I hate meta, but boy, is it easier to write meta than to keep trying to outline your just-started novel and keep realizing you can’t keep straight the nine sisters with whom you’ve burdened your protagonist. One of them married an Italian guy, and I don’t remeber if it was supposed to be Vera or Martha. Therefore:
Granted, I’m not tremendously invested in either candidate, and granted, this isn’t my first time at the your-candidate-sucks dance (hello, Dean asplosion of 2004, Kerry asplosion of later in 2004, would you two like some shiraz as long as I’m up?) and granted I could not possibly give less of a cold blue fuck who’s up and who’s down in the world of Kos and who’s a liar and who’s a traitor and who is ruining the blogs forever. But is it me or is the drama unfolding over the passing of a golden age on the Internet, caused by supporters of YOUR CANDIDATE who are ruining all our fun, just perhaps a tad much?
I’m not mocking candidate supporter passion (please, from the girl who proposed marriage to Chris Dodd, wouldn’tthat be absurd?). I’m not mocking people being upset at being mistreated, either; if someone was a creep to you it’s not up to me whether you should be upset. I’m just questioning the idea that any of the recent nastiness is entirely new, instead of just louder than usual.
Now, you can say I don’t think we’re in a terrible Internet crisis because I haven’t been personally attacked, but really, once a hundred Freepi have called you a whore and said there’s nothing wrong with your writing that your first orgasm won’t cure, well, I don’t think it’s wise to try to improve upon perfection. And maybe I would feel differently if in the past three months I’d gotten my very first hatemail, or received my very first note accusing me of being a Stalinist and saying people like me are why God is dead, or something, but the times of me being surprised by how nasty people can be online are long, long over. And the number of times people have declared thatthis blog sucks, or is over, and should just quit, I can’t count without taking off my socks.
The real reason I’m not in a state of panic about the loss of civilization as we know it is that I was never under the impression that blog world or even liberal blog world was never any different than any other place, which is to say, at times full of awesome, at times full of suck, and populated by assholes and insects and bullies and people who are prone to snap at the same in equal proportion to how such creatures are distributed elsewhere in the universe. I do not gnash my teeth at the passing of a great utopia because seriously, anybody who thought the political Internet was a utopia was fucking kidding himself to a really accomplished degree. I mean, in other news, music isn’t what it used to be, and kids today are total sluts.
I’ve met some fantastic people during my time blogging, I’ve met some real goofballs, and some people I wouldn’t throw a rope to if they were drowning, and I would hazard most of you reading this would agree, even if we might disagree on any given day about who belongs to what group. I don’t see the last group as evidence that the first is somehow less valuable, or that response toward the latter two should somehow change because it’s primary season. People who are being jerks should be called on it, people being sweet to you should get pats on the head, if you can’t agree on who’s who then you should go in a room and sit with your thoughts until you figure it out, and there is, once and for all, a difference between an argument and a fight: An argument is, “You’re wrong.” A fight is, “You’re wrong, and you’re an ASSHOLE.”
That being said, there are worse things than fights, even hard fights, even fights between friends. Even fights about the deepest things that unite us politically and what those things should be. On the day Kerry conceded, I was still kind of drunk, and had gotten about an hour of sleep in the last three days. And was at work, natch. People online had already started the advanced stages of freaking out, blaming gay people, pissing each other off, saying Kerry was a shitty candidate and everybody who supported him was a chump and deserved what he got. My friends and I went out to this subdued lunch of the stunned and picked at some food, and in the car on the way back I said, “This is not the worst day of my life.”
“It’s pretty close, for me.”
“This is not the worst day of my life. Telling myself that is the only way I will get past this.”
There are worse things than fights. We can glue ourselves back together. This can be repaired. And in the end, our hurts and bruises will not be the end of us, or the end of what we’re trying to build here. We’ve been knocked down by bigger things than one another. We can get back up from this, too.
Or not, if we don’t choose to, but let’s not kid ourselves that this is one of the things outside our control.