Brittney Gilbert has resigned her post as author/editor of Nashville Is Talking following a truly hideous episode of misunderstanding and attacks primarily from — get this — left-wing bloggers. Brittney is a lefty herself, but her position was misunderstood by her linking to a racist piece of garbage a few days ago without making her reason for linking it explicit — which was unnecessary for regular readers, as we all know her take on the mudslinger in question — and in the ensuing maelstrom, whatever the real issues were, they got lost in a flurry of ridiculous trolling and name-calling. Aunt B has an excellent summary of it all.

I’ve been following this whole thing for the past 12 hours or so, and it has been making me reflective and a little sad. I’m disappointed that more people don’t exercise compassion in their dealings with others. I’m disappointed that so many people resort to name-calling so quickly. I’m disappointed that this ultimately pushed Brittney to the point of resignation. And I’m just sad to see extreme reactions have such influence while opportunities for balance and understanding are overlooked.

That may make me sound like a “can’t we all just get along” type, but the thing is, I’m not afraid of confrontation. I believe in being direct with people when there are conflicts, and I strive to be gentle until my gentleness is misunderstood as a sign of weakness, and then all bets are off. I’m not always as compassionate as I should be. I forget sometimes about the feelings and frustrations of the people I’m interacting with. I think most of us do. *

The thing that makes me feel bad, personally, is that this all started because a dude died. And it was the reaction to the dude’s death that got everyone talking. You know, Talking. As in Nashville Is. And Brittney linked to an excerpt of some talking, as she is free to decide to do within the bounds of her job. (I expressed concern in comment #28 over how the link would be interpreted by those unfamiliar to the blog, as well as reservations about adding authority to the racist nonsense by linking to it, but I certainly never meant to suggest that Brittney was wrong to make that call.) It was controversial. It got people talking. I agree that the fact that she linked to it was as relevant as the link itself, but I can’t understand why so many people responded with such a lack of curiosity about either. They simply made their assumptions and began calling names.

I can’t decide whether to hope that WKRN decides to keep Nashville Is Talking up and running with a new author/editor or that they shut it down because Brittney is so much the heart and soul of that blog. What I hope for Brittney is easy, because I fully believe she’ll do really well in her next move.

* (I’m not sure why, but this reminds me to mention that Mack was surprised a few weeks ago, after reading my writings here for some time now, when I described myself in conversation as liberal. Huh? Not that it’s an either-or proposition, but I wonder how many conservatives he knows who are bisexual atheist child-free-by-choice vegans. I’m curious to meet one now!)

And a cry of “oh crap” is heard throughout the Nashville blogging community…

11 thoughts on “And a cry of “oh crap” is heard throughout the Nashville blogging community…

  • June 6, 2007 at 1:22 pm
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    What a crappy thing to happen to a community you care about. I think a lot about what happens when a community conversation is lifted out of its usual context and read and interpreted elsewhere, so I know just how that sort of thing can occur, too.

    I’m very much with you on simultaneously wanting people to “just get along” (although there’s nothing “just” about it if you’re honest about it, as getting along from people very different from you requires some hard work) and also not wanting to avoid confrontation and argument where it’s necessary. I’ve always looked at it as terribly unfortunate that so many communities regard these as mutually exclusive, including online ones.

    -J

    P.S. Also, as for the person who’s surprised to hear that you’re a liberal–does he know you at all? Because to me, you’re one of the few Americans who can legitimately be described not only as “liberal,” but as “left-wing”…

    Reply
  • June 6, 2007 at 1:50 pm
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    I really can’t blame her, though. That gig’s a tough one. And if she can manage and with a good editor, I think she could squeeze out a good book on web 2.0.

    People tell me I’m going to turn Republican when I’m a business owner, but I don’t see it happenening. Because, you know, I have a conscience and stuff.

    Reply
  • June 6, 2007 at 2:00 pm
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    “bisexual atheist child-free-by-choice vegan”

    Now THAT would make a great T-shirt!

    Sam

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  • June 6, 2007 at 2:13 pm
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    Pretty much everything you said here is exactly how I have felt about all of this and blogging in general. Thanks for putting it into some coherent words!

    As for Mack not realizing you were liberal? Wow! lol

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  • June 6, 2007 at 3:56 pm
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    Jeez Louise, you’d think it was over something important, like canola oil.

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  • June 6, 2007 at 9:38 pm
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    You realize that you are BOTH Steph and I’s biggest blogging crush.
    It’s posts like this that are the reasons why.
    May be up this weekend.
    Adult Beverages?

    Reply
  • June 7, 2007 at 8:45 am
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    Ooh, no, I did not realize! How fun!

    I am always up for Adult Beverages. Email me, if you like, at lj at honeybowtie dot com, and we can discuss details.

    Reply
  • June 11, 2007 at 8:53 am
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    Good to see you this weekend, and to meet Karsten!

    Reply
  • June 11, 2007 at 8:53 am
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    Crap. That anonymous comment was me.
    -Rachel

    Reply

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