, utilizing the "kindness badge" situation at hand, and the winking emoticon at the end), which isn't being mean according to you.

Ah, but snark is okay as long as it's about a situation and not a person. Now that is a part of your perception of snark that you left out on the other blog, so how would I know that what I said was therefore going to be considered mean and not snark? Do you see what I getting at here? We all have are own ideals about what's acceptable humor and what's not, and what are acceptable "targets" for that humor and what aren't, and those ideals will vary from person to person as well as situation to situation.

Snark is snideness, and regardless of whether that snideness is directed towards an actual specific person, a group, a "situation," ect...there is always someone, somewhere who personifies that which is being snarked about, and that person can (and usually does) take offense and feels such comments are mean. Behind every situation is a real person by some means of connection, so to snark even a situation could be taken as an indirect snark upon that person. Know what I mean?

Let's face it, snark is funny and humorous until it's hits too close to one's own character, beliefs, actual person or any other connection that one personally holds dear.

My personal bottom line is this: I do love snark as it can be quite funny, but I also think that snark can be, and technically is, mean (whether the snarker actually wants it to be or not). One persons funny is another person's mean and one does not cancel out the other for the person at the receiving end of mean.

So yeah, while I do love snark, I'm not under any delusions that think that, a) I myself am any good at it either, but more importantly, b) I would love it when if it's directed towards me or anything that hits close to "home" for me. I think that's true of all snark lovers. I'm just saying.

Peace.

Lady Old Eggs

Blogger Magi said...

Hi Lady Old Eggs,

I tried to find a way to contact you directly, but couldn't. I did not feel attacked by your comment at all. I thought it brought up some interesting points and wanted to open a discussion on it. I didn't want to take over someone else's blog to do so.

I do agree that I went into more detail in my post than I did in a quick comment.

My point was really to open it up and find out what others think as well. My intent, as I stated, in having that button is to remind myself as much, if not more than others, to play nice. I'm just wondering if people who come here see it that way or see it the way you and others see it, as a sign that I feel superior to others. Since that is not my intent, I would remove the button if it offends readers.

You are also right in that snark is a fine line. Maybe that's why I'm impressed by people who straddle that line so well.

Blogger Kate said...

I guess I feel like, whatever you want to label your own blog, and whatever your intent behind those words may be, THAT is what the label is and should mean. Others will interpret words variably and as they see fit (anyone remember, "It depends on what your definition of the word is is"??) and as a general rule, language is hugely subjective and changeable.

So you can call it kind and mean kind, and another can call it kind and mean better-than-others, and both are valid and reasonable. And even if they were unreasonable, they would still be valid.

And I loves me a good snark.

Anonymous Lady Old Eggs said...

I'm so glad you didn't feel attacked by my comments since they were in no way meant in that manner. I feared from your blog post that you had felt that way, but see that isn't the case and totally "get" why you wanted to open this topic up for further discussion (and not take up space someone else's blog doing so). I enjoy a good discussion as it allows everyone to see other people's points of view, especially when they can give more details and insight into their thinking and allows you to "see" things from their perspective.

Please don't misunderstand my comment of agreeing that I thought the button was implied criticism. I do think that it can be an implied criticism, but I certainly don't feel that those who choose to have the button necessarily feel superior (well, who knows, maybe there are some folks out there who feel that way, but I would think those are folks who would feel that way even without the button, kwim?). By implied criticism I mean that one could think that if they DIDN'T see the button on a particular blog then perhaps that blogger is not a kind person (or a kind person according to their definition of kind) or that they enjoy and/or promote such atrocities as the trainwreck blog and immediately click away not giving that blog or it's writer even a cursory glace, when that may not be the case at all. But, I don't think all people will do that, but I do think some will simply because the button is not there. And possibly some that DO see the button on a blog may do that as well; click away without giving it even a glimpse. Again, some people may do that, but not all will. I certainly won't because although the displays on a blog do tell a little something about the writer, it doesn't paint the whole picture. That's all I'm saying.

I do see your point of view about why you chose to have the button, and I respect it. I do not think that you should remove it regardless of what anyone thinks or says. Afterall, this is your blog.

I do agree that people do need to be a little more kinder....there are some posters/bloggers who make some extraordinarily hateful, obnoxious, and spiteful comments. I have been saddened to see many people go password protected or do away with comments or their blog altogether because of it.

Keep your blog the way you want it---it's a reflection of YOU, not of what other's think it should be.

Peace.

LOE

Anonymous Sister Carrie said...

I saw the same discussion, and honestly I was stunned. I still can't understand how something so innocent could provoke such strong judgments. I just thought it was a nice way to shine a little light.

I also used to think "snarky" meant clever and witty, but I looked it up and it is in fact a contraction of "snide remark." I think most people think of it the way I did (it's even mentioned as being okay in the Kind Blog manifesto), but I don't use the word anymore to avoid confusion.

Anyway, if the button means something to you, don't take it down. At the very least it will tell certain people that your blog will be of no interest to them and they can just move along.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you. And some seem to get implied confused with inferred. The whole world is not thinking about them. If someone wants to put Kind Blog on their site then maybe they have a wider plan in mind than getting at someone in particular. I know of a few of these Kind Blogs and nothing was implied. What is inferred is down to what's going through the reader's mind.

Anonymous Lady Old Eggs said...

Dear anonymous,

I won't argue with you that some do get implied and inferred confused. I respectfully stand by my use of the word implied in proper context though since implied means, to suggest or indicate without being explicity stated; to signify or mean; to involve as necessary circumstance, ie: speech implies a speaker. Therefore, in this instance, a kindness badge implies kindness and lack thereof would obviously implies otherwise. If the implication has been made then one does not infer it. Exactly what adjective one might chose to further describe the "otherwise" (ie: unkind, mean, rude, etc...), can be inferred, however, the use of a noun such as criticism would be implied.

I do give you props for the snark though!

Peace.
LOE

Anonymous Jo said...

Ah LOE,

I actually wasn't talking about your comment!
Maybe my grammar isn't which it shoulda might be..what I meant was, it seems some people take the Kind Blog logo as a critcism. But the people I know who use it - and I was one of them for a while - do so because they want to (re)define how they blog. THEY blog, not how someone else does. The world is a huge place and there's room for all of us. I may just not want to stand next to someone who rubs me up the wrong way. Doesn't make them any less than me, or me superior to them...just diferent.I may want to remind myslf that I should try to be kinder because I have a tendency to be overly blunt. I kinda want to put it back on my blog now, just to remind myself that I should try to be more thoughtful. In saying that I am IN NO WAY saying that anyone else is thoughtless. I don't have time to think about their lives, mine is exhausting enough!

Peace indeed :)

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