Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Controversial Opinions.

I am occasionally surprised with how angrily some react to my Tweets or my Facebook posts. One this morning attacked my "smearing" of Stephen Hawking, RIP. I truly despise the abolition of reality checks when such heroes die. Stephen was a great, ground-breaking and incredible scientist but as a human being he fell far short of compassion and kindness. Especially to his wives and children.

I do not believe in whitewashing the dead. They are flawed like the rest of us. Sometimes more so. My opinions are my own, usually carefully thought out and based on my own reality, sometimes drawing on my own pain or enlightenment. But they are sincere and destined not to hurt as I "own" them. I try not to attack YOU, but to point you in the direction of my reality, my perception of events. And I truly respect yours. We learn so much from each other's journeys.

I find it hard to understand the removal of controversial or opposing comments from blogs. What are bloggers and commentators looking for? Constant approval? Adulation? Hits? Sycophantic spirits in the digital realm?

I have little time for ad hominem attacks - I've been a victim myself - but certainly time for genuine, critical, thoughtful thinking, even of a drastically opposing viewpoint - I will fight to the death for you to air whatever you feel.

I view my blog as a place for me to throw something out and then take time to savour the comments, much like a virtual dinner party. And believe me I've had dinner parties where a guest has displayed his hitherto masked racism or misogyny - but I do not eject him from my dinner table and banish him to the yard unfit for human company. For that is exactly the time to share our own beliefs without shaming or blaming but have a civilized conversation with indoor voices. Nothing vulgar, as my blog friend Nick would have it.

Careful consideration and respect for each other should be a given. And comments and opinions upheld and not censored unless personally attacking an individual rather than offering an opposing opinion.

Congenial and honest discourse.

Reasoned debate.

Or am I dreaming?

21 comments:

  1. You're right, but in this day and time, civilized disagreement and or discussion has been replaced with verbal shaming, name calling and all manner of bullying...

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    1. And E, my personal favourite: my opinion bests your facts. Lolol.

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  2. I've been disillusioned by Hawking for some time; though he was a great and accomplished intellect, he was certainly less than the adoring masses made him out to be, especially when it came to family.

    I agree with your views on comments and opinions on blogs.

    I don't get a lot of comments on mine, but I do have a comment policy that I've never had to invoke, other than for spam comments: https://exit78.com/comment-policy-2/

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    1. Jane today contradicted her previous assessment of her marriage to Hawking but I daresay this has something to do with his children and their heritage.

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  3. I've never understood that need to forget all the horrible stuff a person did once they have died.

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    1. Me neither DKZ, it diminishes those that are abused and destroyed by the reprehensible behavior of the deceased. A feast of hypocrisy for the white-washers.

      "Don't speak ill of the dead" was something I heard frequently when growing up. Then how are we meant to heal and understand?

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  4. I didn't know that about Hawking. Disappointing. Same for Mother Theresa, by the way. I've read horrifying things about her cruelty to patients in pain.

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    1. I agree Saw about Mother T. She made a fetish out of suffering and poverty and lived quite well while expounding otherwise. Clay feet. Our mistake is in making them superhuman I think.

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  5. This is a sensitive subject for me. My 77-y-o husband of 53 years became disabled at 34, and has for the most part been completely dependent on me since. Until you have been part of a family dealing with this kind of disruption and the fear of the constant loss of your husband and your children's father your comments indicate you might as well be coaching the Olympic Hockey Team having never seen the game played before. My husband's care is so complex that he is in mortal danger left in the care of even trained medical people. I left him in the care of a well-versed RN, with a detailed care plan, for three days, and he was hospitalized when I returned. 50% of marriages between two *healthy* people fail, and acrimonious statements made at the time are often regretted later. I am neither defending or accusing Hawking, I'm certain their relationship would have been challenging even if he had been 100% healthy. But having read Jane Hawking's book it seems she was exhausted and at the end of her rope when the family moved from Cambridge to California. I have been there many times, and it's easy to fall into despair. As for his children doing "caregiving", our boys helped my husband from a young age. As he was confined to bed much of the time they snuggled in with him, read to him, brought snacks, drinks, their puzzles and toys, and as adults have helped him toilet, shower, loaded him and out of his wheelchair and forged incredibly strong bonds with him. They learned compassion and tenderness helping their Dad, qualities which are certainly in short supply these days.

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    1. Partners/parents needing constant care are not a monolith. A misogynist before falling ill is still a misogynist. A control freak or abuser likewise. I am glad your experience was positive and loving.

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  6. I agree we should state the truth and the reality as we see it, and not fudge our opinions to avoid controversy. And I like getting contrary comments which challenge my own views. I also agree we shouldn't whitewash the dead. Why praise Hawking's achievements and ignore his failings? Why the one-sided picture? I've only deleted comments on my blog once in 11 years, when two blogmates were having a private conversation totally unrelated to my blog post. Just recently one of my visitors was being a loquacious and pedantic pain in the neck, but I didn't delete the comments in question, I just expressed my annoyance.

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    1. I think some commenters, Nick, comment on blogs to get some kind of need fulfilled. Just like some bosses. I like the energy of good discourse and also, in some cases, some terrible prejudice revealed. I remember one such commenter refusing to rent to aboriginals - all aboriginals and being horrified. I didn't delete his comment, I just unfollowed him.

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  7. I was quite surprised that Hawking lasted as long as he did. I haven't read anything much about his life story, have never felt interested enough in him, other than way back, when his name first came to public attention. don't know why - just me being obtuse I guess. Scientists sometimes do this to me, in the way lawyers do it to some other people. ;-)

    Yes, I agree blogs are personal and when comments are open, the blogger should expect occasional differences of opinion. I've had a few in the past - when commenters were more in evidence, but we managed to stay civil, because we probably did agree on many other aspects. No two people can ever hope to feel exactly the same on any issue. We've all lived different lives, experienced different things, met different people....

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    1. So very true that is why life and others are so interesting. Sometimes I am surprised by blog posts. One such this morning said Hawking made science look "sexy" and I was taken aback as I haven't a clue what that means in such a context. I wished to challenge but thought better of it as she bans those that disagree.......LOL. And she's also excellent in her expertise and writing.

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  8. You may indeed be dreaming. A friend of more than fifty years recently asked why I'd expressed a certain opinion on a public post, a rather mild opinion that registered my opposition to the "wall." She said she was interested and would honor my opinion. When I gave it, commenting how excited I was to be able to hold that discussion when I knew we probably held differing views and then asking her opinion, she told me she was going to "have to" block me so that she no longer inadvertently came across my comments and be forced to read them. She hoped I wouldn't think her petty. Her hopes were wasted. I tried not to let it hurt, but it did sting, quite a bit.

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    1. OMG Linda, but at least you know why you've been blocked. I've been blocked by relatives and haven't a clue why. I know I'm outspoken and "controversial" but hell......it seems to be outright cruel from a niece and a brother, without telling me why. And now they've done the same to Daughter without explanation.

      Well as someone once said our job is done, we comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, n'est pas?

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  9. Social media is increasingly getting to be platforms for voicing intolerance. I have had my share of such comments and I have simply stopped tweeting though my account is still alive. I haven't yet had a mishap on facebook but I suppose that it is a matter of time before that too happens.

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    1. Yeah, I've been multi-media attacked. Maybe I should get a medal :). I am appalled at what some of my "friends" post without fact checking. Racism, bigotry and sometimes outright misogyny. A former husband, the father of my children, is one of those. I'm glad my grandgirl now points out to him the error of his ways.

      Apples and trees, does me proud.

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  10. I echo your thoughts on Stephen Hawking. He had a whole other "side" to him that was evidently very well known in certain circles, as they say. And heaven forbid you say anything about Mother Theresa. I remember when Christopher Hitchens wrote about her, and how she was nothing like she wanted to be portrayed. People came out of the woodwork after him. And then years later, people realized he had actually written the truth about her.

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  11. So true Elle, we all have this inbuilt desire to have heroes but forget their humanity and their outright defects and prejudices and fetishes. Some are outright immoral like MT - but I put a lot of her "stuff" down to a poor education. She believed in earthly suffering for the masses. But not for herself.

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