I’m starting to forget how to rally against things.
I was once the self-proclaimed king of rants. I had the ability to go off on a rant and dress up my disdain like a chief in a Mardi Gras parade. But I may be losing the gift of rant, reduced only to observations that hold an evaporating cynicism, bereft of the flamboyant excitable vocabulary that once accompanied these expressions of my viewpoints.
This realization came to me when my beautiful and lovely wife sent me a link to a post on jean’s blog. The post contains a picture of a newspaper from which all the negative articles were removed. Jacque knows how I feel about negativity in the media and she felt I would appreciate this depiction, which I most certainly do!
Then I trawled the comments in the post to see what responses followed. The one that caught my eye and nearly fishhooked me in the corner of my mouth was the following:
Awww, want more feel good stowies that give you the fuzzy-wuzzies? Can’t deal with the harsh realities of every day life? Go watch animal planet then, you bunch of f***ing ninnies. (expletive edited)
At that point I felt the rant factory begin to flip on its lights and fire up its furnaces. Machines began to whir into motion as giant breakers were being thrown back on. I began to let my emotion, my aggravation at the condescension of this negative nelly, stoke the furnace to get this rant nice and blazing. I began pulling out my crayons of colorful comments to write on index card for storyboarding a cleverly crafted response to this individual, one that would illustrate just how miserable the person must truly be to put forth such a negative response. How they are creating their own reality through their choice, that not all human events are negative and that the heinous ones are hand picked to be publicized by the news. That they are in alignment with this perspective because they see their life as…
…and it went on like that. Until I realized that I was becoming the commenter. I was criticizing this person’s perspective because it did not fall into alignment with mine. I was about to express how misguided the commenter was, how they didn’t understand the reality, the truth of how their perspective aligned with the point made in the post. I was all set to condemn this person for condemning the others who commented, who posted the blog entry and who created the image.
What good would I have done? Pointing out to the commenter that they have a negative perspective? Somehow I believe the commenter is already aware of this. My comment would have barely elicited a shrug. This is the perspective they have adopted for their life. They have come to see the world this way through their experience and their choices. That is their life to do with as they will, not mine. It is their decision to see life and people from that perspective.
I took another look at myself through the scenario as it unfolded in my head. Recently I posted about teaching guerilla style. All I would have been teaching had I chosen to follow through with my counterattack comment would be to show that counterattacking an opposing viewpoint is the way to live, that my perspective is the one to be adopted over anyone else’s. That’s not to say I don’t believe I have anything valuable to offer, but I can offer my viewpoint without going through the game of one grip topping another on a baseball bat, and whoever is on top is first up. My views can be just as valid, in fact even more valid, if they are expressed in a way that leaves breathing room for opposing viewpoints, in fact, leaving the most room for the perspectives that hold the most contrast to my own.