Monday, April 19, 2010

The Truth: Unvarnished

I've toyed all afternoon with writing this post and, in the end, decided to go ahead in spite of the dangers of dealing with this issue publicly. Yesterday, someone left a comment referring to what I had written that day as 'drivel' and advised me to go without a post rather than posting something, I guess, trivial.

I admit that when I got up in the morning to write a post, I didn't have really anything in mind. Joe and I had spent a pleasant day doing typical Saturday kind of things. I decided just to write something chatty about the day and leave it at that. I mean I can't have meaningful experiences that lead to insight every single day of my life. So, I wrote what I wrote and enjoyed the freedom of simply describing a day rather than having to pull a 'lesson' or a 'homily' from the experience. It was kind of freeing.

So when I got the first couple of positive responses, I was pleased. It seemed to me that people had 'got' what I was doing and that it was OK to have 'casual' day here at Rolling Around in My Head. There is a tyranny in daily posting, those who write will understand what I mean by that. For the most part I don't mind the demands of the blog and the commitment that I have made to the blog and to my blog readers.

And I have wonderful, regular readers, who make largely positive comments. I like it too, that my readers will disagree with me and often come forth with another perspective or another way of looking at a situation. So, I get feedback that allows me to learn and grow. I seldom get the kind of brutal feedback that I got yesterday.

I do not monitor my feedback because I want people to feel that there is an 'uncensored' aspect to the conversation. So, in the end, I get comments that are sometimes unkind.

That's OK. I suppose. But I do wonder about the need to be cruel in the comments. After all, it is a human being typing these words, it is a human heart that exposes itself here regularly, it is human feelings that are encouraged, or delighted, or hurt by the comments. Maybe it's easy to forget that the person who reads the words will feel the words.

As a lecturer I cannot read the evaluations right after a presentation. They terrify me. There is always someone, often several someones, who takes offense to my style, my stories, my ideas, my language. I get that, I even can appreciate the suggestions and make changes because of them. But there are those who attack, not the presentation, nor the language, nor the ideas, but me.

'If he had any self esteem at all he wouldn't be so fat.'

'Presenter is arrogant and ugly, a strange combination.'

'Whoever decided that this guy should be given a microphone should be shot.'

I wonder about the people who wrote those comments. They must know I will read them. They hide behind anonymity. They are long gone by the time I read them. They are probably safely home sipping a beer, having forgotten words that will take me a long time to forget.

I guess I'm saying:

Cut me. Do I not bleed.

So I ask for me what I'd ask for others. Write comments that disagree with what I'm saying, but be kind in your intent. Write comments about content, or style, or the words I choose to use -- but at the same time be careful with your content and your style and your words.

I was hurt by those words yesterday. I shouldn't admit to this, but it's true. I am not invulnerable to the opinions of others. So, be kind ot me and I'll do my best to be kind to you as well.


eiramyllek73 said...

Having the opportunity to write about whatever is on your mind is truly freeing. When we have the opportunity to read other people's thoughts, we are given a gift. Having the ability to express our opinions on the the thoughts of others is especially precious; whether we agree or not. There is no room for hate in this world, but sadly it exists because for some, hate is all they have.
Come to Barrie more often Dave, it is always a pleasure to see you both. xo

Kris S. said...

Would that mean-spirited anonymous posters kept their snarky remarks in their nasty little heads. Dude, it's your blog, and you should write about whatever topic is of interest to you. No one is holding a gun to my head (or to anonymous' head) and forcing me to read your blog. If you're not interested in the topic, anonymous, move along.

Let me add that I begin almost every day with "Rolling Around..." and I was ever so relieved to get to the END of your April 1 entry and learn you WEREN'T serious about quitting.

Thanks for all you do, Dave. I appreciate it!

Andrea S. said...


I suspect that many (most?) of the cruel commenters are "drive by" commenters -- they come to the blog one time, leave a nasty comment, and never return. Unfortunately this means the people who most need to see today's post might never see it. These are people who don't get that there is a real person behind the computer screen.

I suspect they also have an inflated sense of entitlement. They think that everything they read on the web must be entertaining to them, personally -- including material produced by people like you who do this in your own time -- never mind that not everyone will have the same taste in material. And even if they did, people seeking free entertainment produced by people who aren't paid a dime for what they write don't have the right to demand that others write just to please THEM. If that anonymous commenter had wanted to read something different, then s/he could have offered to hire you on short term contract, at a reasonable fee commensurate with your extensive background and experience, to write something to his/her specifications. If s/he wasn't willing to pay the fees to be more assured of something meeting his/her definition of a "substantive" post (I suspect s/he has a very picky definition of "substantive") then s/he should have remained silent and moved on to some other blog.

Yesterday's post wasn't the strongest, most awesome thing you've ever written -- but then, you've written a lot of materials that have set the bar very, very high, and no one can reach that high with every single blog post, whether or not they're paid. It was a perfectly sweet post, and what the hey, if you're going to do this blog every day (or near to it) for free, you deserve to have an occasional day when you write what some petty people might choose to call "drivel." It's impressive enough that you do achieve something truly thoughtful and meaningful as often as you do.

Liz Miller said...

Sending out a team of rabid clue-stickers to wallop anonymous and his or her ilk upside the head.

Tara said...

I am NOT anonymous, but as a fellow human being (we’ll just let that one be I will speak/apologize for them.
"I'm sorry Dave; I was thoughtless, ruthless, cruel and spiteful. I was reading your post to try to learn how to be broadminded and a little more humane in an insane world, why else would I have come to YOUR blog; apparently I need to learn a little more... To write such tripe and vile malicious spew, I must have had a really bad day/month/life, so please keep blogging( ANYTHING YOU DAMN WELL CHOOSE!!) and excuse my lapse into ignorance".
The entire blunt headed slinking negativity spewing anonymous group out there
PS Andrea S nailed it!!

Anonymous said...

The wheeliecrone says -
You write your blog because that is what you choose to do. They are your thoughts. You give them freely.
Anyone who doesn't like what you have written - well, they can stop reading and move on. They are not paying for the privilege of reading your thoughts.
There are people who behave in a rude and mean-spirited way simply because they can. That does not have anything to do with you, Dave. Those of us who read your words regularly know a bit about what sort of person you are. You are the sort of person that many of us would like to meet, Dave. And have a nice chat with. Reading your blog gives us the opportunity to have a sort of semi-second-hand chat with you as often as we choose. If your experience on any given day is just pleasant and gentle, can that be a bad thing? I am happy to read about gentle quiet days when you manage to avoid the drama of running out of power for your wheelchair - those of us who use motorised wheelchairs know exactly how happy we are when we manage to squeak home before the battery is flat.
What I am trying to say, Dave, is that I enjoy reading your blog. And thank you.

ivanova said...

Anonymous Coward was a jerk. When I read that comment yesterday, I assumed he was a homophobe since the post was about a simple day that you and Joe enjoyed. A lot of times these guys mistakenly think if they pretend their hateful venom is about something else, their nastiness won't show. But who knows. One thing for sure, this person was a jerk.

Amanda Forest Vivian said...

That person sucks for saying something like that. I like reading your posts so much and your blog has changed my outlook on things. I have particular subjects of yours I'm more interested in, and you don't always write about those subjects, but it's not my God-given right to get to read about my favored subjects every day. It makes me happy that you post so much, and that you have a blog at all. It's not like you're required to do this.

Eric said...

Thank you for your honesty and all that you share everyday. It is, I think, a wonderful gift to take those everyday experiences and find the joy and satisfaction of just being.

Molly said...

If they don't like it, they SHOULDNT read it. and then they should get a hobby, other than leaving nasty comments, and maybe a therapist, because I wonder about people who are so down on themselves that they attack sweet Dave from behind the cloak of anonymity.

MoonDog said...

I have heard this very same thing on many blogs. I think some people just like to stir things up. or maybe they are jealous because of the following of your blog or for whatever reason feel that by belittling you they are making themselves better. I find it very sad that putting others down is something that people ENJOY. When I used to go to chats a hundred years ago there was always one rabelrouser making trouble. we called them a troll and ignored them and they went away usually. until another one came along. Hope you can ignore the trolls and carry on with your life and blog as they are truly YOUR life and blog and not worry what others will say or think.

Anonymous said...

I very much appreciated the post about a simple day that proved no point, just that they should be enjoyed. Though, I think today's post speaks volumes to how much one thoughtless comment can echo in our ears for years, likely even lifetimes. I rarely comment, but love to read your posts. However, the part that made me think today though is as easy as it is to dwell on a thoughtless comment, it is even easier for us to look past the times we are responsible for making those comments. In fact, despite the fact that I absolutely admire your writing and moreover the work you do, I still struggle with a time where I raised my hand during one of your trainings and was mocked for my answer. I got the brilliance of your message and continue to be in awe, but I still recall wanting to disappear into the floor beneath me. The point is, I hope the brilliance that can be found in the many comments you receive speaks louder than the thoughtless ones.

Dave Hingsburger said...

11:16 Anonymous

If I belittled you in a training, I am so sorry. I know that sometimes my sense of humor can be interpreted as meanspirited, and maybe it even is ... I try hard to avoid doing that to others. Thanks for coming to read the blog and giving me a second chance. I'll take what you said to heart and try to be even more careful in the future.

Anonymous said...

I guess ol thumper said it best:
I love each bit of you Dave, warts and all. Please write mundane as well as inspiring.

Susan said...


I saw a very profound message in between those lines... I loved that post. I thought after reading it, "that's one of the best ones yet."

I just now - midstream in the writing of this - read Anonymous' comment from today and your response. Enough said, my friend. Enough said. (But you're a bigger man than most and it's no wonder I feel about you the way I do.)

Fun Mum said...

Wow. I can't believe "Anonymous" would write such a thing. What is his/her point? This is YOUR blog. You're not writing a university assignment or producing a work blog. You can fill your blog with fart jokes, if you feel like it. That this *person* would think that he/she has some sort of public responsiblity to dictate the content of YOUR blog is baffling.

Rude person, go away. Dave, I'm sorry that this person hurt your feelings. Let's hope he/she gets a life.

miss kitten said...

i enjoy the peeks into your life. its good to see two people growing old together despite a few blips (large and small) along the way.

this is your blog. you are free to write WHAT YOU WISH in it. and i am angry now because you were hurt by anyther's words....

because i have a friend who has incurable disease that will take her from her family within 5-10 years. in her case, 5 is being optimistic. her husband is ok with helping her at home, but doesnt want her anywhere that his friends can see her, because he doesnt want to admit she is no longer the perfect woman of his dreams. and since they are (american) military, there is no counselling available to them for him to learn how to deal...just counselling available to their *children* when she passes.

i hurt for her. reading of you and your joe having a good solid ordinary day brings a bit more peace to my soul.


Shan said...

I read a lot of blogs, and quite a few 'cause' blogs. Personally I like being given a break from 'the moral of the story is' every single day.

Can't please all of the people all of the time, eh?

Carry on!

Shan said...

PS: I think it's because Ariel speaks, and Tinkerbell doesn't.

Either that, or she likes the shell bra. (You'd be surprised how appealing that is to a little girl.)

Kristin said...

I think people who make hateful comments like that do it to make themselves feel better. Once, after posting pictures of my family together at Christmas, someone tweeted that they guessed I became infertile too late. Talk about eeevil. I guess I'm just trying to say I understand your hurt feelings and I'm sorry that asshat felt the had to say that.

Myrrien said...

I told my husband about the comment and his reply was "that is like telling Marcus Aurelius to just skip the bits about liking warm bread and concentrate on the real stuff."

It's your blog Dave post what you like we are priveliged to share your thoughts - thank you.

Anonymous said...

Poor sad soul that anonymouse must be.

Just as well they do not visit my blog for it is an eternal tome of brain injured crippled warbling, so bad that I often go back and think Jees did I write that crap.

I guess the entire world of blogging is merely a place where you can drivel and hopefully nobody ever takes it seriously.

I have adapted I hope to being viewed as the excrement of Society. to be slammed bullied punished at every step and kept in a quiet corner away from nice eyes.

Such said i enjoy even the most mundane posts and as with Painting pretty pictures its the seeing what other miss that is the real delight

Unknown said...

I'm sorry Dave, I don't know why people feel the need to be mean.


Melissa said...

Some people are such jerks, and it's made worse by the fact they won't own up to their words.

I just figure if they have to be ignorant on the internet without owning up, they must have one heck of a sad little life.