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A Letter To Her Future Men
March 11, 2006 10:56 AM   Subscribe

One of the most powerful blog entries I've ever stumbled across. This woman writes her two young sons a letter to be opened and read in twelve years. It's a profound piece on what she expects of them as men.
posted by brittney (119 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Short version: don't hurt kittens or rape unconscious girls.
posted by availablelight at 11:04 AM on March 11, 2006


It's much better than availablelight's flippant summary indicates. Thanks, brittney. Why We MetaFilter.
posted by cgc373 at 11:05 AM on March 11, 2006


If that is one of the most powerful blog entries, that speaks rather poorly of blog entries as a whole.
posted by Krrrlson at 11:07 AM on March 11, 2006


I don't think that availablelight was overly flippant. The post started out with so much promise, but where did it go? It basically built up to, "don't be like those guys who raped me when I was younger." I really wanted to like this, and it started out strong, but sadly, if this were my mom, I'd be pretty freaked out to read that. Especially after she states that she doesn't ever want to talk about it. Seemed like a weird passive-aggressive thing.
posted by billysumday at 11:09 AM on March 11, 2006


I lost interest when she started referencing Spider-Man.
posted by evilcolonel at 11:10 AM on March 11, 2006


The bottom line is (for me anyway)... if her kids aren't that kind of person in twelve years from being raised properly, you may as well not bother with the letter.
posted by banished at 11:11 AM on March 11, 2006


Sorry--I don't usually snark on FPPs, but this completely underwhelmed me (writing, content, etc.). Yes, there's the "suprise twist" where the mother briefly reveals she was once an unconscious girl who was raped, but again, it boils down to, "I'll summarize Mai Lai, and then tell you that hurting kittens and raping girls is bad, OK?" If your oldest is 17 by the time you have this conversation...
posted by availablelight at 11:11 AM on March 11, 2006


Yeah, the uncomfortable thing is that she is somehow recognizing in her sons the guys who raped her.
posted by ori at 11:12 AM on March 11, 2006


this comment section needs movie-style Spoiler Alert! warnings
posted by jeffmik at 11:13 AM on March 11, 2006


Yes, the letter started out well but turned into a major creepfest. The mom clearly (and understandably) has unresolved issues. But letters to your teenage kids in which you talk about drunk girls giving blowjobs at a party and stuck up bitches passing out naked are, well, probably not the best way to work through your own rape trauma.

I hope she changes her mind about giving that to her kids.
posted by Justinian at 11:15 AM on March 11, 2006


That was really...bad.
posted by justgary at 11:16 AM on March 11, 2006


I just sort of came to the realization: is the mom saying that she was at a party where she gave blowjobs to all of the guys, got high, passed out, and was raped? I mean, was that an exaggerated analogy or was that a confession? Creepy.
posted by billysumday at 11:17 AM on March 11, 2006


Great post. Good mom. But I can see how it went somewhat wrong in the construction.

It is a common problem with any blog entry. You start out strong, ramping up through introduction to the body of your given topic, then a new perspective is introduced. Many times, that new perspective is very personal. Typically, it turns out much like this letter. Here's a story. Here's why I told it. Here's an adjunct story that relates.

At that point, the writer needs to find some way to not only conclude the entry, but to do it in a way that braids both the original story and the more personal story in a cohesive fashion. But as with some essays, when the writer tires during the writing, a blog entry can cut off too soon. Or maybe you're in the middle of thinking through the topic and your own thoughts aren't complete, but you want to get them out there all the same.

But what am I saying? It's a blog. If every blog entry had to be deemed worthwhile on form as well as content, we'd all be in trouble.

Well, not all. Some.
posted by grabbingsand at 11:24 AM on March 11, 2006


And the guy that raped me? Hugh Thompson.
posted by cillit bang at 11:27 AM on March 11, 2006 [1 favorite]


I think that's called baggage, and your goal as a parent is not to dump it on your kids to carry. Just as your goal in any relationship should be to carry as little baggage as you can manage into it.
She could have made the same point if she stopped at not hurting kittens, although she probably wants to start that discussion now, when it matters that they learn, and they have kittens to practice on.
If they don't know these things by 18, it will be too late to start teaching them.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 11:28 AM on March 11, 2006


My faith humanity is restored!

When I first read that blog entry and all the many praises for it in the comments I was all "WTF?! This is totally passive-aggressive creeptastic shit."

And now I know not everyone is like the commentors, yay!
posted by birdie birdington at 11:38 AM on March 11, 2006


It seems like setting the bar pretty low to only wish that your sons don't grow up to be sadistic assholes.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:42 AM on March 11, 2006


I think that post used a literary conceit and was not really, truly meant as parenting-after-the-fact. I think her sons are getting the day by day parenting they need to turn into good people.

For context, you may want to see:

A post about Alex

Santa's Magic Kittens

Mister HarrisonorSir's lesson
posted by rosemere at 11:49 AM on March 11, 2006


I think that's called baggage, and your goal as a parent is not to dump it on your kids to carry. Just as your goal in any relationship should be to carry as little baggage as you can manage into it.

Baggage is the new shame.
posted by washburn at 11:51 AM on March 11, 2006


If that is one of the most powerful blog entries, that speaks rather poorly of blog entries as a whole.

Kkkrrrlson -- Making Fun of Raped Women since 2002.
what a disgusting individual.

thanks for the post, brittney
posted by matteo at 11:53 AM on March 11, 2006


Know that I don't want to talk about it, still.

That means you, Internets!

cillit: damn you! (snicker)
posted by benATthelocust at 11:55 AM on March 11, 2006


No, washburn, baggage is the new black.

Seriously though, this is what blogs are for: stimulating thought and comment. Brilliance isn't the point, any more than it is with any art form.

Uh oh. I suggested that blogs are an art form. I'd better hightail it to the Milosevic thread...
posted by slatternus at 11:59 AM on March 11, 2006


This woman writes her two young sons a letter to be opened and read in twelve years.

And in the meantime the world's other six billion people can read it. Her sons will magically never see for twelve years, by the power of mystical motherly exclusion and/or the nanny controls on their DSL router.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:59 AM on March 11, 2006


Come on, folks, let's stop pretending that she wrote it for her sons, to be read 12 years from now. If she wanted to do that, she could have written in ON PAPER and placed it in a safe deposit box or something.

She wrote this for herself, and for all her blog readers to weep over - essentially, she wrote it for everyone BUT her kids.
posted by aberrant at 12:05 PM on March 11, 2006


Kkkrrrlson -- Making Fun of Raped Women since 2002.
what a disgusting individual.


matteo, being the victim of violent crime doesn't transform a person into a great writer. Your suggestion that rape survivors deserve or require some kind of special olympics everyone-gets-a-prize status for their expression is patronizing. You think you're a hero, but you're actually part of the problem.
posted by squirrel at 12:08 PM on March 11, 2006


I thought it was very honest. I think her kids will turn out okay.
posted by sswiller at 12:08 PM on March 11, 2006


Squirrel said exactly what I was going to say, only with less swearing. So pretend I said that instead.
posted by Jairus at 12:10 PM on March 11, 2006


This is a fine post, brittney. Ignore the asinine comments.
posted by jdroth at 12:28 PM on March 11, 2006


Somewhat obvious moral lessons (don't rape people, even if everyone else is doing it) expressed in overwrought, not-very-well-written prose. That's fine, and I have a lot of sympathy for this woman, but it's not a particularly powerful post just because the woman is sincere.
posted by Dasein at 12:28 PM on March 11, 2006


What makes me pause here is that many of the comments on this thread have been devoted to matters of literary style and a few aspersions on the character of the writer and her mothering style. This suggests to me that people would prefer to avoid the subject of the post - violence, rape, and the exercise of compassion in place of power, especially as it applies to men and women. These seem to be more interesting topics than putting yourself in the shoes of the young boys having to hear about their mother's rape and being 'creeped out' by the experience.
posted by palinode at 12:31 PM on March 11, 2006


I've read One Good Thing for a while now, and the thing I think is great about it is that it's always authentic. She writes about a lot of things: her kids, the store she runs, sex, feminism, herself. Sometimes it's funny, sometimes it's sad, sometimes it's thought-provoking. It's always honest, though.

Maybe she didn't construct the post perfectly. So what? I'm not a writer either. It's heartfelt, and it helps me understand someone else's life and how they see the world. That's good enough for me.
posted by brett at 12:34 PM on March 11, 2006


What aberrant said. The Internet is not exactly a discreet place for text.
posted by Tikirific at 12:35 PM on March 11, 2006


palinode: What makes me pause is that seems that many people defending this woman seem to be avoiding the subject of the post, which was well articulated by aberrant:

She wrote this for herself, and for all her blog readers to weep over - essentially, she wrote it for everyone BUT her kids.

IMHO, she eschewed responsibility and prudence when she decided to post this to her public blog. In what way does this benefit her children? What it actually benefits is her self-esteem, as clearly evidenced by the comments on her blog.
posted by billysumday at 12:40 PM on March 11, 2006


I probably should have said "the object of the post" rather than "the subject of the post."
posted by billysumday at 12:44 PM on March 11, 2006


It's terrible what she endured, but I agree with the earlier commenters. Even if the letter weren't an exercise in weird exhibitionism, it mischaracterizes the world we live in. She writes as though abusing those weaker than yourself is the norm, and that protecting those weaker than yourself (such as women and kittens) is a rare virtue. Wrong. Few people are as reviled in Western society as rapists and animal abusers. You're not a hero if you refuse to rape women and abuse animals. You're a normal person.

The letter just seems calculated to impress the blog audience, not teach her sons a lesson. At the risk of being accused of "Making Fun of Raped Women," I found it sophomoric and ham-handed.
posted by jayder at 12:47 PM on March 11, 2006


This is a fine post, brittney. Ignore the asinine comments.
posted by jdroth


It's asinine to disagree with brittney's opinion that this is powerful writing? If you want a thousand comments slobbering all over the piece you might want to go to the comments on her blog. You'd be very happy there.

It's awful what happened to this woman. But her writing is average, the moral lessons obvious, and her motivation questionable.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 12:48 PM on March 11, 2006


These seem to be more interesting topics than putting yourself in the shoes of the young boys having to hear about their mother's rape and being 'creeped out' by the experience.

Yeah. but those topics wouldn't be addressing what the blog post actually said. The framing of the post (both this one and the actual blog post) invites these reponses. Frankly, if I was 15 and read this, I would be freaking the fuck out about my mom. Most likely, she does not actually intend this as a time capsule for her kids, but as a statement of her beliefs (and a working out of her trauma) through the medium of a "letter to her kids." Regardless, it is weirdly disturbing in a way I can't quite put my finger on.
posted by Falconetti at 12:49 PM on March 11, 2006


I wonder if blogger will be around in 12 years, when we are flying around in cars.
posted by thanatogenous at 12:56 PM on March 11, 2006


I think if I were her kids, I'd end up trying to dump some of my baggage by posting on a blog about how I've got some baggage as a result of my mom trying to dump some of her baggage by posting on a blog....
posted by forallmankind at 12:56 PM on March 11, 2006


This is one of those threads that makes me think less of MetaFilter.

Thanks for the post, brittney. Ignore the people who are made so uncomfortable by the topics of rape and male bad behavior that they feel compelled to snark about literary style or the nature of the internet.
posted by languagehat at 1:03 PM on March 11, 2006


I don't think blog entries can ever be 'powerful', because of the nature of the medium. You're writing about yourself, and if you write about something bad that happened to you then it just comes off as self-indulgent.
posted by reklaw at 1:05 PM on March 11, 2006


Ignore the people who are made so uncomfortable by the topics of rape and male bad behavior that they feel compelled to snark about literary style or the nature of the internet.

Why is there such a need to defend this post? I simply didn't find it powerful. It has nothing to do with feeling uncomfortable with any topic. Please stop projecting and shaming people into line.
posted by justgary at 1:09 PM on March 11, 2006


Falconetti nails it; The whole enterprise is weirdly disturbing.

Call me old fashioned and repressed; I would rather crawl through broken glass than discuss with my mom a girl getting plastered and running a train for a bunch of guys at a party. Eww, eww, eww.
posted by Justinian at 1:09 PM on March 11, 2006


languagehat: Yours is one of those comments that makes me think less of MetaFilter. Instead of countering the claims made by many people in this thread, you disregard our opinions because we "are made so uncomfortable by the topics of rape and male bad behavior." Really? That's quite an insinuation, and one that says more about you than the people who are critical of both the original post and the link to it here.
posted by billysumday at 1:10 PM on March 11, 2006


I'm not made uncomfortable by the topics of rape and male bad behavior; I'm very uncomfortable with the presentation of the author's material as a letter to her teenage sons. That's a completely different matter, and languagehat does a disservice by conflating them.
posted by Justinian at 1:12 PM on March 11, 2006


To anyone who says "hey, I didn't like the post and I'm not made uncomfortable by rape," I wasn't talking about you. I was talking about that guy over there.

Seriously, one or two snarks is par for the course. Sure, it's natural that some people just wouldn't care for the style. But a whole thread full of "OMG that suXX0rz she can't write and how does she expect her sons not to read it and the whole thing creeps me out": well, there's something else going on there. This isn't just a blog post, well or badly written, it's a blog post by a woman describing her experience of having been raped while unconscious, and I'm sorry, that definitely makes some people uncomfortable.

Not you, of course. That other guy.
posted by languagehat at 1:17 PM on March 11, 2006


Can we please simply think less of individual posters and not of the entire 30,000-some-odd people who make up MetaFilter. This is not a monolith, and an individual FPP and its responses do not gauge the quality of the whole.

And there's nothing wrong with finding the subject matter and experiences profound but the expression less so.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:18 PM on March 11, 2006


it mischaracterizes the world we live in. She writes as though abusing those weaker than yourself is the norm, and that protecting those weaker than yourself (such as women and kittens) is a rare virtue. Wrong.

Really! Well, that I guess those statistics about a woman in the US being raped every 2 and a half minutes are wrong too! Yeah, abuse sure is rare and reviled. And, for the record, those stats don't include the number of children under 12 who are raped every year. But you can find out more about those (steadily increasing) numbers here. I think your idea of the norm mischaracterizes the world we live in.
posted by Hildegarde at 1:21 PM on March 11, 2006


Did anyone here need someone to tell them that rape and murder were wrong? That's what I find odd about it.


on preview:

Don't project your bullshit on me languagehat. I am an entity fully capable of holding more than one thought in my head at the same time. Let me be clear: I am not uncomfortable reading this post. Not me, your chickenshit sarcasm notwithstanding.
posted by ozomatli at 1:26 PM on March 11, 2006


Hildegarde, not to diminish the horrific nature of rape, but you've misquoted the statistics in a couple of significant ways:

1) the statistics, as presented, make no mention of gender/sex. So it's not just women.

2) the statistics include ANY form of actual or attempted sexual assault. This would include touching, exposure, etc., and includes cases where rape didn't explicitly occur.

If you're going to argue with statistics (and I feel you can make a good, though probably off-topic, argument that justifies your point), at least get them right.
posted by aberrant at 1:26 PM on March 11, 2006


I am enjoying the feedback to this post. I rarely make front page posts, even though I've been a member for years and years. I fully expected the snark.
posted by brittney at 1:31 PM on March 11, 2006


brittney-

If only more people had you attitude on here. I don't find this particularly powerful, but I have found other things powerful that no one else though were (although they usually involved bad pop songs in close proximity to recent break ups).
posted by Falconetti at 1:34 PM on March 11, 2006


The conflation of "people that don't find the post profound" and "people that are uncomfortable about subjects of rape," and "people that don't care about rape victims" is a really interesting rhetorical technique.

I really appreciate that, thanks. You're very nice people.
posted by Tikirific at 1:34 PM on March 11, 2006


(not in response to brittney)
posted by Tikirific at 1:40 PM on March 11, 2006


Let us encourage the feeling of how this One Good Thing post started out. We should indeed applaud the Hugh Thompsons of the world and seek to emulate their example. There are far more of them out there than we realize, and they get far less attention than we realize.

Let us discourage those who turn said attention into weirdo, conflationary rants. Let us do so by not shining our collective attention on them.

Let us also discourage those that conflate the criticism by reflexively flying the red flag of ... I don't know ... something else ... whatever their pet issue is ... that ultimately causes an excess of baloney in the house.

More Hugh Thompson.
Less baloney.
posted by frogan at 2:03 PM on March 11, 2006


More Hugh Thompson.
Less baloney.


Amen. And I applaud your attitude, brittney.
posted by languagehat at 2:13 PM on March 11, 2006


I can't believe those boys were thoughtless and careless with the kittens.
posted by mokujin at 2:13 PM on March 11, 2006


As far as the "weirdly exhhibitionistic" responses go, you would have to be someone who reads her blog...and knows that she is a person who is very open about sexuality/abuse issues/her checkered past, etc., and that she runs a sex toy shop online. I think by the time they're 17, her kids will not be so surprised to learn that she's a sexual being.

And she used Mai Lai specifically to point out how rare it is to not go along with some forms of brutality.

But if your only quibbles are with her style, she'd probably agree with you.
posted by emjaybee at 2:13 PM on March 11, 2006


Back in the early 90s, I did some work with the Sonoma County chapter of Women Against Rape. I was there when the group became embroiled in a bitter fight over whether to publish the U.S. sexual assault rate (which included verbal assault) under the suggestion that it was the actual rape rate. In that case, the victory went to the loudest screamers and the biggest guilt-trippers, not to those with the most rational arguments. The stats were conflated; the misleading pamphlet was published. As we can see, the problem of overstating a serious problem is that you lose credibility. And make a bunch of well-meaning people look shrill and alarmist.

Rape has touched my life in a real and profound way. I'm outraged by sarcastic and chickenshit suggestions that I don't like this post because I'm uncomfortable with the topic of rape. Bullshit. I've read many first-person accounts of sexual assault, and discussed them at length. What I find disturbing about this blogger's post isn't the rape content, but the exploitation of that tragedy, and her unwitting sons, as a way to draw attention to herself.

Finally a personal note to languagehat: you're capable of arguing better than this. Your decision to resort to such opaque fallacies suggests to me that you have your own issues to work out. Your shaming and finger-pointing doesn't clean you up at all. Poor showing.
posted by squirrel at 2:44 PM on March 11, 2006


Few people are as reviled in Western society as rapists and animal abusers.

Unless their Bill Frist.

er, wait...
posted by delmoi at 3:28 PM on March 11, 2006


I think it'll be actually powerful if it dies.

(Hey, maybe her dying will infuse the blog entry with SOUL POWER and the resulting lightning ball of blog soul will... someone get me a scriptwriter.)
posted by jscott at 3:30 PM on March 11, 2006


I don't think blog entries can ever be 'powerful', because of the nature of the medium. You're writing about yourself, and if you write about something bad that happened to you then it just comes off as self-indulgent.

Well, that's silly. A blog entry doesn't need to be about yourself to be a blog entry. I also don't think that being 'self centered' is really that powerful of a literary criticism.

Obviously, I'm opposed to rape. Yet at the same time there seems to be this contingent of anti-rape activists who view all men as potential date rapists. Who think every drink is spiked and who view rape as the ultimate evil. It's like puritanical feminism. I guess I would say that puritanical feminism (As opposed to sexually liberated feminism) bugs me. I would say that these people are more anti-man and anti-sex then pro-equality.

Oh well.


And she used Mai Lai specifically to point out how rare it is to not go along with some forms of brutality.

Unfortunately, she is right. Its very unlikely that someone would not go along with brutality if they believed it was the 'proper' thing to do.
posted by delmoi at 3:42 PM on March 11, 2006


I found the linked entry affecting, though I also did think that the My Lai -> Missbrenner case analogy was a bit forced. If anything the rather similar Orange County case provides a stellar example of someone -- in this case a teenaged girl who saw the tape -- going against the grain (and she suffered much as Thompson did; she had to change her last name).

This post didn't stand alone, it was a highly emotional reaction to a very recent news event that included some very unfortunate revictimization of the victim.

What I find disturbing about this blogger's post isn't the rape content, but the exploitation of that tragedy, and her unwitting sons, as a way to draw attention to herself.

squirrel, One Good Thing is hardly in need of attention. It's been nominated for blog awards for a couple of years now (without winning, i believe); she's nominated for a Koufax not for this post, but for this post one year ago.

The stats were conflated; the misleading pamphlet was published.

I'm willing to accept this as possible, but RAINN for example clearly distinguishes between rape and sexual assault. It may be the media who conflates them. You're suggesting that there were people arguing for deliberate deception, which is a rather strong claim.

In any case, the post under discussion has a lot of resonance with today's America, sexual assault aside. It may be trite to tell adults that rape is wrong, but I think it's still necessary to discuss what right and wrong are with our kids. It's how you actually pass on your values. Maybe the parents of those boys thought they'd done that; if so, they failed miserably. Unfortunately, whether or not it's deserving of a prison sentence, too many adolescent sexual encounters today probably uncomfortably resemble the case of these teenagers. That happens because parents aren't open with their kids about their values, and about sexuality. The too much information crowd is, I think, contributing to this discomfort with the topic and ultimately to the failure to create boys who won't have sex with semi-conscious girls, to girls who aren't ready to stand up for themselves, to witnesses who won't come forward, to people who flee the country to avoid prosecution -- and to adults who directly enable those dysfunctional behaviors. I think that Leigh Anne was lamenting that aspect of our culture more than she was delivering the obvious message that rape is, you know, bad. Her kids, of anybody, should already know that.
posted by dhartung at 3:44 PM on March 11, 2006


I guess I wish people in this thread were a bit less comfortable with the topic: for a lot of people (myself included) it’s still not easy to talk about in public, and I think some tentativeness on everyone’s part might be a useful thing in terms of opening up these sorts of discussions in the future. I go through life feeling very confident that I have a good and educated and ethical understanding of the topic. When I read the occasional first-person account, however, I inevitably realize I don’t know the half of it. The whole question of how to communicate with your children about the issue was completely new to me.

I thought this was a really compelling read. It’s obviously part of a much longer tradition. (For the last 30 years, a powerful strategy for eradicating the stigma of rape has been for ordinary women and men to tell their stories in public, not simply for therapeutic reasons but also for the purpose of prodding their audiences’ preconceptions; to this extent I think that criticism of her literary merit makes for an interesting exercise but is mostly beside the point.) But because of the potential enormity of the audience, blog publication is very different from telling a story in a consciousness-raising group or at a political rally.

It’s a puzzling dilemma. I feel strongly that these sorts of stories continue to serve an important function and that it’s necessary to figure out how to use new technologies in order to get the stories out there. But people who post their stories online are exposed in near-limitless ways. Initially I shared some of your discomfort with the fact that she framed her story as a letter to her sons. I tried to imagine what the entry would have looked like if she had eliminated any reference to her children. While it seems clear to me that she would have been much less vulnerable to criticism if she had left the kids out of it, there would also have been an element of bad faith in her decision to go about it that way. (Once the story was online with her name attached to it, eventually the boys would find out about it anyway; she’s been criticized in this thread for bringing the boys into it – as props – but from where I stand I think it would have been careless for her not to involve them in some way.) Perhaps she could have posted anonymously to some community site for rape survivors, but part of the point of this sort of testimony is to begin to eradicate the shame that many people feel in the aftermath of sexual assault.

I don’t know what dictated her decision to address this to her children, but (intentionally or not) part of what she accomplished by doing so was to highlight the extreme difficulty of adapting long-standing, highly effective activist strategies to new kinds of media. I hope that those of you who were horrified by the idea of having this kind of conversation with your own mother – no doubt the idea makes all of us uncomfortable – might be willing to consider the possibility that this was part of her point.
posted by sophieblue at 3:59 PM on March 11, 2006


You're suggesting that there were people arguing for deliberate deception, which is a rather strong claim.

The people who were arguing for the inclusion of all sexual assault stats had their hearts in the right place, dhartung. They didn't see it as deception so much as a decision to honor and represent the real trauma of all forms of sexual assault. When others argued for including only the stats on actual rape, their response was a loud and angry accusation that we were saying sexual battery was no big deal. Also, there was a real push to put out some numbers that slapped people in the face, and made them think. In this light, loosening the control on what goes into the stats seemed justified to them. Also, they argued that because they referenced the names and dates of their sources, people could look it up if they wanted to. About a third of those who had been working with them up to this point left the organization over this decision. Perhaps a quarter of those who left went back after time. It was a real eye-opener for a young and idealistic guy. I haven't cared much for that organization since.
posted by squirrel at 4:26 PM on March 11, 2006


I've read One Good Thing for a couple of years now, and when she had a storefront I actually stopped in to say hello. The writer is powerful because of her relentless authenticity; you don't have to agree with her, but she doesn't back down just because others disagree.
Because of her deeply personal writing style, it's easy to forget that she uses One Good Thing as a way to connect with potential customers at the Honeysuckle Shop. Agree or disagree, like her writing or no, if you want to support a family-owned woman-centric sex shop, she's got a good one.
posted by pomegranate at 4:30 PM on March 11, 2006


I don't think blog entries can ever be 'powerful', because of the nature of the medium. You're writing about yourself, and if you write about something bad that happened to you then it just comes off as self-indulgent.

This is one of the stupidest things I have ever read on Metafilter (or anywhere else). It's impossible to write about yourself without being self-indulgent? It's impossible to write something powerful about yourself?

You know, people were writing about themselves long before weblogs came along. By this line of logic, it's impossible to have a powerful autobiography. It's impossible to write a newspaper or magazine column based on personal experience. It's impossible to write about a historical event in which you took part. Give me a break. Powerful writing is powerful writing, regardless of the medium. Just because something is written in a weblog does not mean that it is poorly written, or that it self-indulgent, or that it's not as good as something written somewhere else.

Yes, there's a lot of dross in the blogging universe, but so what? Skip the stuff you don't like. But don't condemn all weblog posts, or all weblogs, or all weblog writers just because you have some preconceived notion about what a weblog can and cannot be.

In the meanwhile, go read some of the truly great autobiographies — like those from Benjamin Franklin or Richard Wright or Henry Adams — and tell me that writing about yourself cannot produce powerful writing. Because, you know, Richard Wright was just being self-indulgent when he wrote Black Boy.
posted by jdroth at 4:44 PM on March 11, 2006


squirrel, why are you taking it so personally? I wasn't talking about you.

Look, it's possible every single person in this thread has no problem with the subject matter and just happened to find this particular blog post so worthy of derision that they crowded in by the dozens to denounce it. It's also possible everyone at MetaFilter but me is a sock-puppet of Matt Haughey. Many things are possible. All I can tell you is that it reminds me of the late '70s, when all sorts of people who were normally pretty laid back about music suddenly got a bug up their ass about disco. They hated disco. They hated people who liked disco, and even more, people who danced to disco. If MeFi had existed then, a thread about disco would have involved a huge pile-on about how awful it was. And I'm sure if I had suggested that there was something other than musical taste involved, I would have been roundly denounced.

Well, maybe I'm nuts. Feel free to ignore me. But my mind hasn't changed just because people have gotten defensive.
posted by languagehat at 4:52 PM on March 11, 2006


By this line of logic, it's impossible to have a powerful autobiography.

If you'd name a "powerful" biography for me, I might check it out of my local library. I've read at least two dozen autobiographies, and none have seemed powerful to me.
posted by Kwantsar at 5:29 PM on March 11, 2006


Gah, forget the rest of the post, but check this out:

"Maybe she gives blowjobs to all your friends and changes her mind when she gets to you."

Biggest. Self esteem wrecker. EVER.
posted by drstein at 5:33 PM on March 11, 2006


That post she won a Koufax for (or whatever, I have no idea what that is) is pretty good.
posted by Falconetti at 5:38 PM on March 11, 2006


You know, as the father of teenage daughters, I'm not at all uncomfortable about the idea of mothers having conversations like this with their sons. On the contrary, I think they should be encouraged.

I don't think that's what she's actually doing though. Seems to me that she's attempting to use the rhetorical device of a letter to her children that the women that get victimized are somebody's daughter, somebody's sister, will eventually be somebody's mother and regardless of their behaviour, nobody ever deserves to be subjected to something like that.

And while that might seem so obvious that it doesn't even warrant saying, the links in dhartung's post make it clear that there are sections of so-called 'respectable society' for whom such abuses are defensable, when it happens to be their teenage sons who are committing these abuses and using these children like a used tissue.

And as someone who clearly identifies with the sort of girls that this shit sometimes happens to, the author felt compelled to speak out on the issue. Good for her. It's both brave and the right thing to do, and the quality of her literary stylings or the 'obviousness' of the moral position she's expressing has no bearing on the issue whatsoever.

But I do note that there are a great many links posted here to material that is both poorly written and morally obvious, and it's rare that anybody comments on it, let alone see the stream of squealing we've seen in this thread.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:01 PM on March 11, 2006


And I'm sure if I had suggested that there was something other than musical taste involved, I would have been roundly denounced.

Well, maybe I'm nuts. Feel free to ignore me. But my mind hasn't changed just because people have gotten defensive.


And my mind hasn't changed simply because you've chosen to play the victim.

The story is terrible. I doubt anyone would disagree. But the post was presented as a powerful message for her kids. I think it fails. That's what we do here. Discuss links. It isn't her personal site, and it isn't a victim support group.
posted by justgary at 6:17 PM on March 11, 2006


Enjoyed this FPP a lot brittney, thank you. I like One Good Thing's writing and look forward to reading more.

Apparently her blog share price rose from B$3,334.48 to B$5,001.73.

Looking at the images of the My Lai Massacre I remember the deep sadness and horror I felt about it in 1968. I felt awful then as well for my friends who had been drafted into the nightmare war in Vietnam. Until reading One Good thing's blog, I didn't know about Hugh Thompson.

The second part of her blog entry disturbed me because initially I didn't think an 18 or 15 year old boy would be ready emotionally to hear that his mother was raped as a teen. But then, like in To Kill A Mockingbird, children inevitably face situations that aren't pretty, whether in the media or in their lives directly and end up making life choices based on those experiences.

"In the U.S., 7 in 10 women who had sex before age 14, and 6 in 10 of those who had sex before age 15 report having had sex involuntarily. (Facts in Brief: Teen Sex and Pregnancy, The Alan Guttmacher Institute, New York, 1996)." It seems sane for a mother to envision talking about rape with her teenage kids. So does making choices about not being bullied into doing the wrong thing.

I thought "there will be a word you will also be called: Hero." was corny and rung false but kids do relate to the hero concept and probably it's a good way to frame the importance of having empathic principles and bravely sticking by them.
posted by nickyskye at 6:18 PM on March 11, 2006


blog share price.
posted by nickyskye at 6:34 PM on March 11, 2006


This is one of those threads that makes me think less of MetaFilter.
posted by languagehat at 1:03 PM PST on March 11


Me too. Sometimes the content is more important than the construction. Sometimes what it means is more important than what it says.

Assholes.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:50 PM on March 11, 2006


and if you write about something bad that happened to you then it just comes off as self-indulgent.

Well, into the paper shredder with 3/4ths of Contemporary Western literature, then.
posted by slatternus at 6:56 PM on March 11, 2006


God that was some sophomoric crap.
posted by docpops at 7:12 PM on March 11, 2006


It's always good and instructive to be reminded that Metafilter is largely composed of bored self-regarding hipsters and wannabe intellectuals. Weirdly enough, only yesterday I was talking to a friend about how much I liked reading the commentary on this site (I generally do)...but this is a genuinely fucked up string of comments, people.

I don't mean to play Remedial English Teacher here, but the ol' 'open letter' format is a pretty time-honored way of directing a statement at the audience by proxy; I mean, duh. 'Waaah, it's not a real letter after all, it's a "blog post" and she talks about herself!!' Grow some stones and let yourself be moved, for heaven's sake. I didn't know the outcome of that trial until I read the post; it must have been an extraordinary personal blow to the author, and imagining her reaction to that verdict while reading her post brought me to tears. And it's not a badly-written post at all, certainly no worse than the vast majority of insta-snark pabulum that passes for 'debate' on sites like this one. I would hesitate to criticize anyone for experiencing that moment of empathy - or for daring to talk about that awful compounding of traumas in a forum in which she was comfortable.

I'm inclined to wonder just what it is the various complainants in this thread brought to the table that led to this Festival of High Dudgeon, and what they feel they're contributing to the discourse by spilling it all over the place.

The weird thing is, I would hesitate to call this even the best blog post I've seen all day. Perhaps without the honorifics this moving piece of writing would have been received somewhat more evenhandedly...?

Fuck it, let's go back to making fun of Cheney and that Republican fogey he shot in the face! Remember the good times, Metafilter? The wonderful times?
posted by waxbanks at 7:15 PM on March 11, 2006


It seems to me that what people are responding negatively to is the absence of irony in the woman's post. There's an entire generation out there that simply can't process anything authentic or genuine. Sad.
posted by slatternus at 7:25 PM on March 11, 2006


This is one of the weaker blog entries that this poster has ever seen. In fact "weak" is a weak word for the self indulgent attitude of the blog poster.

If the sun were to rise and set in this blog poster's anus, the blog post would almost be that of a reasonable sun-in-anus poster. Otherwise, not so much.
posted by stirfry at 8:27 PM on March 11, 2006


The weird thing is, I would hesitate to call this even the best blog post I've seen all day. Perhaps without the honorifics this moving piece of writing would have been received somewhat more evenhandedly...?

I wholeheartedly agree. I'd just finished reading the piece when I posted it and overspoke. I still think it is a powerful piece of writing, but certainly not the most ever.

I'm prone to exaggeration when I'm moved. My bad.
posted by brittney at 8:31 PM on March 11, 2006


It seems to be all right to tell one's daughter to "be careful" 12 years from now, but when one tells one's sons "don't be an asshole" everyone goes AAAAHHHHH!.

One can tell a daughter to stop dressing so sexy and that's socially acceptable, but people get up in arms when a woman tells her sons that it's not ok to rape a woman passed out in an upstairs bedroom.

People seem to separate "-isms" - my own personal non-grammatical suffix. Sexism isn't the same as racsim, but someone who would never dream of calling one co-worker a fag will call another co-worker a slut or bitch.
posted by rsandy7420 at 8:56 PM on March 11, 2006


slatternus, I think the truth is quite the opposite of what you say: what many commenters are criticizing is that the piece is not authentic or genuine. I think the letter is embarrassingly inauthentic and too filled with irony. The cutesy language (the capitalization of "Teach You a Lesson," the use of the phrases "You are a failure. Full stop," "now pick up your shoes") is nothing if not ironic, and it's that flippant use of irony, to convey an obvious lesson, that led me to call it sophomoric and ham-handed in my earlier post. It just comes off as phony and makes her sound like a shrill, self-absorbed nitwit.

I'm surprised at the strident defense this woman's piece has inspired. As I said earlier, what she endured was terrible ... but that doesn't mean her approach to parenting is beyond criticism when she airs it in a public forum. She wants to Teach Her Kids a Lesson, but the lesson she's teaching them, I'm afraid, is that "mom is nuts." That's why I criticized the letter.

(Note, also, that she and her husband publish a magazine on parenting.)
posted by jayder at 9:54 PM on March 11, 2006


Can I flag a post as fantastic multiple times? 'Cause I want to do that to jayder's.
posted by aberrant at 10:06 PM on March 11, 2006


What elements of her approach to parenting, as revealed in that blog entry, do you find worthy of criticism? Expecting her sons -- and everyone's sons -- to be kind, brave in the face of peer pressure, and responsible? Talking about her life as a sexual being when she was in her teens and lacking good judgement?

As several of us have already said, she is not really writing about this specific issue for her very young sons now. (She is apparently teaching them to be kind to the damn kittens, though, which seems to be something that can take a little repetition with young kids.) Nor is it likely that she is saving the broader lesson of My Lai and teenage gang rape for 2018 without ramping up to those topics appropriately as they mature.

I can understand people disagreeing about the true prevalence of rape, about the significance of her personal experience, and about her writing style. But these repeated attempts to create a straw man by taking a literary conceit literally, then chastizing the woman for exposing her sons to her sexual history way too early, or for mentioning her young sons and rapists in the same post, or for delaying this important discussion until after they're in their teens, just strikes me as incredibly fucking odd.
posted by rosemere at 10:09 PM on March 11, 2006


Another interesting thing about this post - it's a one-link piece to someone's blog, yet nobody's taken issue with that (at least here or in MeTa). Wonder what would have happened if it was a link to mom reciting the letter via YouTube?
posted by aberrant at 10:12 PM on March 11, 2006


But these repeated attempts to create a straw man by taking a literary conceit literally...

Rosemere, perhaps you didn't read the comments on the blog. Most of them are lauding her for what a great parent she is for providing this tidbit of morality to her sons. Well, here's the thing: either they're all misinformed, or you are. Which is it?
posted by aberrant at 10:15 PM on March 11, 2006


So now we're discussing the comments on her blog rather than her blog? OK.

I think that "tidbit of morality" is a good thing for anyone's sons and daughters to learn. I think it was a good post, although I also see why some people think it could have been argued and structured better. If you think her post is lousy writing, I'm not going to argue the point with you. If some of the commenters are more impressed with it than I am, I'm not going to argue with them either.

But I think her core argument was sensible. I think that she shows every sign of being a responsible and loving parent, not just in that blog entry but in others, such as the ones I linked in my first comment here.

I was initially stumped by the claim that "either they're all misinformed, or you are" since both those commenters and I think she wrote something valuable. My working hypothesis (and correct me if I'm wrong) is that you seem to think that her commenters believe that she is reading this blog entry to her sons right now, or that she is saving this important lesson for later. I think this is a perception more commonly found in this thread's comments than over at her blog, but if not -- so what? I think anyone who reads this as a literal, current, and age-inappropriate message to her sons is misinformed. I think that anyone who thinks this is the one and only lesson her sons will get on morality, after 12 years of splendid amoral frolicking in the suburbs of Chicago, is also misinformed.
posted by rosemere at 10:43 PM on March 11, 2006


The "misinformed" claim was based on your statement that the issue of literary conceit was a straw man, as it was obvious to you that it was not literal. My point was that many of the people responding in her guestbook took a literal view of it.

Your dismissal of my criticism that the work lost effectiveness due to its hyperbole and impossible claim that it was written for the specific benefit of her progeny was what I was objecting to. Either you've got it wrong by calling it a straw man, or they've got it wrong by thinking it's an actual letter to her sons, to be read 12 years from now, and congratulating her for imparting such good words of wisdom.

And if it's not to her sons, then I'd suggest that her story can be summed up in one single sentence.

My earlier statement still stands, though I'll take the liberty of adding something to it: She wrote this for herself, and for all her blog readers to weep over - essentially, she wrote it for everyone BUT her kids, and to use them as an pretext for this obvious morality lesson strikes me as disingenuous, creepy, and inappropriate.

As long as we admit it's glurge, I have no issue with it except to opine that it's probably better off at Snopes than as an FPP.
posted by aberrant at 10:59 PM on March 11, 2006


Thanks for the link to those Snopes "glurges," aberrant. I dunno if the post in question qualifies for inclusion, but the idea is valid, interesting, and it's good to have a term for them and a place to look them up.
posted by cgc373 at 4:54 AM on March 12, 2006


Come on, folks, let's stop pretending that she wrote it for her sons, to be read 12 years from now. If she wanted to do that, she could have written in ON PAPER and placed it in a safe deposit box or something.

She wrote this for herself, and for all her blog readers to weep over - essentially, she wrote it for everyone BUT her kids.


abberrant, that was your first comment in this thread. Believe it or not, I almost completely agree with you. This essay was not a literal missive for the future. I also think she wrote this specific post for herself and her blog readers. But I think that while this letter used the literary conceit of the open letter, the moral stance and lessons are real and representative of her approach to parenting and will be taught to her kinds in age appropriate ways as they grow. I think that's what her commenters are responding to.

So where are we in conflict over this?

(We obviously disagree on the "glurge" issue, but that's not an issue for me.)
posted by rosemere at 7:01 AM on March 12, 2006


Rosemere: where we apparently disagree, then, is whether this is a particularly powerful blog entry. The only tie to "real-world experience" is the (not very) unexpected rape parallel, of which there are, unfortunately, millions, so it's not exactly unique. The rest of it is a history lesson, delivered pretentiously, and designed to evoke the basest type of emotion.

I accept that the moral stance and lessons are real and representative of her approach to parenting. She gets a gold star, but did she need to call the world's attention to it? I'm a good parent too, but I prefer to wait until the final product can demonstrate that rather than preemptively bragging about it.
posted by aberrant at 7:37 AM on March 12, 2006


OK, then. My emotional response to it is my own, and I haven't been trying to make it a focus of my posts here. I think it's a good, solid post (although I've read more powerful blog posts, including other things she's written), so I'm not one of the people claiming it's one of the most powerful posts ever. And we can probably go back and forth on whether parents should blog to this level of detail, but I'll skip out on that.

Thanks for clarifying.
posted by rosemere at 7:46 AM on March 12, 2006


it's a one-link piece to someone's blog, yet nobody's taken issue with that

Why would they?
posted by brittney at 9:26 AM on March 12, 2006


Aberrant: you say you're a "good parent": but are you absolutely certain you will be good enough?

As for "I prefer to wait until the final product can demonstrate that rather than preemptively bragging about it" - all I can say, is "good luck - you may just need it."

I think the writer has done a brilliantly effective job defamiliarising the often deadened lessons in morality teenagers get from history (and kittens!).

Most kids - David Irving being an obvious exception - prefer to see themselves theoretically on the side of history's heroes rather than the villains.

Which is comforting.

Yet those of us with fully fledged teenagers probably feel we spent eons preemptively ramming home positive messages and hoping these sprout - while gloomily wondering if, half the time, we sound like the foghorn "grownups" in the Charlie Brown movies. And if any of those "but-that-was-in-another-country" history lessons have actually sunk in.

Which isn't so comforting.

You can sneer at the writer's self-awarded gold star, but - for me - one of the best things about provocative blog entries from other parents like this - is that one can absorb the useful bits without getting personally snippy and defensive. ("Yeah - well she may say that - but we all know her husband drinks/her daughter's no better than she ought to be...").

Of course my own boys are angels (haha)...but - I'll take all the preemptive help I can.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 9:47 AM on March 12, 2006


I read the comments here before I read the links. It's not nearly so bad as the detractors make it out to be. It's clearly not the most powerful blog post ever written, but the vitriol in this thread does seem confusing after actually reading the link.
posted by willnot at 10:20 AM on March 12, 2006


The rest of it is a history lesson, delivered pretentiously, and designed to evoke the basest type of emotion.

Yeah, because clearly, empathy for victims and the honor of doing the right thing are the basest emotions humans could possibly have.

Meanwhile, snarking from the sidelines (btw, I'm guessing most of the snotty attitudes on this thread are from non-parents) is the most lofty of human goals, and truly shows what a stellar species we are.
posted by beth at 10:42 AM on March 12, 2006


brittany: Why would they?
Exactly, why would they?

I think the ad hominem vitriol expressed in this thread is founded in misogynism and fear/shame about expressing love and caring.
posted by nickyskye at 11:32 AM on March 12, 2006


"The conflation of "people that don't find the post profound" and "people that are uncomfortable about subjects of rape," and "people that don't care about rape victims" is a really interesting rhetorical technique. "

It's an important one. When people hold positions that cannot really be backed with facts one of the important ways to shut down the opposition is to make the act of opposition a thoughtcrime.

We see it ina ll areas of panic and fear based activism. When someone claims that to question the "Patriot Act" as an act of sympathy with terrorists the MeFi community rightly considers them an idiot - but if someone dares questiont he commonly accepted rape numbers or questiosn the current panic about "pedophiles" then it is open season to attack them.

The blog post in question was a fairly normal "men r bad, wimmin r opressed" rant and would have been right at home on the more crackpot "radical feminism" sites.
posted by soulhuntre at 11:51 AM on March 12, 2006


Jody Tressider: Aberrant: you say you're a "good parent": but are you absolutely certain you will be good enough?

No, I'm absolutely not certain. But you know what? I already know that hurting cats and raping women are not values I'm going to teach my child. Nothing this woman has written in this post will help me be a better parent (except as an example of what NOT to do), and I would suggest that if this post "spoke" to you as a parent, and taught you something you didn't already know, you need to take a hard look at what values you ARE imparting to your kids.

Beth: Yeah, because clearly, empathy for victims and the honor of doing the right thing are the basest emotions humans could possibly have.

Meanwhile, snarking from the sidelines (btw, I'm guessing most of the snotty attitudes on this thread are from non-parents) is the most lofty of human goals, and truly shows what a stellar species we are.


I have empathy for victims of rape, even (especially) for those who don't need or want to blog about their experience. I guess that's where we're different. Assuming you're not being disingenuous, the "base emotions" to which I referred had to deal not with empathy nor honor, but with the "this is the best damn post I've ever read - it's really powerful because it made me cry" orgy that was the apparent motive for this post. It's not, and it didn't, for many of us who read it.

Brittney: why would it?

http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/44909
http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/42900
http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/42961

Not saying that it's right, it's just that we've been less than tolerant of single-link FPPs here before, and I was observing that none of the regular haters were out in force.
posted by aberrant at 1:05 PM on March 12, 2006


The blog post in question was a fairly normal "men r bad, wimmin r opressed" rant

No, it wasn't. The blog post was initially about not being bullied by peers, for example into killing slaughtering civilians during war and secondly it was about making empathic choices to be kind to others rather than recklessly harmful, for example not hurting the pet kitten, nor to act maliciously out of lust or revenge, for example not raping.
posted by nickyskye at 1:07 PM on March 12, 2006


The blog post in question was a fairly normal "men r bad, wimmin r opressed" rant and would have been right at home on the more crackpot "radical feminism" sites.

If that's all you took from it, then it sounds like you read a totally different blog post than I did. Hmm.

I read something that was about the honor and heroism of standing up for what is right, even when your peers are doing something wrong.

This is one of the many lessons I hope to impart to my daughter, and I think it's an important one.
posted by beth at 1:09 PM on March 12, 2006


Beth: This is one of the many lessons I hope to impart to my daughter, and I think it's an important one.

...but did you see yourself needing this blog post to help you do that?
posted by aberrant at 1:15 PM on March 12, 2006


The blog post in question was a fairly normal "men r bad, wimmin r opressed" rant and would have been right at home on the more crackpot "radical feminism" sites.
posted by soulhuntre at 11:51 AM PST on March 1


I'm pretty sure you can't read if that's your interpretation.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:15 PM on March 12, 2006


I have empathy for victims of rape, even (especially) for those who don't need or want to blog about their experience.

I have empathy for oppressed people, especially those who shut up about it. But when they get uppity, I reserve the right to mock and revile them. I don't need anybody telling me about oppression! 'Cause I'm a liberal and I already know all about that shit! Now go away and let me eat my lunch.
posted by languagehat at 1:20 PM on March 12, 2006


Oh, languagehat, what happened to you? How far you've fallen in this thread. Poor showing, indeed.
posted by aberrant at 1:23 PM on March 12, 2006


Right, I don't agree with you, so obviously I've sunk to new depths.
posted by languagehat at 1:25 PM on March 12, 2006


The problem as I see it is not that you don't agree with me, it's that the assumptions which fuel your vitriol are wildly inaccurate and have no rational basis given my previous posts. I'll leave the mocking and reviling of ANYONE to you, as you seem to be doing such a good job of it.
posted by aberrant at 1:30 PM on March 12, 2006


This sounds like a MetaTalk discussion but as for blog posts in MetaFilter that have been enjoyed, there are many:
138 FPP posts tagged with blog.
129 posts tagged with blogs
48 posts tagged with blogging
23 posts tagged with weblog

Including single link FPP blog posts like this one, this, this, this, this...
posted by nickyskye at 1:33 PM on March 12, 2006


The blog post in question was a fairly normal "men r bad, wimmin r opressed" rant and would have been right at home on the more crackpot "radical feminism" sites.

Wrong. There's a lot in that post that would make a radical feminist cringe. The model for male behaviour presented is heroic and chivalrous, presenting men as guardians of honour and civility. The role model in question is a soldier. You call that feminist?

What the post demands of its audience is to resist unjust authority and exercise compassion and control when permission is given, whether implicit or explicit, to commit violence. And rape - that's violence. To hear that message from the perspective of a woman who knows firsthand about such things does not make it feminist.
posted by palinode at 2:53 PM on March 12, 2006


"...and I would suggest that if this post "spoke" to you as a parent, and taught you something you didn't already know, you need to take a hard look at what values you ARE imparting to your kids."

So what you teach your kids is always identical to what they learn, eh aberrant?

Twerp!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 2:55 PM on March 12, 2006


Twerp? Nice one! And accurate, too! Do you explicitly teach your kids to resort to ad hominems when they can't argue a position on its own merits, or are they just going to have to learn by example?

Following up on your question, perhaps you can explain how, exactly, THIS BLOG POST will ensure that my kids learn not to hurt kittens or rape women? Because if it can do that, I'll publicly retract every mean thing I've said about the essay.
posted by aberrant at 3:10 PM on March 12, 2006


(hit post too soon). As for me, in the absence of such an explanation, I'll continue to install values in my kids the way it worked for me, and the way it's worked so far for them: through empathy, analysis, and example. The minute this blog post becomes the solution to this process, again, I'll publicly retract anything mean I've said about it.
posted by aberrant at 3:16 PM on March 12, 2006


I apologize for my tone in the last couple of posts, Jody. It's obvious that nobody who's responding at this late date has any interest in discussing the merits (or lack thereof) of the blog entry or in attempting to understand others' positions, and I'm not helping. So I'm just gonna quit here and assume that this is one of those things on which we'll never come to agreement. The mistake was bringing our own kids into the debate, and a thread has potential to get very nasty very quickly when that happens.
posted by aberrant at 3:33 PM on March 12, 2006


But when they get uppity, I reserve the right to mock and revile them.

Wow, you are quite a piece of work in this thread. What have you done with languagehat? Is there something about using specific evidence to criticize fellow members, instead of lobbing assumption grenades in all directions, that's difficult for you right now?
posted by mediareport at 12:27 AM on March 13, 2006


abberant,
That's okay about your snippy tone. My "twerp" swipe wasn't the most soothingly intelligent response I've ever managed.

In case you haven't given up on this:

How the hell does any parent's lovely teenager commit an atrocious act?
The answers are infinite - but parents' fears that this could one day happen are not so varied.

We start with kittens, we hope they take the correct lessons from history and everything we endlessly tell and show them, we try to protect their idealism and answer their probing questions without boring them to death (I had some trouble years ago - when we first moved to NY - explaining to my then under tens why solvent adults don't just take homeless people home with them. A tiny "cute" example, if it doesn't make your gorge rise!).

Perhaps the hardest part becomes triggering their moral imagination afresh as they get older.

The way this blog writer achieved that aim was, I thought, astonishing and instructive - whoever the proxy audience becomes, or was intended in the first place.

You don't have to fall into a soggy swoon at the affecting power of her prose to pause for a moment at her technique, or to wonder - at 4 am - whether you've ever done enough to fortify your kids against disatrous choices - and whether you could do more...

I'm probably still expressing myself poorly - maybe this is slightly clearer?
posted by Jody Tresidder at 6:01 AM on March 13, 2006


Beautifully said Jody Tresidder. Thank you.
posted by nickyskye at 11:02 AM on March 13, 2006


but the vitriol in this thread does seem confusing after actually reading the link.

There was no vitriol in this thread. The link was presented as powerful and a letter to her son, and was discussed on those levels.

The irony is that those who are angry at others for critiquing this piece are the ones that are "uncomfortable by the topics of rape and male bad behavior".

How sad that long time members on metafilter would rather this thread consist of nothing more than the mindless praise that makes up her comments than a thread that isn't afraid to dicuss every angle of the piece.

Here's to those that weren't bullied into line by certain mefi members.
posted by justgary at 8:02 PM on March 14, 2006


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