Thursday, February 02, 2006

Exactly who is doing the shoving here?

Let's say you have an open house type event in which you invite several people with the understanding that they might invite additional people to come along as well. So, people you perhaps have never met are going to be coming to your house. You are just fine with this.

Let's say they're doing this because you have an interesting collection of art about puppies or something. So all these folks are coming to look at your cute puppy pictures up on the walls.

All is going fine, until one person comes in, admires the art for a second, and then notices you standing next to your spouse with your arm around said spouse. Did I mention that both you and your spouse are of the same gender?

This person freaks out and says "what is this display of homosexuality doing here, at a party that was supposed to be about puppy art? Why is this topic shoved in my face everywhere I go?"

Remember, this is your own home, which this stranger entered completely voluntarily. There are no armed guards at the door preventing the stranger from simply turning around and walking out.

How would you react?

This all came about because of this odd circumstance. A posting I made with some cute bunny pictures was linked to by Cute Overload. This generated a ton of traffic to my blog. Someone who came to my blog via this link somehow managed to stumble onto one of my other posts discussing same-sex marriage. There were no links between the posts, so I've no idea how she got there, but she was apparently shocked and horrified. Her comment:
How does a post about Homosexuality make it's way into even a site about animals. Is there no end to having this subject introduced (shoved down our throats in "every" arena? If I missed some point (I didn't completely read the article) my apologies.
I'm afraid my response was not particularly polite, although I did make an effort.

So, here's the situation. You voluntarily go to a blog. You then purposely browse around to other postings on the blog. You see a mention of something you don't like, and all of a sudden, something is being shoved down your throat? How self-centered is that?

I think discussion and argument are fine things, and I would welcome both here. If BetteT's post disagreed with the substance of my post, if she had a counter-argument, anything like that, we might have had a discussion. It could have been a heated discussion, but would have been a discussion. But her comment is not an argument or a disagreement. It is nothing more than whining about how she was exposed to a topic she doesn't like, and somehow this is just awful. Even though, again, she came here voluntarily and always had the freedom to leave if she didn't like what she found.

This reminds me of an argument I got into on another blog once, right when Brokeback Mountain came out. Someone complained about having homosexuality--and specifically gay sex--shoved down their throat (by who? they were vague on that point. "The media", I guess). I pointed out that, given the publicity, everyone who isn't living under a rock ought to know exactly what they will see in the movie, so if you don't want to see such things, then DON'T GO SEE IT. Why is this so hard?

I see this silly "shoved down my throat" thing so often that I've started looking around for these armed guards that force people to read books, go to movies, and keep their TV's tuned to content they don't want to see. I can't count the number of times I've found myself pissed off by a blog and decided to just stop visiting. Quitting reading National Review's The Corner had done wonders for my blood pressure. I'm still waiting for the armed guards to show up at my door and shove the National Review down my throat.

Here's the bottom line, and it is so breathtakingly obvious that I can't believe I am writing it here. If you read or watch something you don't like, you have three choices:

1. Stop reading it. Leave the web site. Close the book. Shut off the TV. Don't fork over your 9 bucks for the movie. Don't put the DVD in your player.

2. Read or watch the objectionable thing, then come up with a decent argument about why it is bad. Critique it. Argue against it. Write your own version the way you think it should be. Create your own blog and fill it with your own rants about how the world ought to be.

3. Whine about how this awful thing is being "shoved down your throat." Demand that it go away. Complain that you are being "forced" to see things you don't like.

I don't know, options 1 and 2 seem pretty reasonable. Option 3 sounds like the choice of a petulant child.

No comments:

Post a Comment