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The pride and the passion

Recently, I got into the latest (and probably last) dust-up with a poster over at another site. Apparently I infuriated and exasperated him so badly, he not only gave up guest-posting at that site, but is taking a hiatus from his own. His host gave him a hearty farewell, praising his "passion."

That got me thinking. I happen to think that "passion" is an over-rated quality, especially in blogging. This guy had very strong feelings about quite a few issues, and if anyone had the nerve to challenge him (let alone prove him wrong), he'd get incredibly bent out of shape. Personal attacks, profanities, and utter non sequiturs would start flying, as he'd work himself into a righteous dither. Unfortunately for him, it was all heat and no light, as he was regularly unable to defend his positions.

When one gets as "passionate" about matters as this guy did, it quickly becomes far less about the facts and far more about defending oneself -- and attacking those who dare question you. And what happens when you're wrong? At what point does reason triumph and the passionate one separate himself from the losing issue?

I'm gonna miss having him to smack around on occasion, but I think I'll survive his absence. And he's still welcome to comment here.

Comments (18)

well what fun is it if you... (Below threshold)

well what fun is it if you don't tell us whom is involved?

"If passion drives you, let... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins."
--Benjamin Franklin

Jay, if you miss this fella... (Below threshold)

Jay, if you miss this fella a lot, you can get comfort from contacting Rush Limbaugh, however, if you aren't nice, Rush will send you a virus....

I hate that stuff.... (Below threshold)

I hate that stuff.

It's better to be credible than correct all the time. Suck it up, admit whan your position/opinion is weak or wrong, and people (in this blogger's case, readers) will respect you a lot more in the long run, even if they don't agree with you.

I generally try to use that as my guide when I'm at work, but it applies pretty much everywhere. It's really not that hard.

Why someone with thin skin like that would decide to blog is beyond me, anyway.

The guys that flew the plan... (Below threshold)

The guys that flew the planes into the twin towers were pretty passionate too...

C'mon, JT, give credit wher... (Below threshold)

C'mon, JT, give credit where it's due. He mentioned you twice, but I got specified twelve times, along descriptions such as "a shameful excuse for humanity," "fucking asshole, "despicable piece of trash" and, my favorite, "he supports genocide."

At least in this post, you didn't piss him off a thousandth as much as I did. :)

If I didn't know any better... (Below threshold)

If I didn't know any better... I might guess you were talking about PLD ??? But didn't we all give up on him quite a while ago?

Awww... comon, we need some... (Below threshold)

Awww... comon, we need some ENTERTAINMENT. Drop a link! Please! With sugar on it!...

Hmm... Boyd, you certainly ... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Hmm... Boyd, you certainly scored some winners there, but I have a bit of history with the chap.

OK, I'll concede you 51% of the credit. But only because you're a friend.

And C.H., no, it wasn't PLD. I said I won't say, and you'd do better Searching for Utopia than trying to find out who provoked me to unLoad my Mouth this time. Boyd might be willing to Tell A Soul, but my lips are sealed.


We Guest Bloggers seek a le... (Below threshold)

We Guest Bloggers seek a less judgmental term for us. We're TRANSPOSTERED

Passion is a problem... had... (Below threshold)

Passion is a problem... had a nice long talk with a drunk Irishman (seriously) this weekend about politics and we had a great time discovering where our agreements and disagreements were. Strongly held opinions don't have to be passionately held opinions, and it's probably better if they aren't. Everyone knows someone that they simply can't "talk to" about religion or politics, right? It doesn't make them a bad person, it just makes them someone you can't talk to. Compared to this Irishman there are people I am far more in agreement with who I couldn't possibly talk to because they get *upset*.

When I started on Usenet so long ago I'd get upset... not abusive or anything, just worked up you know? And I'd be able to talk about the issues I felt strongly about for a while and then have to take a few weeks break because it *wasn't good for me*. I'd go to bed at night and not be able to sleep because I was so emotionally agitated. I had to learn two things... first, that allowing the other person the last post wasn't admitting they were right, and second, I needed emotional detachment.

It has to *not* be about winning. You've got that right, Jay. Everyone makes stupid arguments from time to time and it's important to keep open that door to admit as much. Done right you don't even lose by admiting you are wrong.

Nor does the inability to defend a position mean that it's wrong. Some people are just not very good at defending what they know is true.

This also helped me very much to stop getting into unhealthy situations... I started to view the debates as debates. I could play or not play without penalty in my own mind. I saw them as opportunities to practice defending my positions, not as judgements on my positions.

Synova,That was a ... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:


That was a really good post. I particularly enjoyed this:

Nor does the inability to defend a position mean that it's wrong. Some people are just not very good at defending what they know is true.

God, who hasn't been there before? Any one who considers themselves a humble student of life surely has.

Wow I thought I was the onl... (Below threshold)

Wow I thought I was the only one who posted out of the side of my neck. That guy has some company.
You can abuse me if it makes you feel better, I post often without my brain in gear....

Has somebody given Tas a do... (Below threshold)

Has somebody given Tas a double-shot of progesterone in his sugar free vanilla non-fat decaf latte?

If you are going to blog, you need to be prepared to take some slings and arrows. Not everyone will be slavish in agreeing with your point of view (unless, of course, you are a Kossack). And if you base your post around the comparison of the president to a particular body part, then you should be prepared for others to take exception to that, and to make a like comparison if comments are enabled on your blog.

Tas is not named on the blog in question; like Jay Tea, for reasons known and unknown, he exists behind a pseudonym as a (very frequent) guest blogger. Therefore, someone calling him naughty names should not matter a whit to him. Neither should such namecalling get under your skin at all, as politics brings out some of the best (and worst) passions of us all.

Tas rightly diagnosed his problem - his inability to dialogue with anyone who disagrees with him in anything approaching civility - but his decision to retire from the field was cowardly, to say the least. All that would have been required on his part is a little bit of discretion and thought beforehand prior to hitting the "post" button, but evidently retiring from the field was the easier path to take.

The blogosphere will probably be the better for that, though.

Thank you Jay and Boyd, the... (Below threshold)

Thank you Jay and Boyd, the internet became a better place today. You made a difference!

I am deadly serious--no snark intended.

(Not to be confused with tas's buddy who also comments as "Mark")

Ariana Fallaci <a href="htt... (Below threshold)

Ariana Fallaci comments on passion.

Ad hominen attacks are not ... (Below threshold)

Ad hominen attacks are not a sign of passion. They are a sign of weakness and insecurity.

At the church I used to att... (Below threshold)

At the church I used to attend, the assistant pastor's big thing was "passion in the pulpit." Unfortunately, in his case, what this translated to, mostly, was "yelling."

He was so embarrassingly bad that he was removed from the preaching rotation.






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