Thursday, November 23, 2006

Humor Without Hate & My Lack of Brilliance

As comments continue to come in on the exchange with the term paper mill guy, there were two that had me scratching my head at first. But then I realized that some people, especially if they haven’t been in the freelance trenches for long or if they were men (or both) just wouldn’t get it:

“Honestly, what sort of reply did you expect from Dave? Did you think that he'd offer up an apology for wasting your time even as you persisted in wasting more of it? Excluding Dave's sexist meltdown you both seem to be operating on the same level of, um, brilliance.”

And the other in response to the above response:

“As a fellow writer, much as it pains me, I must agree with the last post.

Your initial reply was pretty aggressive and had I received it I'd have been insulted. The amazing thing is not that this exchange quickly degraded into a flame war, but more than Dave kept humor in it (and true nastiness out) most of the way.

Of course, what he does IS a very, ahem, morally questionable thing. But it's what he's chosen to do, and usually the more questionable the morality of a choice, the more vehemently one will defend that choice from questions regarding its morality.

That aside, you put him in a pretty tough position. Unless he wrote back 'You're right, I quit' or completely abandoned any defense, he wouldn't have satisfied you. Had he done either of those things, he would have ended up looking the bigger human being (deflecting an attack without responding in kind always looks big, no matter what position its done from). I don't see what all this is proving.

And the further piling on by commenters (especially for things like 'bestow permission') really isn't helping the cause. By getting uber-agressive and twisting his words from humor to hate, you've managed to almost make me feel bad for the guy.

I don't think that's what you want. And remember, I'm also a writer who's dealt with plenty of creeps in my day - if your flame war has turned a natural sympathizer like me into a neutral party (where I stand at the moment), then something has gone wrong.”

From Kerri:

You don’t have to agree with me, but I do want to answer your questions.

What did I want him to say (and I would only answer honestly)? While I do care about people cheating their way through life, especially by purchasing term papers because these people could be my (or your) next doctor, dentist, chiropractor or lawyer, my initial concern were for people of my own profession. If my initial reply might seem "aggressive," I tend to get that way when I find people wasting my time by advertising for writers for what seems to be legitimate writing ventures, when it turns out it is for writing ventures that are um..."morally questionable." As a person who makes a living at this profession, as well as a teacher guiding others into it, he insulted me as well as a number of other legitimate writers. Two others emailed me saying they were duped into responding to the same ad, how many more were there? My message was for this scammer to call something what it is; don’t mislead true professionals into your sub-world.

Ventures such as Dave's are exactly why people believe that our craft is something that can be done by anyone. And by "anyone," I mean that it gives our profession the feel of being unprofessional. And to Dave, "stay at home mom" and unprofessional are the same thing. Trying to put writers down as "stay at home moms," and using crass descriptions of female body parts, evidentially means to the above commenter "humor lacking of true nastiness."

When I read these two comments, I would bet last week's pay both posts were written by men because only women truly would understand that someone using female parts in a bashing tirade or putting down the noble role of being a mother has already “turned humor into hate.” And only a woman would understand why I allowed my emotions overrule my head resulting in a “flame war,” because men using degrading comments about women are just as incendiary to us as any other derogatory insult that’s been hurled at subgroups through the centuries.

It was less than 20 years ago that I learned a white male was making more money than a black male and me at the same company, although we had more experience and advanced degrees. And it was only a few months ago that two men, in two separate tragedies, burst into schools, keeping only the girls to assault before they killed them. Our mass media not once called these incidents what they were – hate crimes. By continuing to allow discrimination against women in the workplace, or on the cover of magazines and in the media, we haven’t come very far from 1920, when it was finally decided that we were smart enough to vote.

The commenter was right about one thing, something has gone terribly wrong. Calling buying your way through college “morally questionable” continues to show our society’s regression in drawing the line between right and wrong (note the recent O.J. Simpson controversy). But that gray area of neutrality does seem to fit the commentator’s stance on humor vs. hate and makes me wonder if he found Michael Richard’s recent racial-slur-hurling-tirade humorous or because it was only minutes of his overall "performance" was he just keeping the "true nastiness out most of the way?"

You can't get a little pregnant and you also cant be a little sexist or racist by keeping the nastiness out most of the way.

Alas, the above commenter will have to find his own way out of the neutral zone of what should and shouldn't be acceptable. I won’t apologize for putting this term paper mill scammer in a "tough position" or insulting his delicate sensibilities about his "profession" or any other that tries to bring our own profession into the gutter with them. Nor will I be laughing at verbiage that tries to define women only by our anatomy. And I think those are the points all of the other commenters were trying to get across too.

Hopefully, that’s what all of this is proving.

And thank you for visiting my blog.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

good going, kerri. days on end without any comments to your posts. i supppose people just aren't finding you interesting unless i'm involved. HAHA. you're getting the big ignore. it's about what you deserve. haven't you yet realized that people eventually get tired of other people's endless moralizing rudeness?

the simple truth, as one of your few commenters pointed out, is that if you had a problem with my craigslist ad, you should have either replied saying that it's not for you, thanks anyway, or simply not replied at all. but since you were rude about it, i had to go nuclear on your ass. you brought it on yourself and the sooner you realize that, the sooner you will understand why so many people are laughing at you.

oh, and by the way, i'm not sexist. sexy, maybe. i could have referred to the enormous dick and ballsack between your ears that you were masturbating but somehow it wouldn't have been apropos.

i would suggest that you stop discussing me, it's old, but i know you won't. why? because you need the controversy to generate hits to your blog. as anyone can see, without me, you're nothing. you waste hours everyday on your insignificant little blog that no one ever reads, when you should be taking your kids to soccer practice. i say (and your husband, if you have a husband, probably agrees) just give it up. stop trying so hard. i'm sure there's something else you can do in life to be successful.


5:55 PM CST  

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