Wednesday, December 15, 2010

New: Huffington Post piece

THE ZONE OF UNEASE, Dec 15 - My first piece for The Huffington Post just went online. This one's an experiment. I can put together an essay like this pretty quickly, but I'm not sure I enjoy doing so. For one thing, reading through the ocean of WikiLeaks-related stories (meaning, secondary to the actual data released by WikiLeaks) of just the last week was kind of depressing. And sifting through all the misogynist vitriol against Julian Assange's rape accusers left me feeling psychically slimed.

Also, where does it end? The goal of any opinion piece is to provoke more opinion. This doesn't always seem like a good thing. Naomi Wolf's ghastly attack on both accusers - the impetus for my piece - was, after all, just an opinion piece itself. Everyone's got something to say. It's a scary rabbit hole to stumble down. When I called my dad (a journalist for two decades) to get his perspective, he laughed and said, "it's the wild west now." Except I think the west was a bit more courteous.

I'm aware that - in the several-dozen strong community that follows my work - I have a reputation for incivility from my fanzine and band days. In hindsight, I'm glad I got most of the rudeness out of my system before the internet showed up. I've taken great pains, in the last ten years, to purge these tendencies from my writing. For the most part, I've been successful. Life is too short for writers to be impolite. I'm trying.

That said, if you are an anonymous hacker who attacks alleged rape victims online, you are the worst kind of dickless asshat, and my Christmas wish for you is bee stings and UTIs and personal failure. Amen.