Is it any wonder that on 24 August 2004 I posted the following (and my
sentiment remains unchanged):
Before anyone jumps me for my hypocrisy for posting in two threads
currently running on the wreck, let me say that I regret my
participation in those threads, but solely because I don't believe
these threads belong here, whether they are labeled "Off Topic" or
not. Justifying a post simply by labeling it "Off Topic" is akin to
qualifying a racial or other odious slur by following it up with "just
kidding." It's still odious and it's wrong.
Here's why I hate the political threads. I have spent a number of
years on the wreck. I participate both here and on other woodworking
fora on the internet on a regular basis. I have personally met dozens
of fellow woodworkers from all over the country; a feat unthinkable
before the 'net. Virtually all of the people that I've met have been
people that I would be comfortable with in my house. I would enjoy
conversing with them about woodworking and other topics of mutual
When two (or more) people sit face to face it is almost unheard of for
one of them to lean forward and say something anathema to the other's
point of view; political, religious, or otherwise. I can't imagine
someone doing that. It would be rude. It would be the height of
inappropriate behavior. It would violate all rules of society.
Of all of the people I've met as described, I can honestly say I don't
know the political inclinations of any of them. I didn't ask; they
didn't tell. I don't want to know. And apparently they felt the same,
because at the end of the day, they had not asked, either. That's not
to say I don't have some inklings or suspicions, but I've not wanted
to follow up to confirm.
The reason for that is I've seen too much lying, muckraking,
prevarication, misinformation, mudslinging, unbelievable distortion of
facts, all to political ends, for me to respect anyone that I believe
is embracing those techniques and using them to further their
particular ends. And I don't want to not respect the people I've
become friends with. It hurts me to see someone whom I appreciate for
their knowledge and experience in a particular area of woodworking
(the reason I'm here) line up on the other side of what I believe.
In fact, I haven't been able to help but develop a list of wreckers
who I wouldn't share a broken tool with, much less pleasant discourse;
all because they couldn't contain their opinions on subjects that
shouldn't be aired in a common interest forum for which those subjects
would be off-topic.
Unfortunately, the anonymity behind which all who choose to can hide
on the internet removes the constraints with which society holds a
person with regard to his behavior.
Moreover, typing vitriol is virtually risk free as opposed to spewing
it in person at the risk of a bloody nose. It's no surprise to me that
we see so much of it on the internet. I'm not saying there's no place
for it on the 'net; I know of at least a couple of "flame" newsgroups
and several political ones where that is the appropriate medium.
I just think that the wreck is not one of them, and I don't want to
find out about my friends' feet of clay. And that works across the
spectrum; I'm sure there must be someone out there who is embarrassed
about the way they've learned I feel.
Anyway, I expressed regret about joining the mob and its mentality and
I meant it. And here is my pledge. No more will I engage in political
(or other divisive) threads. It is not good for me, it is not good for
my friends, it is not good for the wreck. The opinions expressed
aren't going to change anyone's mind; it's naive for anyone to think
so. That probably includes this one.
Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
Shamelessly whoring my website since 1999