Monday, 29 September 2008

An insight into bloggers and their bitter little battles

My sister is reading Immortality by Milan Kundera and Peter Kussi and came across this passage:

Don’t tell me that two men who deeply disagree with each other can still like each other; that’s a fairy tale. Perhaps they would like each other if they kept their opinions to themselves or if they only discussed them in a joking way and thus played down their significance…But once a quarrel breaks out, it’s too late. Not because they believe so firmly in the opinions they defend, but because they can’t stand not to be right. Look at those two. After all, their dispute won’t change anything, it will lead to no decision, it will not influence the course of events in the slightest, it is quite sterile and unnecessary, confined to the cafeteria and its stale air, soon gone when the cleaning lady opens the windows. And yet, observe the rapt attention of the small audience round the table! Everyone is quiet, listening intently, they even forget to sip their coffee. The two rivals now care only about one thing: which of them will be recognized by the opinion of this small audience as the possessor of the truth, for to be proved wrong means for each of them the same thing as losing his honour. Or losing a piece of his own self. The opinion they advocate is itself not all that important to them. But because once they have made this opinion an attribute of their self, attacking it is like stabbing a part of their body.

It strikes me that it casts a piercing light onto the bitterness with which many bloggers and those who leave comments on websites fight their corners. Very quickly so-called debates descend into slanging matches as one or both parties become more interested in “winning” or slapping the other down harder then they (think they) have been slapped.

In the process the valuable exchange of ideas and the thought that we all might benefit from a healthy debate is lost.


Julian H said...

Well this is just ****ing typical coming from you, Papworth.

Ho ho ho.

Kundera is the dog's proverbials, although not quite in the Nabokov league.

I didn't know you have a sister.

Tom Papworth said...

Somebody had to make that joke.

And it had to be you ;o)

Beth said...

Jokes aside, I like this quote and your comment on it.
Something to think about in my verbal exchanges and how to respond to comments on my posts.

Thanks for the insight.