Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Blogging While Bothered

Blogging can be a great pressure relief valve. Rant and rave, foam on the keyboard, and spit out all the political frustrations we gather from newspapers, other blogs, and the media--nothing like it.

I rant and rave a lot online. I talk about things in ways I would not in public or in my home. I use my freedom of speech to huck a looey at politicians and political groups that annoy me the most. Then, I go on my merry way.

The problem is, if all you do is rant and rave instead of trying to find solutions or hold meaningful conversations, you're basically wasting your time. Then, readers might confuse your actual rational thought with ranting. This isn't useful either. People who perceive your every thought as a rant think you're a jerk.

I'm not half the jerk I sometimes come off as when I'm ranting. And some of my posts really are meaningful. I usually have good, researched reason for flipping a virtual bird at some political figure or other. But I admit....I have a temper. Most of it comes out online. Could be worse. It could come out on route 66. It doesn't.

Is it healthy to vent online? Well, as I've said, there are drawbacks. And even online, there must be limits. Obvioulsy, slurs against race, religion, gender preference, age, disability, etc. are not acceptable no matter how angry we get. Threats are also unacceptable. But good old fashioned ranting, well.....it's our right. No one says you have to read it.

Still, I have a certain amount of guilt about my online rants. I wish I wouldn't do it. But writing has ALWAYS been my outlet for everything. It's a matter of self-expression. Irritation and frustration are parts of us all, and individuals demonstrate their emotions in different ways. I'm not sure posting everything online is a good idea, but se la vie. I do it and obviously, I'm not the only one.

After reading this, I think I've decided that ranting is actually a genre unto itself. Good ranting can make you think and feel things you might not usually. Bad ranting just pisses people off. We probably should avoid reading that kind of ranting. I know I do because I don't need to be pissed off any more than I get with these political elements.

I think there should be some kind of icon for "rant." Newspapers and blogs should automatically flag venting-only comments as rants. I'm thinking a huge, open mouth with an inflamed tongue might be appropriate. Either that, or a melting ice cube--because that's what ranting really is: a meltdown. Toddlers do it all the time in malls. They just sit down and scream. Thankfully, Internet ranters tend to be quieter. And we don't block the entrance to Sears.

When I really start to rant, I know it's time for a computer break. I usually don't need that much time away, but a whole day away from blogs, news, and information overload is sometimes good for me.

That said, I have a break due.

The world will just have to do without my commentary for at least a few hours.

I am quite sure everyone will manage.
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