Ethics in The Wider Community: On Discourse

Today has been a relatively interesting day for me. I make it a point to follow people that I don’t necessarily agree with, as well as to keep up with the general goings on in the pagan blogospheres because I feel it relatively important to be informed, though I do my best to stay uninvolved. I have my own opinions on many subjects but I prefer to discourse them rather than to enter into the kind of “call-out” culture that has become so rampant across social media. All of that being said, since it is a fact of public record, I’m not going to intentionally mask what I’m writing about.

Galina Krasskova is a relatively well-known pagan author and blogger. Like most well known people in the pagan sphere, there are people that dislike her and people who like her. There are people that find her behaviors and what she teaches to be problematic, and there are people who don’t. My opinion here is irrelevant, how I personally feel about the practice or conduct of a peer does not have anything to do with the fact that they are, indeed a peer, and since I’m an academic who heartily believes in purely academic discourse, the experience I had today on her WordPress blog has left me somewhat dumbfounded and a little disappointed. 

I could have originally been more “quote” and respond in my initial comment, but given that Krasskova and I have never interacted before, I made the assumption that any questions I posed or concepts I challenged would be met with the same academic mindset I hold (especially given her background) and instead I was met with such a level of anger and frustration that I honestly couldn’t figure out how to respond. In following attempts to defend my thought processes, I did have the lovely experience of meeting a few other bloggers that I’m going to be following and staying up with. Unfortunately, this was when Krasskova’s husband got involved and I found the things that followed to be somewhat along the lines of twitter flame wars. Where groups will team up on the one person they disagree with and no matter what one could do to defend themselves, there was one more person to come back at them.

After working in academic and corporate environments for so long, I’m used to getting intellectually cornered and put in places to defend myself, especially in the sense that I’m either defending an idea to prove my credibility or defending my credibility as someone able to complete a job, take on a large project or take a management position. In both of those very patriarchal worlds, I have learned (as a woman) to shutter my emotional responses (as low as they may be in the first place) and to respond with pragmatism.

Situations where this isn’t reciprocated and the emotional game is insistently being played either for a purpose of making oneself out to be a victim, or to simply villianize the opposing party are both frustrating and irritating to me. I don’t generally care what someone may say about me, but I do like good manners. And being polite. (There is some kind of joke about me being more like Hannibal Lector than I’d be comfortable making here.) I’ll be the first to admit that the matter-of-fact blunt approach I have can be off-putting and callous, but it is most certainly never emotional and I don’t have feelings that could get hurt.

I just strongly dislike people being rude and nitpicking conversations rather than understanding things as a whole. It’s counterproductive to any kind of growth or experience, and its unfortunate that this community at large seems to be rampant with this kind of back-biting, victim-baiting behavior. Needless to say, I will not be interacting with Ms. Krasskova directly again unless necessary in the hands of some kind of project that puts us together in the future.

I will, however, continue to critique and be critical of the events, writings and postings within this community. Because without conflict, how do we grow?

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