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Clearing out - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
Clearing out
We have just evicted the mother of all spiders from our beer cupboard under the stairs:



I was rather sad to see it go; it was big and furry and rather sweet in an ugly kind of way, and it wasn't doing anybody any real harm.

After that, I cleared out my inbox by deleting all the "Girl's Own" mailing list messages, having just unsubscribed from said list. For a while I've felt that I didn't really belong there, and then I received this by email:

over the past couple of months, in off-list conversations, at least a dozen - maybe more, I certainly haven't been keeping track - of the more interesting & longtime GOers have mentioned that you are a bit too opinionated on *every single topic* that comes up & that you always seem to have to have the last word. Some of them are even becoming reluctant to post because they think you're going to pounce/belittle them. Part of this may be an age thing - I think most of the more active GOers are 40+ (35+ anyway) & for many this is the only list they're on and the tone *is* generally pretty collegial. Their reaction - even *my* reaction - is rapidly becoming 'Oh god - *her* again.' To be really blunt, you're getting up people's noses.

*Nobody* really thinks the list should be all sweetness & light and we should just be talking about the 'nice school stories' and if you scroll back through the archives you'll find plenty of threads (inc lots of mine) that are fairly controversial/serious. But *not all the time.* I'd strongly suggest that you back off a bit and really listen to the tone of your posts. You'll find you do come across very strongly, not on important stuff but on topics that are really irrelevant fluff that nobody gives a damn about, and it makes you seem very aggressive. So give it a break. This list *is* mainly to talk about GO books and every single OT thread doesn't have to be relentlessly pursued, chewed & battled over.


Well, they're right; I do have opinions about all sorts of irrelevant things, and I tend to be quite outspoken, and I'm not good at confining my conversation to the wide-eyed vacant lists of "books that are really nice" (and occasionally, more controversially, "books that are horrid so I don't read them") that a lot of people seem content with. I've blethered on about housework and baking and times-tables (though I haven't started any off-topic threads as far as I can recall, just joined in with other people's) more than I have about books recently because whenever I mention a book the conversation immediately stops. Probably because I use big words like "character" and "style", and don't burst into inconsolable tears if somebody doesn't like my favourite author.

The person who sent me the email quoted above suggested that if I was bored I should run a book discussion. I'm not "bored", I'm just being driven out of my mind by the drivelling inanity which makes up 90% of the list's content, and utterly mystified as to how the interesting and intelligent 10% of contributors have managed to put up with it for so long. And the last thing which is likely to help with that is to be forced to set a load of primary-school homework questions ("In Clichés in the Lower Fourth, do you think Emily-Jane is a nice person? Should she have told tales on Malvina? Why does Miss Bobbins give her a ticking-off?") for the sort of people who think Enid Blyton is intellectually challenging.

On the whole, I miss the spider more.
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Comments
bopeepsheep From: bopeepsheep Date: September 5th, 2004 02:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Please LJ-cut that. a) very big and b) very big spider. I now can't look at my friends' page. Seriously.
From: besskeloid Date: September 5th, 2004 02:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Face your fears! You can do it. You can reach your goals. BEEEFCAAAAAAAAKE!
From: besskeloid Date: September 5th, 2004 02:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
We have just evicted the mother of all spiders from our beer cupboard under the stairs:

Bloody buggering flip, Janet!
j4 From: j4 Date: September 5th, 2004 02:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think it's gorgeous. Lovely big furry spider.
angua From: angua Date: September 5th, 2004 02:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Keep the spider and send it to the bint from the GO list.

Oh, and ignore her, she should shut the fuck up :)
j4 From: j4 Date: September 5th, 2004 02:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I put the spider out. It ran away really slowly, like it didn't really want to go. :-(

I think the GO woman was trying to be helpful. And she did say at the beginning "this is not a flame", so god help me if she ever decides to flame me. [dons asbestos knickers]
arnhem From: arnhem Date: September 5th, 2004 03:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Was it intentional that the way it's held, it looks like someone is drinking from that glass and in for a bit of a surprise? I instinctively tried to scroll right to see the look on their face ...
j4 From: j4 Date: September 5th, 2004 03:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ha! Not intentional, no -- I was just trying to shake it along the glass a little to make it show off its impressive legs and body -- but I do see what you mean...
ghirlracer From: ghirlracer Date: September 5th, 2004 03:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
FWIW, I don't at all agree with the person who e-mailed you from GO - frankly, I wish more people would post their opinions like you do. Sadly I can never really think of much to say, or I'd join in more, but there's no way you deserved a comment like that, as I don't think you've done or said anything wrong.

Although I'm not sure I agree with your comments towards the end of the post - I suspect I'm in your 90% of uninteresting and unintelligent posters due to my general quietness, but even if I'm not, I still don't think the list's all that bad. The problem is that it's hard to find that much to say about books, so not a lot gets said - if only a handful of people have read a book, and most of those read it so long ago that they don't remember it, people won't say a lot ebout it, other than what little impressions they can recall, which usually will be the "inane drivel" about whether or not they like it and the major plotlines.

Perhaps some people just have trouble dealing with people who have opinions - I know a few people (well, one in particular, who's never seemed friendly to me since, either... I'd be curious to know if she's one of the people who also has a problem with you; I think the chances are high) were a bit snarky at me when I joined, because I'm often a bit blunt and maybe trample on people without meaning to. I just dont say much now; it's easier than annoying people, and often all I can contribute that hasn't already been said is a strong opinion that I know not everyone will like, so it's better to leave it unsaid. In some groups it's possible to have reasoned discussions, but like the person you quoted says, a lot of the people on GO are older and not as flexible I guess.

Sorry you've felt you had to leave - I enjoyed reading your posts :-(

PS - Nice spider... I think I won't be showing that to the bf, seeing as he's scared of even little ones!
j4 From: j4 Date: September 6th, 2004 01:18 am (UTC) (Link)
I suspect I'm in your 90% of uninteresting and unintelligent posters due to my general quietness

No, I was talking about the people who post uninteresting and unintelligent stuff -- I've hardly seen you post anything ... and there are plenty of other interesting and intelligent people on the list who hardly say anything, perhaps if they all did say more it'd be a higher hit-rate than 10% for me.

The problem is that it's hard to find that much to say about books

As an English graduate I'd have to disagree very strongly with that!
hairyears From: hairyears Date: September 5th, 2004 04:56 pm (UTC) (Link)

FWIW, it's a noticeably Oxbridge thing, we (or you, I didn't qualify) are a lot harder, or perhaps more pointy and direct in all conversations with an intellectual content. There's an assumption that our interlocutor is as clever in conversation as we are, confident and willing, with pleasure, to defend their point and respond to whatever we say.

This is not the case in the Real World. Most people aren't that confident and there seems to be no such thing as benign criticism, and little pleasure in debate.

sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: September 6th, 2004 12:16 am (UTC) (Link)
That woman is talking the kind of small minded crap that really gets on my tits. You're definitely right to walk away from that kind of poisonous environment. Reading between the lines, it's nothing more than "*I* don't like you, so therefore I am going to use other people's smallmindedness and misguided fragility to beat you around the head".

You were right to leave, that kind of poisonous environment you're better off without. No-one should ever be ashamed of having opinions, and if they think you're confrontational, there are several people I'd love to subscribe to that list that would show them exactly how unconfrontational you are.
oldbloke From: oldbloke Date: September 6th, 2004 01:10 am (UTC) (Link)
I have to take breaks from The Shed more and more frequently these days, it's not much like it was when I started it. It wouldn't be so bad if it didn't so often turn into uk.chat.north-wales. I've made it more bearable by KFing certain people...
j4 From: j4 Date: September 6th, 2004 01:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Harder to KF people on a mailing list, unfortunately.
huskyteer From: huskyteer Date: September 6th, 2004 01:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Oi. Are you insulting my mother?
j4 From: j4 Date: September 6th, 2004 01:33 am (UTC) (Link)
No! Your mum is intelligent and interesting (though fairly quiet on-list, but then maybe she's one of the ones who's been discouraged from posting because of me).
queenortart From: queenortart Date: September 6th, 2004 04:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Okay trying hard not to see the spider, - was quite pleased not to see it on your blog and then opened the comments and whoosh.

Anyway - I just wanted to say I never had a problem with anything you said on the GO list, and I think whoever it was deserves a bloody good slap. I shall send them a virtual one into the ether.

And I'd love to read some Chalet School Slash!

Sue
From: bibliogirl Date: September 6th, 2004 10:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Okay, how small _is_ the damn world around here?
chiasmata From: chiasmata Date: September 6th, 2004 04:43 am (UTC) (Link)

*waves*

Hey. I'm a GO-er - the one who recently offered to email CS slash as a Word doc to anyone who wanted it, mwah ha ha - and found your journal through my awesome googling skills. Just wanted to say that my reaction to your apology/farewell post was "she did the what now?!" - or, in English, horror that anyone could be so downright mean as to e-mail you like that. I'd like to know who made her List God.

And, by the way: don't burst into inconsolable tears if somebody doesn't like my favourite author. Yes. Indeed. *falls over laughing*. I've only been on the list for a month or so, but definitely.

Personally, I adore healthy debate, and a strong opinion and the ability/desire to defend it are usually good things. Can't remember off-hand if I ever found anything you said (generally, not to me) too much; even if I did, though, I'd hope I'd be mature enough not to take it personally.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 6th, 2004 06:00 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: *waves*

I suspect many GO list members (like myself) who'd never heard of live journals will be reading this, after Janet's farewell to the list. One of these could well be the person being swiped at for her 'inconsolable tears' - no, it's not me, but I don't think it's OK to make fun of contributions to a private mailing list on a public site like this. Make fun of the list in general if you must but not specific comments easily traceable to individuals - everyone who was following the GO discussions in August will know who and what you are talking about. Janet, I'm sorry you feel like you don't belong on GO, but given the amount of contempt you seem to have for the list maybe that's something you feel relieved about. Yep, I'm closing ranks and proud of it.

Shereen
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From: (Anonymous) Date: September 7th, 2004 06:41 am (UTC) (Link)
But you can and do go nuts if someone disagrees with you, in truly quite an horrific manner. That is different from robust and intelligent debate, of which you are also a practitioner. Why not more of the latter and a good, long swearing sessiona t the computer when you want to do the former?
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molkovia04 From: molkovia04 Date: September 7th, 2004 07:39 am (UTC) (Link)

waaaaaaaaah

Holy cow. That's not a spider that's an 8-legged horse surely...

Discovered this entry through rhodri and addedentry... eek!

Random fact of the day: my sister's also called Janet.

OK, I'll shut up now.
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