Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Stick a Fork In It

Last week I penned a column for the space I am so honoured to hold in the local Connect Weekly newspaper. I have been writing there for a couple of years now, both articles with a more journalistic bent and personal opinion pieces. Last week I wrote about a new breed of individual that the Internet has created, the Casual Cowards of the Keyboard who hide behind pseudonyms and the moniker "anonymous" to comment on everything from online newspaper articles to blogs like mine, and how my father - who believed in a very fundamental version of freedom of speech where you attached your name - would have been appalled by the shenanigans of the Casual Cowards.

The online world has certainly changed how we read - and what we read. Perhaps one of the things I find most intriguing is what people choose to read online. On occasion I encounter a reader of this blog who basically says (and I paraphrase slightly): "I read what you write because I hate it and it makes me angry."

I must admit I find this bemusing. There are many ways one could make oneself angry, like repeatedly poking yourself in the eye with a fork. Maybe I am missing the masochism gene, but I find myself struggling to understand why anyone reads something they acknowledge they hate. I suppose I think life is just too short to be using a cattle prod on yourself. I studiously avoid the works of authors or writers I can't stand,  particularly if they are opinion pieces that I know I won't appreciate - I would rather spend my time reading the work of those I enjoy. And if I do happen to read them on those very rare occasions when one sneaks onto my screen I don't bother contacting the author to argue with them, because I recognize it is pointless and if this is their opinion they are as unlikely to change their mind as I am to change mine. If the person is a journalist and the piece is factually incorrect I may contact them to advise of the factual discrepancies, but an opinion piece? It's tilting at a windmill I will never shift.

But there are those out there - maybe you reading this now are one of them - who hate what I write and what I think, and I all I can ask is: dude, why are you reading this? This is just an online blog, an opinion-editorial on the Internet, written by someone who is unpaid to do so and who writes it simply because she wants to. There is no requirement to read it, no compelling reason to do so - so if it makes you angry (and in turn makes you want to send me hate mail, of which I receive a startling amount) why are coming back here to read it? I got two pages into Shades of Grey before I tossed it into the trash because the writing was so egregiously awful, and all one has to do if they feel the same about this blog is to click that little X on the window in which it appears. Call it free anger management advice, if you want.

As I approach the fourth anniversary of this blog, a rather startling realization, I find I write it for the same reasons I began it four years ago: for myself, and to tell the story of my life in this community. Some detractors have suggested this blog upsets them because it is "all about me", but of course it is as that has always been the intent and purpose of the blog - it is a blog about me, and my life, opening myself up in ways that have on occasion made me very vulnerable. This too is an option the Internet has created, an ability to share one's thoughts and life freely with the world. The reality is that anyone who has an issue with it - or with me - has a very clear choice: keep poking a fork in your eye, or simply hit that X and make me disappear from your screen, going about your life while I go about mine. I'm cool with either choice, really, because this blog isn't about you - it's about me, just as it always was and always will be - and after four years of doing it I am pretty comfortable saying that if you don't like it, well, you can stick a fork in it.


  1. Anyone who reads a blog or anything really, just because it "makes them feel angry" needs to seek help. To me, that is about as logical as leaping over the rail of a scaffold at work or taking your mask off during an H2S alarm just to see what would happen. Self-defeating.

  2. Some people don't like it when women believe their own opinions and experiences are worth sharing. They also seem to think they would be better at choosing the topics women write about in their blogs. It's sad, but true. The arrogance of it is startling, but I figure these people are among those who don't examine themselves enough to realize their self-awareness is lacking. If they don't like what you write, why don't they go write their own damn blog? No. They'd rather bitch about yours. Tsk. People can be so stupid.