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    Secret gardens

    Eric and I had an e-mail exchange that I’d like to quote but can’t precisely because it was on the subject that ended up in this recent post of his:

    I think that one of the reasons so many bloggers are drawn to this medium is that in too many ways, America has become a country in which people are afraid to say what they think. Blogging gives a voice (if not a loudspeaker) to those who’d normally be silent, but the downside is that it gives them an opportunity to be heard by the very people who’d normally intimidate them into silence. I think there are people who’ve taken up blogging precisely because thoughts like “I could never say this at work!” or “You just can’t discuss issues like this in public!” ran through their minds.

    Every so often, I’ll get an e-mail to the effect of “Thanks for being so outspoken about [gay/Japan] stuff,” and my reaction is to the effect of “Oh, honey, if you only knew!” Since I write under my own name, I have to use content and tone that are compatible with my job, but that doesn’t bother me. It’s not as if people who try to make their points forcefully but civilly were overrepresented in the public discourse or anything. I also have a few teenaged readers and try to keep my occasional bawdiness mild and good-humored, the better to serve as a thrilling contrast with the latest Britney Spears or Jessica Simpson video.

    *******

    Of course, not every e-mail is an overblown compliment. I won’t post things from people who obviously want to remain anonymous, but I don’t see why I shouldn’t address the topic raised:

    The idea that, because I’m happy and in a settled, sustaining relationship at 33, coming out must have been a breeze for me is an extraordinarily naive one. Coming out reorders your whole view of the world and where you belong in it; anyone going through such an experience is bound to have trouble navigating it. I needed people to cut me some slack without giving up on me altogether, and fortunately, I had friends who were willing to do exactly that. Basically honorable people sometimes do pained, impulsive, nasty things in moments of weakness. That’s not to excuse them, only to say that they shouldn’t be summarily written off.

    But for some people, explaining away their bad behavior as the fault of social prejudice gets to be habit-forming, and if they’re going to make self-justifying statements in public, I think those statements deserve to be challenged.

    2 Responses to “Secret gardens”

    1. Secrets of the garden variety . . .

      Sean Kinsell and I had an email exchange earlier this week, and as Sean pointed out in a post titled “Secret Gardens,” it resulted in my earlier post about blogging. While Sean didn’t quote from the email exchange (phew!), he…

    2. home says:

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