Why I Don't Talk About Important Topics More Often

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 14.472% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

So I had a post burbling today on George Zimmerman’s girlfriend – who, after she called 911 to say that George Zimmerman had stuck a gun in her face, recanted and dropped the charges.  And I was writing a post about abusers, and how people are manipulated by abusers, and how the stress of breaking free of an abusive relationship and having everyone knowing what a mess you’re in often makes people want to drop everything and revert back to those simpler days when they didn’t have to self-identify to all their loved ones as “an abused person.”
But that’s a high-wire post, there.  Slip a bit to one side and you’re making it seem like Zimmerman’s somehow justified.  Slip a little to the other side and you’re implying that the abuse is all the victim’s fault, and a little more gumption would have gotten them out of any bad situation.
Slip a little to yet another side and people are going to miss this very fine distinction that while I understand all the good reasons someone has not to report an abuser, and that I would never blame you if you didn’t want to go through this frustrating and oft-unfruitful bureaucratic PR nightmare, it’s still better if enough people can fight past the system to put assholes like this away.  And they’ll accuse me of victim-blaming, when what I’m trying to do is generate sympathy for the terrible plight a victim is in.
And no matter what I did, the comments would be filled with hateful stuff from people who make snap-judgments, saying things like, “Well, why the hell was she dating Zimmerman in the first place? What a dumb bitch!”  Which would hurt my heart, because my first instinct is to always go, “There but for the grace of God go I.”  And others would debate all the facts of the Zimmerman abuse case, which would require me to come rapidly up to speed on how all this works so I could be sure I was correct.
And everyone would make everything seem simple: When you’re abused, here’s what you do, and if you don’t do it, you’re stupid!  When you’re dealing with the cops, here’s what you do, there’s only one right way!  And I’d be fighting both sides in an attempt to argue, once again, that the world is full of moral complexities, and goddammit your need to convert a million shades of gray into black and white is not helping.
Between all the flame wars I would need to quash and the danger that someone would misinterpret me, I think of all the effort this blog post would take me.  And I’ve got a big project at work to do, and not enough time to manage comments, and so I put this post on the backburner and see if one day I feel it’s worth the energy it would take to shape and manage it properly.
This happens about three times a week.


  1. FP
    Dec 10, 2013

    Aaaaaaaaaand welcome to why I don’t have a blog. :p

  2. Mark D
    Dec 11, 2013

    Nice post, and the material is quite familiar. I blog for a pretty left-wing internet site in the Netherlands, and recently posted something about how I figured that imposing minimum wages in developing countries would lead to more unemployment over there. This evoked quite the flame-war and got quite personal, which shook me quite a bit.
    Since you have some experience with blogging and the flame-wars it can cause, do you have any advice on how to survive these kinds of things?

    • TheFerrett
      Dec 15, 2013

      You spend a lot of time anticipating your audience. Once you get to know them, you can head them off at the pass to at least stop them from misunderstanding you without great effort.
      After that, you’re pretty much on your own.

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