it is weird or something i got an ask a few days
December 4, 2012
it is weird (or something) I got an ask a few days ago asking about whether or not it is simply okay to observe or read conversations posted on tumblr or other public type spaces…
i can’t remember exactly what I said, but I know that I mentioned that I don’t really read conversations on stuff that doesn’t exactly concern me, or are really about specific communities. I mentioned, as an example, that I rarely read the conversations i see about Black hair (and, for a really current example, the general discussion about AAVE happening right now).
Now… It isn’t that I lack curiousity or anything. Or that I don’t like learning new things about stuff I don’t have direct experiences. But rather there are two things happening here:
- Some conversations aren’t for me. Remember gondoleia’s metaphor of the restaurant table? Looking on some of these conversations is akin to sitting at the table *beside* the group of people and listening into their conversation. Sure. If they are speaking loud enough, you aren’t really doing anything wrong.
But… I remember reading an article about the Japanese notion of privacy (maybe a bit antiquated these days). The article discussed how, because of rice paper walls, Japanese privacy was of the type that you pretended not to hear or willfully didn’t hear/forgot conversations you were fully capable of hearing. This is basically the approach I take on tumblr about certain things.
Why? Well… I mostly follow people’s personal blogs. Each blogs is that person’s personal (and hopeful) safe space. If a group of these people come together to talk about some shared experience, this space is still safe. Or it should be, ideally. And. Well. I just don’t really need to know some thing, yeah?
- My time is limited. I really do have a great deal of curiousity. Like a shitton. I love learning.
But… if anything, my time as a (former) scholar/philosopher taught me that you really do have to ration your time. You can only spend a certain amount of time learning and consuming information. It is literally impossible to know everything.
With point 1 in mind… there is an extra incentive to simply skip over conversations that aren’t for me to ration my time and energy. It is really just more efficient. And it isn’t even like I don’t learn *anything*.
(for example, while I don’t really read many of the Black hair conversations I’ve learned: 1. Don’t touch unless you have consent – should go without saying but often doesn’t; 2. it is a deeply personal issue for many Black people; 3. it is also a political issue)
What more do I need to know?