Misunderstandings Or Real Attacks?

Posted on December 13th, 2005 @ 22:34
Filed Under Internet, Writing | 6 Comments

I’m pondering this matter today, after having considered a discussion I’ve had (well, started, too) on a forum in the past few days.The thread itself turned out in an unexpected way. I was ready to wake up to a flood of insults and to an angry mob flaming me for my “evil” views (which all readers here know of: I don’t want children, and am tired of seeing certain people trying to persuade me into it); instead, I discovered that a place I thought ridden with angst and immaturity was in fact also home to a good deal of sensible people respecting others’ opinions.Save for one.It started with an innocent wording of mine—somewhere in my original post, I mentioned that I’m glad my parents don’t give me flak for my choices, which is great, but that even if they were to do so, they wouldn’t have a say in my reproductive life (mark the emphasis here). Nobody else picked on this, except one poster, who, quoting the italicized words hereabove, wrote an answer along the lines of “yes, because God forbids anyone disagrees with you. People can have an opinion, but only if it meets yours.”.From this point onward, I was quite hesitant to answer, and quite puzzled as well. What if I, not being a native English speaker, had inadvertantly used a wrong expression, or worded my sentence in a wrong way? What if I was to lash out at someone who was simply being sarcastic? What if it was my fault? The ways of the Web can be very weird, and very narrow to tread on. I’m not for flamewars, and I’m often afraid to apear as angry or offending, just out of ignorance of the language.I then talked the matter over with a few other people (I didn’t give names nor links), and it turns out that everybody thought the same as me: that this person was being insulting, and not sarcastic (a handful of others posters had agreed with me in the thread, and their answers were such ones: a sarcastif “of course, we all dream of having people telling us what to do”; this explains why I had been wondering about it). Later on, after an answer that I voluntarily left short and way less aggressive than it could have been, the conversation went on. As it stands now, this person is understanding my “they have no say in…” as “I’m a total ungrateful brat who’s throwing my parents out of my life without flinching” (not the exact wording, but in a nutshell, it’s what it meant).Once again, I’m left wondering. Are the both of us speaking the same language? “Having a say in” doesn’t mean “having the right to my opinions”, right? It’s stronger than that, much stronger. Having an opinion is when I tell a friend “you know, I’ve had so many problems with Dell, you can buy one of their laptops if you want, but I’m just letting you know that if you happen to have a problem with it, it might be hell”. Having a say in it is when I’m putting in half the money to buy said laptop, and tell my friend “no way, I’m not giving one cent for something of this brand, if you want a Dell, you’ll have to pay for it all by yourself.Am I wrong or not?Sometimes, not being a native speaker feels very odd and a real problem. And then I wonder why I’m always the one left feeling guilty or responsible, when I can probably speak English better than some of the natives.The ways of the Web are, indeed, very mysterious.Y Tags: | | | |


6 Responses to “Misunderstandings Or Real Attacks?”

  1. Benjamin Solah on December 14th, 2005 1:03 pm

    The person might be some begrudged parent because his or her son or daughter didn’t live up to his or her exact expectation ;)

  2. Yzabel on December 14th, 2005 5:22 pm

    Aha, perhaps, although I think the user is still young enough to not have an “older” child not living to their expectations.Or it’s simply someone who wanted to pick on a child free person for not making children part of her life. (It happens… too often.)

  3. Karen Lee Field on December 15th, 2005 3:19 am

    Unlike you, I gave in to pressure. I didn’t want children but had them because “it was my duty”. Now, I would tell anyone who told me that to go jump, but back then…Yzabel, you’re right. Your parents don’t “have a say” and the person who’s having a go at you might be angry at themselves because they let themselves be talked into a situation they didn’t want. Or, they might just be bad tempered. Ignore them. You have no reason to feel bad.I commend you. It’s your life, do what you want with it.PS Don’t get me wrong, I love my children.

  4. Yzabel on December 15th, 2005 6:29 am

    Karen, I think it takes quite some courage and honesty to admit that (and no worries, I won’t get you wrong on this, my own mother admitted something quite similar a few months ago ;) ).Society expects people to be all giddy about it, yet I prefer a person honestly says that she loves her kids, but it sure wasn’t easy everyday, rather than one who plasters a false smile on her face and tries to convince me that it’s the most wonderful thing in the world when herself doesn’t believe in it 100%. (And there’s nothing wrong with that in my opinion. Nobody’s perfect, and as individuals, well, we’re all prone to our mood swings, days with and days without, and so on…)

  5. Elvira Black on December 16th, 2005 2:46 am

    In the US, we’re having quite a rough time with the concept of reproductive rights. Abortion is under seige by the Conservative right, and some pharmacists are actually refusing to fill birth control prescriptions.I say to those people who seem to think women don’t have the right to decide when and whether to have children: howsabout you take on all the abandoned, abused, neglected, and unwanted children who are the sad product of this Neanderthal way of thinking?

  6. Yzabel on December 16th, 2005 9:47 pm

    Sadly, it seems that for lots of these people, the children’s fate is none of their concern anymore once they’re out of the womb. Or at least, their ways of reacting and saying “but this is not the point we were discussing” tells it so. :/

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