The value of neutrality
I can be as sarcastic as the next person.
In fact, I can be devastating and clever (so I’m told). I had to realize that at one point…I was quite interested in a real group called “Sarcastics Anonymous”. I explained to our now adult kid that they (who can do what I can do) basically have a super power. We can reduce people to a blob of quivering protoplasm with a cutting comment…so you can only use the power for good. 😉
I think it comes, in part, from being empathetic. If you don’t understand people, if you can’t get a sense of how they (and the other people around you) are feeling, you won’t come up with that exact point which cuts the deepest.
I can be sarcastic…but I’m not.
Not in public.
Not to that person.
Not to other people who know that person.
I will use self-effacing humor, but I won’t take someone else’s face. 😉
The only time I tend to do it now is when my Significant Other and I are watching competition TV…and then it’s just for fun, and won’t go beyond that room.
That’s not to say that I don’t love a witty remark, even at the expense of someone else. It may combine snark and sarcasm…let’s call it “snarcasm”.
I was reading a summary of an inexpensive movie with dinosaurs a long time ago, and have always remembered their reference to the characters encountering “plasticasauruses”.
That said, I always especially love opinion-free reference works.
That doesn’t mean I always want it to be what is sometimes called a “seed catalog”: a database before databases were electronic. I like those, too, but my perfect reference works objectively gives me context…relates what I’m reading to other things. For example, if I’m reading about an author who never had a successful book after the one being covered, that’s good context. That can be done without being judgmental. If we base it on sales, it’s objective.
This came up recently when I wrote about an amazing sale in the USA Kindle store:
The sale, by the way, is not only ongoing, it has expanded…it’s now over 1400 titles, and I’m buying more. 🙂
Some of my favorite p-books (paperbooks) in my library are reference works: Walt Lee’s Reference Guide to Fantastic Films; Vincent Terrace TV reference books (some are in this sale…others are not part of the sale); and some Jeff Rovin books (for example, on superheroes and supervillains).
Certainly, the first two are really objective…more the seed catalog type.
When I’m reading some of the ones I got on this sale, they are quite critical and opinionated.
Again, I can like that. Clever writing, labeled as opinion, is fine. I don’t extend that to when you criticize the fans of the material, but I’m more than happy to hear your opinion of something.
However, I just wanted to say that I like neutral references as well.
I’ve decided with
not to put in my own opinions there. I will link to articles I write about the books/TV shows/movies and so on that you can get to through TMCGTT, but I wanted the timeline itself to not be about my opinions of the works. I’m hoping comments can eventually be made there by other people…but I want it to have a neutral stance.
Sure, there is unavoidable bias on display in what gets chosen for it, but that seems different.
I think, though, I’m seeing fewer neutral works…maybe the ability to do the research yourself instantly on the internet is making that sort of reference work seem to have less value.
Well, that’s just my opinion about writing without opinions! What do you think? Feel free to tell me and my readers by commenting on this post.
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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.