Tuesday, August 09, 2005

war on terror in an age of anxiety

Liz Ditz left a great comment a few links down, in response to my post about Jay Rosen's use of the "T" word...

I agree with you about Rosen's comments. What I heard was a lot of the commenters wanting to have their anxiety lessened--to be reassured that there was no real risk of

*bad people coming to take their children away
*unwanted attention.

Some of the anxiety I heard was about disclosing too much -- how can you use this tool (blogging) without betraying others' confidence? That to me is a reasonable question.

Another anxiety was about loss of control over one's public image.

Another sort of question seemed to have the subtext, "What mistakes have you made that you can share with us?" -- mostly about too much disclosure, or unwanted repercussions.

I mean, if you ask Dooce, who was fired for her blog, that's a reasonable question!

Maybe the title of the noon talk is in part at fault "Flame, Blame and Shame" -- catchy, but presupposes shame, after all.

I wish that part of the conf. had been, well, more didactic. For example, I have a rule that I do not allow the 7 words on my blog, so if someone uses those words, I edit the comment. I also edit--restate-- comments that are potentially actionable (libel and slander). Amy Geren (contentious.com) has a good taxonomy of "vermin" -- people who have bad internet manners. It would have been more helpful, I think, to have someone talk about how to manage your own reactions to this type of behavior.

In short, I didn't hear "terror" -- I heard anxiety, appropriate anxiety, seeking some reasonable reassurance.

Liz hits the nail right on the head: anxiety would have been the appropriate word..."terror" was too strong and, in our particular politically charged climate, was def. inappropriate. I think Jay and I actually share a love hyperbole...

Thanks Liz :-) Hopefully we'll get the chance to meet at another gathering!

(in a strange way, I'm beginning to think I should move out to California)

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idyllopus said...

What are the seven words?

Anonymous said...

Me, Liz Ditz here again.

Wow, thanks for the compliments. I too hope we will meet.

The "seven words" are backhanded way of referring to George Carlin's "the 7 words you can't say on TV (or radio, I forget).

Anyway, words having to do with fornication, defecation, female reproductive organs...you get the idea