Is It Self Flagellation?

It’s like this, see. I read this blog. Yeah, I know, ‘well, duh, April, you read tons of blogs, what’s your point?’ I read this blog and I get annoyed. Sometimes I even get angry.

The author makes a lot of generalizations that I just don’t agree with, most of them because either I or someone close to me has lived the exceptions. But I keep reading, because I appreciate good writing, because I learn new things, but more than any other reason, because it’s still a window to a world that’s not my own.

I didn’t have those reasons thought out when I began this post; I started writing it to explore the relationship between my reading that blog and my compulsion to read the comments on controversial news articles.

I wondered if I’m just a glutton for punishment. I have a lot of firmly held beliefs on human rights, women’s rights, and healthcare, and I find articles all the time on these topics; it’s not like they’re obscure interests. Where I screw up is in reading opinions. I absolutely cannot resist reading editorials and commentary on any subject that I know brings out fast and furious opposition. And then I get seriously disgusted with what I’m reading.

So why do I do it? I have plenty of nonsensical injustice to deal with in real life. Why should I let myself get so worked up about the Internet? My best guess is that it’s safe. It’s instant gratification. It’s expected. Nobody uses the Internet to agree with people, do they?

But safe, that’s a reasonable reason. It’s a lot safer to read and disagree in my head, never commenting or replying, never setting my thoughts free to cause problems in real life. Safer to just tumble them around in my own head until I find something I need to explore further, and that I can do here, with my small audience.

It’s not punishment, and it’s not silly. It’s just another method of coping. Hey, whatever works, right? So now I know. It’s so fulfilling to start with ‘I don’t know,’ but to finish with ‘this is why,’ don’t you think?

6 Comments on “Is It Self Flagellation?”

  1. Kathy says:

    This reminds me of Jjraffe’s recent post about this topic:

    I agree that we all need to do what works for us to cope. I also appreciate being able to go from not have a reason, to be able to defend and explain your beliefs.

    Thank you for sharing.

  2. jjiraffe says:

    “But I keep reading, because I appreciate good writing, because I learn new things, but more than any other reason, because it’s still a window to a world that’s not my own.” Totally get this. I follow some bloggers who could not be more different in terms of their views than mine, but they present things in such a way that I am drawn into their world. And it’s a world I probably should know more about since their group effects policy, voting, economics, etc….

  3. Justine says:

    Actually, for all of the shouting out here, a LOT of people use the Internet to agree with people. So I think you’re brave, and you’re in the minority. You’ve figured out that we all have to live in the same world, so we might as well figure out how to cope with each other.

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