Communique No. 4: Passive-Aggression, Subtweeting, and My First “Hate Mail”

Don't we all?

Don’t we all?

WHAT IS “SUBTWEETING” ANYWAY?

Technically, I guess, this sort of thing could be classified as “subtweeting” were it on Twitter. Heard of it? It’s a passive-aggressive way to confront someone by indirectly tweeting about them. Take, for example, Sandra, who is annoyed with her boyfriend, Jake, because she’s convinced he never listens to her; instead of sitting down and talking about the situation with Jake, she takes to Twitter and tweets: “WHAT IS IT WITH MEN?!?! It’s seriously like they never even listen! #WeHaveFeelingsToo”.

The true subject of Sandra’s tweet is left intentionally ambiguous so that it becomes awkward for Jake, who follows her on Twitter, to respond in the public forum that is the Twitterverse. What’s the end result? Well, a lot of things, and none of them good. Even so, there are many reasons this post doesn’t fit the bill of a massive subtweet and for reasons which should become clearer as we go.

MY FIRST “KINDA SORTA” HATE MAIL

In roundabout fashion, this brings me to the subject of this post: I’VE GOT HATE MAIL! Whoohoo!!! You know you’re in the big leagues when you start getting hate mail! Well, sort of… For one thing, it technically isn’t “mail”–my best guess is that I was never supposed to see it. Oops. Oh well, you’ve gotta start somewhere! But first, a little back story: there’s this guy that I met in college and I think we hung out a few times with other friends but I never really knew him that well. (Just a note: I realize my referring to you in the third person here is a bit ridiculous. As much as you hate my blog, I’m willing to put a twenty on you not being able to keep yourself away from it. But, that’s okay; you’re always welcome.) Anyway, continuing with back story, we became Facebook friends like all casual acquaintances in undergrad do and, after a while, we both graduated and didn’t stay in touch. We did, however, remain Facebook friends. Beginning at some point in the spring of this year, as I began steering my blog toward a more concise articulation of and commentary on religious and political matters, he fast became my most ardent critic.

I really enjoyed debating with him at first, and we had some good ones. Over time, though, his argumentativeness became increasingly banal and so bereft of logicality as to be mentally exhausting. The breaking point for me came when I shared a link on my personal Facebook profile to the video of Stephen Colbert giving his counteroffer to Donald Trump’s offer to give $5 million to charity if President Obama released his college transcripts and passport records. His outrage at my decision to share that link was so annoyingly fatuous (all but outright questioning my faith) that I did something I don’t know I’ve ever done before: I unfriended him. Yeah, I know, major detractor on my punditry bona fides. I was cordial about it though. I told him why I was unfriending him: mainly as a favor to him, since he seemed to find everything about me so incredibly offensive that he felt compelled to incontinently voice his indignance at every turn. I also wished him well–and meant it.

Well, not long after that, it seems he posted the following message on his Facebook profile:

ORU friends, [i]f I were to write a narcissistic “blog” in which I use gratuitous profanity in an awkward and forced manner reminiscent of one with [Tourette syndrome], while mocking my unrealistic stereotype of “Americans”, belittling other Christians, highlighting and publicizing controversial comments made by little-known pastors, and using forced metaphors to communicate that I believe anyone with difference [sic] beliefs than myself is a complete idiot, would anyone be interested in reading it?? I know there is not currently such a blog out there right now, so I’m thinking there may be a “market” for one. I’m planning on calling it something like, “[HisName]able.”

As you’ve all probably noticed, I redacted his name (mainly as a favor to him; we wouldn’t want people Googling it to end up here after all). If knowing his name matters to you, you can find it in the full unedited quote on my blog’s Facebook page. Since he and I were no longer Facebook friends, I didn’t initially see this post. Which brings me to the question that is probably rolling about in your minds right now: how did I find out about it? By chance, actually. Some time after the fact, a mutual friend who saw the post messaged me and asked me how I felt about it. I told this person we weren’t friends on Facebook anymore so I didn’t see it. This person then sent the post to me in a message, at which point I began to laugh hysterically (because you have to admit it is funny).

Sometimes, passive aggression is just plain fun.

Sometimes, passive-aggression is just plain fun.

DOES HE HAVE A POINT?

Now, in contrast to my frenemy, I’m not blogging about this as a passive-aggressive display of self-righteousness. I’m blogging about it to make a larger point: the fact that people like him dislike me enough to post negative press through their own social media means I’m at least beginning to succeed at what I set out to do. I am sorry that it had to be him I hold up for public display, but this was just too good an opportunity to pass up. In a sense, everything he said is true. “True,” that is, if one is looking at the things I say through an incredibly narrow and monochromatic lens. I suppose it does take a certain amount of narcissism to assume a few people somewhere out in the world might care enough about what you have to say to write a blog. And, it’s true, I really don’t give a shit about the language I use–although I do love his reliance on a faulty assumption of what Tourette syndrome is. I do deride many aspects of American culture, which I see as corrosive and self-destructive. I do harp on the simple-mindedness and quasi-fascistic tendencies present within much of American Christianity and, yes, I do draw attention to moronic pastors who say stupid and hurtful things about the LGBTQ members of our society. And, of course, I do use literary devices to varying degrees of success to point out that some beliefs truly are idiotic. He is wrong on one count, though: there is a blog like that out there already–or at least I try to hold it to that standard.

So, in short, to the few and the faithful, who give at least a passing shit about my often desultory thoughts, I thank you for your friendship, your patronage, and your feedback. I may never be a famous writer, but then that isn’t what I’ve set out to be. In fact, I don’t even think it’s a good idea to intentionally “set out” to be one of those. Very occasionally, a writer’s honesty will find a chamber where it achieves resonance in wider society, perhaps during or perhaps after his or her lifetime. For an even smaller number, a general consensus arises that their words speak to some great truth in an exquisite and unparalleled way, thereby affording them the chance to enter Mankind’s fickle collective memory. Regardless, there’s something fundamentally dishonest about a writer striving for notoriety, not to mention base and crass. Some of the worst writers in the world have been on the New York Times bestseller list and some of the best will never be read by anyone other than their family and closest friends. For myself, my goal is now and has always been to be just an honest writer, a person who burns bridges when necessary so wider ones can be built. I guess we’ll have to wait to see if that will count for something.

Ephemera

  • I’ve recently discovered cob and, oh, am I smitten. I’ve even ordered a book on it because I’ve pretty much made up my mind that if I ever build a house, it’ll be built with cob. Never heard of it? Check it out here to “get your feet wet.”
  • Tucks has been struggling with a fungal infection ever since I’ve moved him into the house. I was watching a documentary this morning on the effect that GMOs can have on the health of humans and animals (including increasing susceptibility to infection) and I decided I’d try to switching him to an organic cat food as part of his treatment. I’m hoping it works, because I’m really not a fan of continually pumping him full of antibiotics and killing off his bowel flora. Keep him in your thoughts and prayers, if you would.

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