One the worst days, I feel like the chief purpose of the internet is to share opinions. Well, “share” might be too strong a word. More like “declare” them. We all have to guide our way through our Facebook feeds to keep our heckles from rising as we read the various opinions from our friends that angry up the blood. Blogging has a particular tendency toward this, because it allows for things to be a little more long-form and thought-out (ideally). In spite of the fact that The Rumpus Room started as a board game blog, in my quest for more content I’ve expanded to a wider range of topics, mostly revolving around 1) piddly crap that interests me and 2) my kids.
But there are times when I’ve wanted to comment on something far more important. Just off the top of my head, in the time I’ve been actively writing several entries a week we’ve had NSA scandals, Phil Robertson, the ACA launch, a government shutdown, Miley Cyrus, and creation debates. I have opinions on all of these things, and generally pretty strong ones. I’ve come really close to pulling the trigger on putting fingers to keyboard to get those thoughts out there, but something’s always held me back.
I want to be clear: a lot of these things (though certainly not all of them) are important and worth caring about. I have never subscribed to the “who cares” philosophy, if only because such topics affect our day to day interaction with other people. When someone feels the need to get on their soapbox about the debt ceiling, it’s good to know why it’s important even if it’s just to shut them up.
But whenever I want to sit down and type up one of these screeds, I somehow feel like I’m fundamentally violating what I want to accomplish with The Rumpus Room. I sometimes worry that I write too much about fluff, but the truth is that the fluff appeals to the widest variety of people, and it increasingly feels like our leisure is all that we have keeping us together. That’s certainly true in the United States, where I sometimes feel a lot of people make no distinction between private opinions and someone’s value as a person. There’s more value in the stupid stuff we do for fun that you think, because it’s things like those that help us relate to each other in today’s climate.
On a somewhat more personal note, I have something of an ugly secret: I really love attention. I like it when people point to what I do and tell me that it’s good. I like to get people to acknowledge my importance when I have something big to say. If I’m very honest, I want to write big controversial blog entries because I want to get a rise out of people and look more important than I really am. Knowing that tendency, it’s probably better that I hold back on commenting on important stuff.
So that’s why you won’t read any really important opinions on The Rumpus Room. At some point, it’s important to put a distinction between what I put forth on this blog and how I am in real life. It may sound like a cop-out, avoiding saying controversial things to keep from making waves. I can live with that. In my experience, controversial discussions are meant to be shared with people who know you well, will listen and consider your viewpoints, can correct you on errant thinking, and will challenge your assumptions. They aren’t meant to be held on Facebook where everyone can see you score cheap points off of someone else, and they certainly aren’t meant for my blog, where I can try to demonstrate how smart I am while I burn bridges.