Monday, May 24, 2010

The Art Of Human Interaction And Conversation

Ophelia Among the Flowers
Odilon Redon
1905

Yesterday I did a blog post for which I actually lost some sleep, and probably a few readers. I have pondered all day whether I feel bad or not, and in some ways I do, and in some ways I don't. That's about as specific as I can be. One of the things I inherited from my father -- along with my nose -- is the unfortunate habit of having opinions on things, and voicing them. People in my real life know that I can often get to the heart of a matter very quickly, I think mainly because both my parents were that way too. It made for some interesting conversations in our home, and both my brothers and I tend to still be the same way. My older brother, in particular, is able to hone in on the truth of any situation, with laser-like precision. It's uncanny, and like my father, my brother is always accurate.

Some people have the gift of diplomacy, and I admire those people. I wish I had it. It truly is a gift. I, however, do not have it. If I think something is ridiculous, I will say so. On the other hand, if I think something is brilliant, or someone is doing a wonderful job, you can be sure I am not saying it just to be polite. It's just not my style. On the odd and rare occasion when I have given false praise about something or someone, I feel slightly ill and uncomfortable. I would never be unkind, and there are many occasions in polite society when a "little white lie" is acceptable in order not to hurt someone's feelings.

"No, those ghastly high heel shoes don't make you look like a ridiculous stork on stilts..."

So I guess for those half-dozen or so folks who read my blog -- and thank you to those who do! -- you will not always find sugar and spice and everything nice when you visit here, and I hope you will forgive me for that. In fact, in my next life I plan to come back as Joy Behar. She "tells it like it is", and I admire her for that ability. I love controversy and debate, and I don't mind at all if you disagree with me, and I suspect most of you do, most of the time. It's all part of the fun of conversation. I would not, however, want to hurt anyone and I always feel bad if and when I do.

"Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative.” ~ Oscar Wilde

“It was impossible to get a conversation going; everybody was talking too much.” ~ Yogi Berra

29 comments:

lakeviewer said...

Jo, I have had trouble reading your black screen. Is it just me?

Katy said...

One of the things I love about your blog is that you aren't affraid to talk about things. What would life be if we all just commented on the weather?

Don't worry, I suspect everyone involved has pretty thick skin.

Russell said...

Okay. What did I miss? I just read your post from yesterday and I can't find a single offensive (or defensive!) thing. Have no idea why you would lose any sleep over it.

But, if you did lose sleep, sleep twice as long tonight!

If you want to know what offensive is, you should hang around me for a few days. You would never consider yourself remotely offensive again and you would realize you DO have a tremendous amount of diplomacy.

I am extremely offensive to many people and have absolutely no diplomacy.

Apart from that I am a nice person at times. Well, okay. Once in a while. Maybe.

Sam Liu said...

I admire your honesty, Jo, I know many bloggers would not dare raise controversial topics (i.e. politics, religion, etc) for fear of hateful comments and loosing readers. The thing is, healthy debate is good for the soul, it's fine to disagree - as long as the disagreement doesn't become petty or personal. As the Blog With Integrity pledge says, "Attack the idea, not the person".

I know I have often stopped myself when I was about to do a post on religion. I have very controversial views on Christianity and all faiths, but I know a lot of my readers are very devout believers. It is blogs like yours, and bloggers like you, which provide me with the strength to voice my opinions, no matter how unconventional they may be. The way I see it, it's our blog, and if we all consider and respect everyone's view, then there is nothing to worry about.

Amy said...

Well, Jo, you didn't lose me. I read it and it made perfect sense to me. I'm not a follower of PW but I've been to her blog a time or two; just not my thing. I feel for Fergie's daughters - their mother is not a very good model.

And I don't think we have to always agree on every subject. How boring would that be?

Paula Slade said...

I'm with Russell on this one - I'm not sure if you did anything objectionable?

Teri said...

I had to go back and reread yesterday's post...so you can see how offended I was. LOL Still not either.

Kathryn said...

Hi Jo,
I like Pioneer Woman for a number of reasons (which I'll get to later), but it doesn't stop me from wanting to read your blog when I read that you don't "get" her. We are all entitled to have and voice our opinions! Free country, free speech and all that stuff, eh?
Anyway, I like PW. I like that she raises her children to help out around the ranch. They seem busy, happy and healthy. I like that she adores her husband. I know far too many couples who are UNhappily married and always complaining about each other. I just happen to love, admire and adore my husband too, so I "get" how PW feels about hers. Really!
I like PW's sense of humour - it meshes with mine. Finally, the whole domestic goddess thing? My biggest regret in life is that I stayed at work and put my kids in day care. I wanted to be home with them SO badly, but didn't know how we could make ends meet if I quit my job. I wanted to make cookies and volunteer at their school and read to them and all that domestic goddess, "mom" stuff. I had a great job as a network analyst, but would have given it up in a heartbeat to stay home, raise kids, cook, clean, and all that goes with it. I'm not religious, I have many hobbies and interests, I'm educated and well read. Some people just want to stay home!
My kids are adults now; there's no second chance for me to be home with them, so I'm vicariously enjoying PW's adventures with hers.
After all that, though, I still respect it if you don't particularly care for her or her blog, or dislike her domestic goddess approach. It's all OK!
Oh yes, as for Fergie - I hadn't heard about that scandal, but it does seem like she made a very bad choice, and now the world knows. How wrong and embarrasing!

Paul C said...

The most authentic thing one can do is be yourself and express how you sincerely feel and what you believe. You provide a source of vitality which is important in a good blog.

HAPPY IN NEVADA said...

Hi - the last 3 or 4 times I've visited, I've really had trouble getting the post to scroll, and sometimes it stops - then is erratic and moves quickly.

Since I'm not having any trouble with other blogs, I'm wondering if it's because you have so many friends that comment, that the poor old I-net can't tote all of them easily (smile)....

As to your worries about offending anyone, I do believe that the right to free speech extends to all of those who follow you, and so it's a healthy exchange.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I think it's safe to say that you and I are in accord here, at the risk of being boringly agreeable. As for diplomacy, my mother often told me that I should never marry a diplomat because I couldn't keep my mouth shut. (I wondered why it didn't occur to her that I could BE a diplomat, or not, myself.) Chauvinism aside, though, she was right about the opinionated part of that equation.

Please don't stop being you. If you stopped expressing your views honestly, I might have to stop reading them. I really doubt you hurt anyone's feelings, so sleep well tonight.

Maureen said...

I can't figure it out either, who's offended?

@ly said...

I would prefer a good honest opinion or a good debate rather than a weather forecast any day!

Marlene said...

Jo, I cringe when I hear supposedly intelligent women acting like air-heads. Good on you to say so. Maybe you have done her a favour. It is perfectly o.k. to stay home with your children just don't wallow in it. I know, I know, I have mixed my metaphors!

Owen said...

If we had no opinions we wouldn't need to blog...

DJan said...

It's interesting to me that you felt bad about yesterday's post. I also went back and re-read it to remind myself what you said. And strangely enough, several of the things you said have popped into my head at different times today. You write from your heart, and it resonates with me, it really does. You enrich my life. So there.

Kathryn said...

Jo, why do you think folks love reading your blog? You have opinions & tell it like it is. But you are kind, too. Lovely combo. :)

Indian Pundit said...

Just be what you are.

i like it that way.

and i must say i love ur blog.

Take care.

Charles Gramlich said...

I try not to be upset when folks have opinions different from mine. I don't know what the big deal is. It doesn't change my opinion.

Firefly said...

If anybody was offened by what you said yesterday, they should go out and get a life.

Wolynski said...

Can't find anything mildly offensive in your prior post. Pity.

According to CNN, Sarah Ferguson gets 15,000 pounds a year (about $22,000) in her divorce settlement. Can this be right? If it is, well, no wonder...

VioletSky said...

I just reread yesterday's post and, like so many others, can't really find anything offensive. But then some people do take opinions far too seriously. I'd never heard of PW before, so was a bit lost on that one. And, really, who cares one way or another whether someone likes Fergie or Diana better? It's not like either of them had any real influence over our lives.
So, I can only think that it was your 'bathroom humour' that got a few people going ;)

June said...

Just so you don't feel lonely, that second-guessing one's post thing is going around. :-\
I have, however, read many many blog posts that I have found truly offensive (far beyond your opinions yesterday, usually political) and there's always some commenter who says, "It's your blog; you can say what you want."
So let that be our mantra.

And I had to go back and see what I'd read yesterday too, to see what was so horrifying. And found nothing.
You know what they say about opinions...

Laurie said...

Last night I was feeling unsure of myself because of some rude comment made by someone who doesn't even know me. I asked some people whose opinions I value for honest feedback...and I'm passing on to you their advice: "Girl, you rock! Don't you ever stop doing what you do!" :-)

The Bug said...

I don't like controversy, but I also have no poker face - people totally know when I think they're stupid. So it's a good thing Dr. M changed his mind about becoming a Baptist minister - I would have made a TERRIBLE preacher's wife LOL.

Like everyone else I had to reread the post to see what could be upsetting you. I don't expect all my friends to like each other (not that PW is a friend - I don't even read her blog). In fact, in a nasty sort of way, I like to hear why they don't like each other. Mostly because I find people interesting.

So continue to give us your opinions - it entertains me!

Jo said...

Thank you everyone. You're the best...! I was a bit concerned because I don't "get" the whole domestic goddess Pioneer Woman thing. I think she is rather ordinary, with rather ordinary children, a rather ordinary husband and rather ordinary horses and cows. But she is a brand -- much like Martha Stewart -- and she is represented by an agency. So she is a public figure, and I should not feel too bad about admitting that I don't subscribe to the "brand". Nothing about her brand is special -- the recipes, the lifestyle ... anything. So I won't be buying any of it. To be honest, most of you are more intersting and more special than any brand. You probably just don't realize it yet. Never be a poor imitation of someone else -- just be yourself.

Cheers!

Jo

Whitney Lee said...

I love this. I have never heard of PW so I didn't think anything of it when I read your post yesterday. Honestly I have always enjoyed your more controversial posts (not that I thought yesterday's was one) because I enjoy the mild debate or expression of differing opinions.

I completely understand how you can not 'get' the domestic goddess thing. I happen to love being a stay at home mom but understand that it's not for everyone. Most people have something that they want to be when they grow up. This was always mine. You know, this has inspired me; perhaps I'll do a post on why I am what I am...

JeannetteLS said...

Sometimes I agree with your views, sometimes I don't. ALWAYS I love how you respect us all in whatever you write. ALWAYS you reveal an open heart, and mind and your kindness. HOW people could be insulted is beyond me. Each of us who blog--even those of us who take breaks for our outside lives at times--have opinions or points of view we find we want to express. The diversity is what draws many of us to read, and those who can express themselves without venom or rudeness, but with candor?? YOU are the ones who keep us coming back.

You make me think. And THAT is the best thing for someone to do in a blog, I think. Well. ONE thing anyway. Thank you Jo, for your words and your light that shines through no matter WHAT you write.

fabricka said...

Being blatant is very hard. It's better to be like you, Jo!

First time I'm visiting your blog and I love it!