Quick Thought: On Addendums
Recently, I was criticized - lightly but somewhat fairly - for my supposed 'selective' reading of a blog post for episode 5 of Inciting A BrewHaHa. Allegedly, and I haven't gone back to listen to the show to verify (but it really doesn't matter), I did not end the entire diatribe against Project Pagan Enough and ire over 'mainstream' pagans with two words:
Quite simple in their syntax. There's a subject and a predicate. It's a complete sentence, and I am told that it would have changed the entire tone of the previous paragraph. In that paragraph, Project Pagan Enough is criticized as an attempt to mainstream paganism; WitchesBrewHaHa, the Pagan Hooligans, and many other high audio quality shows are derided as trying to throw how normal they are in everyone's face, and then the whole thing is ended with a heavy-handed attempt at humor by saying the blogger would put up a PPE banner if there were a banner about Project Pagan Weirdos.
So, 'I joke' was supposed to have changed all that. It was supposed to lead us to believe that those sentences were merely humor, and we should take it as such.
But, I have a question, Rioters. How is adding the addendum of 'I joke' to a snide comment any different than saying, "God, you know you look really fat in those jeans... I'm just kidding,"? The comment is made. You said what you really thought, or at least enough to make yourself feel superior, and then you believe you can wipe it all away with 'just kidding.' This is no different.
In Texas, growing up, women had 'Bless her heart'. If they wanted to gossip about somebody, they could say something like, "Bless her heart, that woman has gotten so fat and you know her husband is running around on her." And, of course, saying 'Bless her heart' at the beginning absolves the gossiper of anything remotely malicious. The addition comes at the beginning, however, and makes it sound like there's an air of concern rather than trite rumor mongering.
Not that I intend to create some feud between myself and the blogger in question, but there was a reason I left out the two words 'I joke'. They didn't change a thing about that statement. If anything, they were an attempt at absolving the writer of any guilt or responsibility for the statements they made. When I say, "I'm sorry, but if you are one of those people that think Islam is a terrorist-breeding religion, then you're an idiot," I realize that is an unbelievably strong statement. It puts people off, and it, at least in one case, cost me a subscriber to the show. But, you'd better believe I'm going to stand by my statement. Yes, you can always alter your opinion and look back with regret after the fact, but don't attempt to change the tone of what you said by adding such an addendum.
In my opinion, statements such as those - Bless her heart; I joke; Just kidding - only make the comment more derisive, more snide. They ridicule and then say, "Come on, don't get upset by that. Just let me say what I want, and let's get over it so I can say some more!" Or, "You should have more backbone/not be so sensitive." They don't take away the sting of the statement any more than a Band-Aid would applied to a verbally-inflicted wound.
But, I could be wrong. Rioters, what do you think of addendums such as these? Is it unfair of me to not have included 'I joke' in my reading of the statements? Would those two words have, indeed, changed the entire tone of the paragraph and, thus, my interpretation? Or, are those two words merely an attempt at lessening an already dealt blow?
Love and Lyte,