Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Comments on my Kalpen Modi Post

This is an odd experience.

I've been very much sidetracked from this blog for a bit--I returned to school, was working on an article for Createquity, found myself directing and writing a show from start to finish in 19 days (we're on our second performance tonight, which is why I am starting to get breathing room back in my life), and otherwise have found myself busy.

A couple days ago, I started getting comments on this blog on my Kalpen Modi post from at least a month ago. This is not a very widely read blog, to say the least. But in the last twenty four hours, I've started getting posts on my blog--it feels overreactive to call them "attack posts" or flames because, honestly, the effort put into them is just... lacking. I could come up with better vitriol against myself, if I was trying. Maybe I will sometime, it sounds like fun.

The problem is, if you want to hurt your opponent, you have to understand them.

For instance: "Have you ever read Animal Farm?" Yes, I have. George Orwell is one of my favorite writers. I spent a semester in the Czech Republic studying totalitarianism, because totalitarian movements are an interest of mine--understanding how they work, why they go wrong, and how they relate to the masses.

Actually, this seems like a fruitful, complicated area of discussion: how can the grassroots coexist with the structure of a democracy without becoming organs of mass directedness. After all, democratic republicanism requires the coexistence as well as the friction between mass movements and directed government. Totalitarianism is also based on that relationship, but in different ways. It seems important to delve into that, so I'll try and look at that this weekend.

I wish that the poster had somehow highlighted that problem. Instead I get those just weak shots across my bow. For instance, I've never smoke marijuana, so "Puff puff pass" doesn't really get at me. It had the effect of reminding me how conservative I am in comparison with a lot of my peers--I recall watching the Howard Dean fervor and being like, "That isn't me. That's not my party."

The shots just feel lazy. If someone (almost all of the posts were from "anonymous" but one was from "andrew") wants to knock me down a peg, they need to put some back into it. Find out who I am, what I'm actually on about, find the cracks in my arguments, use my own weight to bring me down.

(I'm studying Aikido now and the approach of finding out how to redirect your opponent's energy to bring them down is a very useful one).

At any rate, at least I have the satisfaction of knowing that this weak, pointless vitriol comes from the fact that if you google "Kalpen Modi," I come up at the bottom of the first page of results. That's really the only thing I've learned from this experience.