05 March 2010


Some Quick Takes That Add up to Seven
(See the rest of this week's Seven Quick Takes at Conversion Diary)


To begin with the unvarnished truth . . . I wasn't planning on doing the Seven Quick Takes meme this week. I've said before (though elsewhere) that 7QT isn't the meme for me, though I like reading others' posts, and so I wasn't planning on linking up ever again.

Then Jen, our 7QT hostess, wrote this--

I received some complaints in response to my last quick takes post, saying that my writing of late is self-centered and has degenerated into, as one commenter put it, "pablum about inane things" . . .

--and I smelled a rat. Or should I say, a troll? A very familiar troll!


All I had to do was read the comment she left and I knew who it was!

I am growing increasingly disenchanted with your blog. You used to write about faith. Now it seems to be all about yourself. I am so disappointed.

(See my post A Troll of My Very Own.)

She has obviously made a few alterations to her vocabulary of condemnation, as her former favourite word "self-serving" has managed not to appear . . . but I'm fairly sure she's the same person who has spammed other people's comboxes with the same anonymous ill-will.

And to think, just three months ago, she was sucking up to Jen!


Threads are coming together. A few days ago, in another corner of the blogosphere, I read a post by Pentimento that spiraled into a multi-faceted reflection on blogging:

I wonder if the reason that some who seek comfort or confirmation in the Catholic blogosphere are outraged when they find blogs like this one, is the commonly-held myth that everyone is exactly like oneself . . .

The discussion which follows brings up the question of how responsible an anonymous blogger is for the equally anonymous readers who are outraged, scandalised, or even hurt by what he has written.

It's a good question--one that I know I tend to brush aside too often. When I get a highly emotional comment from someone I've never properly "met" before, but who clearly has been lurking on my blog for some time, I apply a lesson from Stephen King . . .

You know, Paul Sheldon didn't owe
"Number One Fan" Annie Wilkes anything, either.

If it turns out that the same anonymous troll I've learned to track is the one bothering Pentimento, I'm going to apply some other lessons learned from Stephen King!

(Yes, I'm still going for Horror Blogger status . . . Yes, it's hard going most of the time.)


My youngest brother happened to be within earshot when I read the troll's first comment and exploded with a hearty "That b****!"

So, of course, I had to apologise--and to explain.

Then he asked, "But what if the person was really offended?"

"That's her own problem," I said. "You can be the nicest, most tactful person in the world and people may still find something wrong with you. Then there's nothing you can do. But you can always choose not to be a boor."

Not offending other people is an impossible ideal. So I, for one, settle for something more feasible, like being honest.


Yes, it would probably be easier to keep one's blog private, open only to invited readers whom one has screened knows well. Yet many of my favourite bloggers have said, at some point or another, that the reason they are putting their stuff out there for anyone to read is that they don't always know people who can connect with them on those levels.

The latest one I've read is from Sheila of A Gift Universe:

I think the single most important thing to me in a friendship is honesty. Not just "not lying," but being completely candid -- not avoiding or glossing over certain topics. When I gripe to a friend about my problems, I want her to listen, of course -- but I also want to hear exactly what she thinks about what I said. I don't want to be agreed with all the time. I want to be told if my friend thinks I'm wrong . . .

These blogs I love are starting to remind me of diaries accidentally left behind and then read by people who were never supposed to have seen them. Should the diarist have to apologise for writing something that comes from the heart? Is it a crime against friendship for a private pen to turn into a surgeon's scalpel? The rules are different with blogs, of course, but the main thing to remember is that honesty is not rudeness.


Speaking of friends, I find myself in the uncomfortable situation--all my own fault, of course--of having to make some new ones if I don't want to feel lonely.

Having told most of my old friends in the Catholic blogosphere to take a hike because I'm not one of them anymore, I now wander randomly through the unfamiliar neighbourhoods of the Book and Horror blogospheres, looking for people I wouldn't mind reading and who wouldn't mind reading me.

For blogging, when it's at its best, is a real conversation--not simply self-promotion for free stuff or more "followers." To borrow a term from Madeleine L'Engle, the blogosphere is like a tesseract in which people from different circles of space (and perhaps even different circles of time!) can meet and become friends. The private diary has been published--if only anonymously--in the hope that a random person in the public multitude will turn out to be the one friend for whom the cover can stay open and to whom everything can be told.


And what all this is reminding me of of my favourite Emily Dickinson poems, which I've adopted as a sort of standard for my blogging . . .

I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us — don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

The "somebodies" can help one get oriented. (They do serve a "Marco!" . . . "Polo!" function in their sectors of the blogosphere.) But it is the "nobodies" I identify with and hope to meet.

Hi, I'm Enbrethiliel and I'm nobody. Who are you?

Image Sources: Misery clip


ninjapeps said...

You can be the nicest, most tactful person in the world and people may still find something wrong with you.

people have a remarkable ability to find something to be offended about. the biggest and most recent such feat I'm aware of concerns James Cameron's Avatar, which I'm sure I told you about some time ago.

Enbrethiliel said...


WTH??? =S

You had mentioned it, but I had no idea to what levels of idiocy certain people were taking it.

Absolutely incredible.

I don't know what else to say . . .

ninjapeps said...

scroll further down and you'll find that he did the same thing to Star Trek. remember: if you've got a big budget movie, its primary romance has to be homosexual or it's anti-gay.

mrsbroccoliguy said...

I totally agree with you about the nature of blogs... they are a place where one can speak from the heart. If a reader doesn't like what they read, they are free to click away from the page!

And I LOVE that poem and your reference to Madeline L'Engle... and I agree, you never know where a good friend might be ... sometimes it's easier to connect first via blogs than it is to meet someone in person.

Have a great weekend, and thanks for stopping by my blog too. :)

Enbrethiliel said...


Peps: Yeah, I scrolled down a bit and read his first post. Crazy, crazy, crazy . . .

Mrsbroccoliguy: Thanks for stopping by as well! I enjoyed your Seven Quick Takes very much. =)

Anne said...

Hello Nobody! I am nobody too! So glad that I am not the only nobody in the world! Let's be friends!

Love this post!

Enbrethiliel said...


Then there's two of us--just like in the poem! ;) Thanks for stopping by!

/dev/null said...

fish out of water!

Enbrethiliel said...


Was that your answer to the "Who are you?" question? =P If so, then:

Hello, Fish!


/dev/null said...

No, we're playing "Marco--Polo"!

Enbrethiliel said...


Oh . . .