Social Justice Bullies

Social pandering has gone over and beyond ridiculous.  We must be careful what we say and to whom, and even the most benign thing shared can cause outrage.  Why is that?  Words are hurtful, there is no doubt about that, but why must we walk on the proverbial eggshells anymore?

Bullies exist, they always have and always will.  It is a toxic part of humanity and a reality most people face sometime in their lives.  However, that doesn’t seem to be why people are so hurt by words lately.  It appears that large masses of people have thin skin and have an axe to grind against anyone who shares a different viewpoint or vocabulary.

Below is a screenshot of a reaction someone had to a tweet.  Keep in mind my wife runs my Twitter account and was the one that posted this, not me, which is massively ironic.  The not-too-subtle accusation of sexism.  The point isn’t to vent because I’m offended.  It is to point out just how thin-skinned, so many people of our culture are.  Why is something so innocent as my wife and I celebrating our teamwork in need of criticism?

Our culture is growing ever more sensitive to the point where it finds problems where there are none.  No matter how benign a statement, social media post, or thought is, someone is bound to get offended, but not just offended, that person may feel the need to “educate” you and put you in your place.  Offended people now are the social bullies.  Attempting to silence any voice that is different from their own in the name of “good.”  How do we fight this?  Call it out for what it is, bullying.  Us writers need to keep writing our thoughts and what’s on our mind.  Not cater or pander to anyone, no matter how loud and obnoxious their voice may be.  The irony is that it is typically those who speak of tolerance and acceptance that are guilty of the very things they claim to hate.  Perhaps this is a window into everyone’s psyche, we are often guilty of the things we hate the most.  Therefore, before getting sanctimonious over silly things on social media, let us examine ourselves and see if we live up to our own standards.  We all need this.  Certainly, there is a time and place to speak up, and that is where wisdom and discernment comes in, both qualities though seem to be sorely lacking in our society.

Three Years of Blogging

It was November of 2013 when I first started blogging on WordPress.com.  Since then, I have learned much about myself and the whole blogging process.  What started out as a mission to let the readers gain insight into the worlds I built and the process of writing, became so much more.

Truth be told, blogging was something I despised.  I saw it as a way for people to sit from the safety of their homes and critique the world around them without having to get involved.  Around the time of started on WordPress, I knew of someone who used his blog to spew criticism at the culture.  Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty to say about societal shortcomings, but I wanted a theme, something to tie my stuff together and that’s writing.

Writing was to be the topic and I resolved not to deviate from that.  In July of 2017 I finally moved on from WordPress.com and bought a domain.  Along with that came a new vision with my blog.  During the couple years I only wrote about writing, I struggled with topics, yet I did not want to be an armchair critic.  Blogging after all is something anyone can do, anything can be said, and facts largely become irrelevant.  That isn’t something I want to be a part of.  However, many authors use blogging to discuss life, social issues, and the world.

I realized that if a reader is going to take the time to read a blog they want to know more than the ins and outs of writing.  A variety of content is essential, especially if a blog is going to become monetized.  I began writing on more topics, and realized that I can do it in a way where I don’t have to offer sanctimonious platitudes without facts.  I can write about my observations in the world, sharing my thoughts and feelings while at the same time directing my own words back at myself.  I have a blog about refusing to get offended but instead pausing and taking time to formulate our thoughts instead.  This is something I need to do, especially in this crazy world that only seems to be getting more insane.  Now, the challenge is to not become what I dislike about blogging, and become a critic from behind a computer screen without living up to my own standard.

Do not get offended, get thoughtful.

I am a millennial.  We are known for two things, 90s nostalgia and getting offended, especially the later.  While Millennials on college campuses are the poster men and women for offense.  It seems to me that being predisposed to offense goes beyond my generation.  I think that social media is the root of a lot of offense.  How about instead of getting offended we get thoughtful.

We are steeped in technology and information.  How companies get their information to you through all the other sources is to pander to what you want to hear and believe.  As a result, we lose our ability to empathize with someone else.  That, requires effort.  We must seek out what the “other side” believes.  It’s okay to disagree, but what happened with civil discourse and free exchange of ideas without someone feeling it is a personal attack?

In the era of knee-jerk reactions and visceral reactions on the internet, I challenge whoever is reading this and myself to respond thoughtfully.  It goes against every instinct within us.  When we are hurt we want to get even, make them suffer and feel pain.  There is enough of that on the internet.  Why don’t we instead learn why we believe what we believe and support it with facts and research?  When replying to posts we disagree with, why don’t we keep calm and explain our position rationally.  This is something we should all think about.

Benefits of Fiction

I have written before on fiction and why I write it.  You can read about my thoughts on why I write fantasy specifically here.   I also think it is important to note the benefits of fiction, especially speculative fiction.

Some may say that fairy-tales, fantasy, and other fiction is a waste of time.  These people assert that reading what is real is the only thing worth reading at all.  I disagree.  Fantasy explores difficult areas of life from the comfort of a fictional setting.  More importantly I feel that fantasy opens a door in the mind to realize there are things beyond our current understanding.

We only know so much about the world, and are only capable of studying it so far.  Science is a wonderful and useful method, but there are limits to the scientific method.  The beauty of fantasy is that it can fill in those areas with imagination and tell a deep and fulfilling tale.  Fantasy has the chance to delve into the areas we don’t understand and search metaphorically for questions such as what is the meaning of life, what is reality, and is there ever a time for war?

I feel that fantasy can be just as important and compelling as nonfiction.  I do not deny the importance of reality, but many times perception and worldview puts a spin on it.  So even if something is “nonfiction” it can still have untrue or warped information. Fiction isn’t true, it doesn’t even pretend to be true, and that is the beauty of it.  Fantasy delivers truth in the package of make-believe and doesn’t need to be bothered as much by worldview and tainted glasses.