Since it is often said that if you can’t say anything nice you shouldn’t say anything at all… I’ve been standing mute for some time. I’m sick of it but I am exhausted by all the hate and all the different permutations of how my words can be, and usually is, misrepresented by the listening audience. But I get it, attempts at humor are best landed to a very sympathetic audience and snark never sounds good if you don’t agree with the snarker…
Here is the thing, it did used to be different. When we didn’t know each other we could hear Bob Black, Bookchin, or even Becken for the cranky opinionated personalities they were and not need to take it further. We could both disagree with an anarchist personality AND be excited for the next time they published or spoke. I love the Internet because of how accessible the information about our tendencies have become but I hate it for the ways it appears to have not just polarized our different positions but defanged them too.
How? This is a topic for a different time but it does seem that the gap is widening between the different kinds of roles involved in our little space. In the example I use above we are referring to three “white men” who happen to write. None of these men work particularly well with people (ie are seen as lone writers and not, for instance, organization men) nor did any of them write a classic text (although Abolition of Work and maybe The Ecology of Freedom are modern minor classics). They are partisans of The Idea and are valuable for that.
Here is the topic. Was it the pacing of book (and perhaps periodical) writing that created our different, perhaps less hostile, sense of who authors were or was it the distance? Is anarchism a movement of essays or of books? Is authorship the issue (as in death of the author and/or anon writing) in terms of how to end stupid hostility in the Internet Age?