I am working on a programming project for a friend, and also writing another longish “Missouri Tale”, but in honor of Mother’s Day I thought I’d share photos I took yesterday of a very rare plant: the wild azalea. The plant is also known locally as a “honeysuckle” and considering that Japanese honeysuckle is an invasive species that the conservationists are working, hard, to remove here in the Missouri, the local name does sometimes lead to confusion.
The Missouri honeysuckle is native to this area, but only exists in three tiny locations in the entire state; Pickle Creek area, where I hiked yesterday, is one of them. It’ s an amazingly delicate and lovely flower, and I was able to spot it primarily because I took a wrong fork at one point and ended up taking a longer way around. A way which just so happened to have several of the plants along the path.
The trip yesterday was tiring, but very calming, which was to the good. Something else that is calming, or I should say calming down is the ‘blogroll’ debate, which is also to the good. Lauren has a new post on the recent events, which captures the essence of some of the concerns on all sides in typically comprehensive and thoughtful Feministe manner. Hopefully, others will follow suit.
Since pink is supposed to help calm emotions, another photo of the wild azalea to speed this positive discourse on its way. (Notice how nicely it clashes with the strong colors of my site? I am always so glad when I can introduce these moments of exquisite pain, naturally.)
What I found interesting about the whole experience is that when I first published the post that triggered much of the recent anger or dismay, there was a great deal of defense of blogrolls but not much in the way of animosity in the responses. However, most of the people who responded then, over a month ago, were those who have read other of my posts, and were, more or less, familiar with my writing.
In this new discussion, the post was the first time that many of the people directed to my site had ever read me and they took what I was saying as a demand that people drop their blogrolls, that blogrolls are evil, and so on. Chris said that what I wrote was good except for the one statement about “…those with blogrolls, you are hurting us”. He said that was hyperbole and I agreed — of course it’s hyperbole. The very fact that I borrowed the phrase from Jon Stewart’s Crossfire appearance, and said so in the post. should have provided a strong hint of the nature of the statements that followed.
Stewart’s statement was also hyperbole. It was reducing all the sophisticated rhetoric attached to the media’s role with its public into simple, primitive, emotional terms and baldly thrown into the faces of the Crossfire journalists, leaving them absolutely no where to go, but inward. It not only pushed the journalists down the slippery slope — it iced it so they couldn’t climb out.
At the time I despised the phrase, but after watching many more of Stewart’s taped shows, I began to see how brilliant his approach was. Unfortunately, though, I may lack his deft touch with hyperbole, though I think I’m getting a handle on his use of satire.
My biggest mistake was I didn’t take into account when I wrote the statement that someone reading that post without having any history of my writing, thought processes, or even my reasons for using the Stewart phrase, is going to interpret what I was saying differently from a ‘regular’ reader. This was an eye opener. A rather contentious, somewhat fractious eye opener true; but an eye opener nonetheless.
Becoming aware of this as an issue, however, does not necessarily mean I will be viewing all this as an impetus to change. I will continue to use metaphor, hyperbole, and litotes (I am just so clever), indulge in satire and acrimony, revel in passion, gloat with anger, and even, or especially, insert my unique brand of “Tales of the Ozark” whenever it suits me when I write–but I may spare a few more minutes of time to consider the innocent who stumbles on to my page through a link or through some search engine. I may not write any differently but I will spare that time; as momentary penance for my act, if for no other reason.
Reflect. Reflect. Moving on…
But oo la that’s not the way to end a Mother’s Day post, which is supposed to have pink, diamond like stuff and be filled with fussy figurines and rosebud teacups — mothers immediately losing any and all interest in ’sleek’ and ‘edgy’ and ‘minimalistic’, as soon as they behold their offspring for the first time. So I’ll end with another photo of the wild azalea, even though it is neither fussy or a rosebud, but it is a lovely, delicate pink.
I also want to point out a site that I stumbled upon when I was reading some of the posts related to the blogroll thing: Illustration Friday. It is a site that lists a word each week, and people supply illustrations based on this word, using whatever medium they prefer. It is a fascinating mix of art ranging from the too cute to the frankly powerful and disturbing, and a rare good find. My thanks to MizzKitty–who wrote another very thoughtful post on the blogroll issue–for the find.