Today I read a post written by one of my favorite bloggers. She’s a talented writer, a tad irreverent, and she’s funny. I must say, though, she does rather intimidate me a bit. She’s a hiker, a birder, and she’s very conscious of environmental matters. I bet she never opts for plastic in Wal-mart. Heck, I bet she never goes to Wal-mart.
Today her topic today was the way some of us use the anonymity of the internet to say “mean” things about people. She right, I suppose. I myself have been known to get a little snarky and self-righteous. But she made me think.
Is it okay if I write that someone should disable the word processing program of Arthur Wright , well-known author, so that he never writes another stinko novel? Is that mean? If I say, “In my opinion, Mr. Arthur Wright is a hack,” does the “imo” mitigate my mean remark . If I rant about really bad drivers, salesclerks who are just plain nasty, and office staffs what don’t seem to know their butts from their elbows, is that mean? Does “In my opinion shave a little of the meanness away?
In the South, ladies (they do this more than men) can say the most terrible things about people. For instance, “She’s as ugly as a mud fence.” Or there is also the double barrel shot,—“She’s as ugly as a mud fence. She looks just like her mama.” Two mean things for the price of one. You can get away with saying mean things about people without looking like a bad person. All you have to do is add one simple phrase to mitigate the insult. “She’s as ugly as a mud fence, bless her heart (sigh)”. See? You’re a loving, caring, compassionate person.
I think “In my opinion” falls into that same category. I’m going to use it more often. Bless my heart (sigh).
Note: I made up the name “Arthur Wright” as a play on words. I don’t want any real Arthur Wrights to think I’m being mean.