Friday, May 09, 2008

Thinking Thursday...A little late. :)

I truly meant to post yesterday, I was going to chat about the recent imbroglio regarding RT, but after reading the different blogs on the topic, I had run out of time. LOL Seriously, there's a lot to read and some of it is amazingly rediculous. Sigh...

On the other hand, I discovered a couple of new to me blogs that are really stellar - um, way better than anything I could come up with for daily entertainment and communication. It's a good thing you all hang around here because I love the connection this blog gives me to readers and I feel even more blessed when I realize how many other, more entertaining, blogs you've all got to go to. Maybe - on days I have a little extra time - I'll visit these other ones too.

The one thing that hit me as I read the different blogs was not the stuff that had gone on at RT. It was the over the top negative response some people had to honestly expressed experiences and opinions. Weird! I mean, you all know, I am not a fan of hurtful snark. I'm not impressed with bloggers (men and women alike) who sound like they are in perpetual PMS, but I've never once suggested those bloggers keep their opinions to themselves. What would be the point? Lots of people (my daughters included) love that sort of thing.

I really have a hard time understanding any attempt made to close down discussion centered around heartfelt opinions and that leads me to what is really bothering me. Or making me think. It's the belief that an author lacks professionalism when expressing a negative opinion about something in her professional life.

How much do I personally buy into that mindset and at what point do I disagree with it?

Certainly, it's easier not to say much publicly about personal frustrations because - right, wrong, or indifferent - those things can come back to bite you in the butt. But is it wrong?

After wrestling with the idea for a while, I've come to the conclusion that I *don't* believe it is. In fact, I believe there are times it is necessary. A person needs to say something about what they consider to be unjust, uncouth, or unconsciounable. Not to do so, leaves them in tacit agreement with the unnacceptable.

Does that person put her or himself at risk for rebuttal? Of course. Can the perceived "lack of loyalty" put more than that person's frustration levels at risk? Yes.

Is that right? No. Which makes it even more important to speak up about the things that really matter. So, no one has to stand alone.

Ideally, we would count the cost before making public declarations one way or another and determine if they are worth making. For me, some are. Some are not and some I don't even think about.

Would I have spoken out publicly against some of the things that happened at RT this year? Definitely. Would I have taken people to task personally? Probably. Would I grieve the negative reaction afterward? Without a doubt, but that wouldn't stop me from doing it. Someone else might feel differently. I know what my tolerance levels are.If even half of what I've read regarding the events at this year's RT Convention is unbiased revelation, those levels would have been breached. Big time.

I have spoken out publicly about certain things and had my hands slapped. Issues like adultery in romance novels, overturning a happy ending, mean-spirited criticism of my friends or colleagues, the dismissive attitude some have toward the smaller presses like ePublishers, romance authors who themselves cut down our genre in personal rhetoric, and anyone who claims there is only one way to write a wonderful book.

This issue came into focus yesterday when a friend told me that some were claiming that Rush Limbaugh unfairly influenced the outcome of the presidential primaries. I'll be honest and risk offending some, I don't care for Mr. L. Not a bit. Won't listen to what for me amounts to a great deal of ignorance (of the wilful variety), but at what point did we decide that people with a public persona don't have a right to personal opinion??? I'm thinking this problem is way bigger than the romance community, but reflective of our society at large. A society that often scoffs at political or social activism on the part of our most public figures.

Putting yourself in the public forum does not mean giving up your right to speak your mind about issues that are important to you. I guess, I'd just say - from personal experience - and watching others - be ready for the fallout when it comes.

What do you all think?



Amy said...

I think a person has the right to express their opinion no matter what it is. I may or may not agree with what is being said and how it is being said but the person still has the right to express their opinion.

Cryna said...

I am of the opinion that a person has the right to express their own opinion. But do they have the right to say hateful and degrading things to someone else because it does not agree with their opinion....NO....I think that carries it a bit far. Express your own opinion, be ready to defend your opinion, and take the fallout if there is some for it, but in no way degrade someone else for their opinion.

Denysé said...

Well said from everyone so far, especially you, Lucy. I've had to bite my tongue on many occasions over what is honestly a point of opinion only, but once you understand that this public sentiment you are about to express may come back to haunt you, you learn to be circumspect in ways you might never have considered before. An opinion is something we're all entitled to, an intelligent and thoughtful opinion is a blessing in some situations. I know I'm probably going to get the blast of a lifetime here, but it seems that SO much of the time now, the freedom to speak is abused because everyone's hiding behind a computer screen and thinks they can take their personal frustrations out on whatever unfortunate target they happen upon. There is little to no respect and thought in many people's blogs, posts, comments, etc., and to people who have a certain level of public acceptance, one wrong word tends to make you target of the moment to many people with nothing better to do. We all have the right to express ourselves, but I agree with you, why snark and belittle other people - ultimately all it does is show who's really the narrow-minded observer. We all know there are fights worth risking for, and others that are simply too inane to wade in on. Sometimes discretion is the wisest course, and silence is truly golden.

I'm going to slide back to my cave now, thanks for listening....

Love to you, Lucy.
Always ~~ Denyse