Miniblog #222: I Wish People Would Stop Reading between the Lines in What I Write
I wish people would stop reading things between the lines that simple aren’t there, especially in my blog posts and Facebook status updates. There’s plenty of content already to which one can respond. No need to go inventing stuff. Let’s face it. I’m not a controlling kinda guy. Nor am I particularly diplomatic. I don’t manipulate nor massage. I’m not aggressive, passive-aggressive, nor covert-aggressive. No, I pretty much wear my heart (and mind) on my sleeve. I write what I mean and mean what I write; less Ali’s “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” and more Foreman’s blunt force trauma. People who go looking for the deeper, implicit message11.i.e. What I “really meant.” continually mis-attribute beliefs, opinions, perspectives, and motivations to me that simply are not accurate. It’s a form of deceitfulness and is irritating as heck. Of course, this is part of a much larger frustration I have. These days I think we place far too much responsibility on the speaker/writer to accurately convey the intended message and far too little responsibility on the listener/reader to accurately receive said message.22.It seems to me part of this is because we value “I feel” far more than “I think.” When the former is unchained from the latter, the reader is given license to basically take anything away from the text he or she wishes. After all, that’s what (s)he felt while reading it. While I certainly don’t claim anything approaching authorial infallibility, let’s be honest. I do a pretty good job of communicating what I mean, especially in writing. A whole lot of time, effort, and intentionality goes into it. I work hard at each of ethos, pathos, and logos. If only reader laziness weren’t tolerated to the same degree as writer laziness! This is a lost cause. Nevertheless, I wanted to voice it.