I am a confrontational conversationalist; I love to aggressively declare my case, proclaiming rather than couching. When I write papers, I am much milder— though I still despise hedging, even when I catch myself having indulged in it.
That said, when I look back at the majority of my blogging, I cringe. To a stranger, I likely come off as unbearably pompous and declaring things far beyond any likely hope of justifying my strongest claims. Just so. I would not pretend that I can thoroughly justify my strong claims, but I believe them all the same; at least, that is, at the time I write or say them. … Were I in politics, I would be accused of flip–flopping (though I cannot think of a case in which I have returned to a former position); indeed, it would be very easy to accuse me of hypocrisy, because I regularly fail to live up to my own conclusions.
Typically, I love argument (and I always blog with the chance for argument in mind), but I read my blog entries and they come off* as being from a person who brooks no dissension. Those who love to win are often accused of wanting to be right at all costs; I want to be right at all costs, but that naturally includes admitting and adjusting when I am wrong.
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Blogging is speech without reaction. Few bloggers write as if they are crafting essays (despite the length of their posts); rather, blogging is speech, the longer entries resembling an impromptu dinnertime monologue. Of course, reaction accessible to the blogger is possible, but the great majority of readers will react only inwardly—and maybe socially—with the blogger getting a thin slice of reaction to their speech at best.
I worked for a man who called himself a frustrated preacher; he had gone to seminary, but found himself to be a poor fit for ministry in his denomination, but still felt a need to preach. As such, when he did get an opportunity, formal or informal, to do so he would—unless he was carefully self–restraining—drown himself and his listeners in a torrent of words.
This is my everyday.
Since moving to the Philly suburbs from Louisville, I’ve led a very solitary life— by my own standards, at least. So, blogging often becomes my only outlet for that building pressure of words†… and so they come out, sensibly or not, with the right flip of the psychological switch.
* In our age, at least; I like to flatter myself by simply believing that I hearken back to an earlier rhetorical age.
† I suppose ‘words’ suggests things fairly trivial, but in my mind words are logoi first, and symbols second. Trivia (and jokes) are what Facebook is for.