Let me start by saying that I’m not actually going to write about the things I don’t want to write about. That’s recursive in a way that hurts my brain. It violates the basic thesis statement. Instead I want to discuss why there are things I’d prefer not to write about.
There are topics that I’d never shut up about. That would be one-note and off-putting. It’s easier to not start. I know that makes me sound like I have OCD or something, but that’s not it. At this moment in history, with politics being so divisive and everyone in a high state of agitation, it’s far too easy to get swept up in the despicable zeitgeist. This is also why I avoid social media and the news as much as possible. No one needs another old man yelling at the metaphorical clouds.
There are topics that attract negative attention in various forms. At best, people start performing mental health checks on me because they don’t understand how someone can be so passionate about something they find so trivial. At worst, the haters come out in force and engage in odious behavior because they disagree with you. Not only do I not have time for that, it’s not my job to teach people right from wrong. I cannot tell you why you should care about other people. If you weren’t raised right, there’s nothing I can say in 500 words or less that’s going to change your mind.
The part of my brain wired for business and productivity always does a cost/benefit analysis on these sorts of topics. If I write this, will it make a difference? Is this post going to add more noise, or can it rise to the level of meaningful signal? While it’s sometimes satisfying just to vent, and it can be helpful to get things out of your system so you can move on, you have to consider the aftermath. When I do choose to write about those sorts of topics — selectively — I do so in HUBRIS: The Journal of Cultural Horror. There’s no comments section in a zine. I don’t have to deal with concern trolls, Twitter terrorists, and other malignant dogmatists.
This is also why I’m not an active participant in the tabletop roleplaying hobby, or modern geekdom in general. That’s where I earn my living, but I try to stick to the shadows. My name isn’t even on the cover of my books — the company name is, to disperse attention away from myself and toward a legal fiction. It’s like creating in a vacuum, and I do feel out of touch sometimes, but it’s the only way I can create anymore. I could get sucked into debates about the larger cultural and political issues reflected in pop culture, but, well, see everything I’ve written in the paragraphs above. I could be creating something instead of wading up to my neck in a sea of festering negativity, toxic people, and wasted time.
It’s resisting the urge to write about these things that’s the hardest. Up with manners, kindness, and critical thinking! Down with rudeness, cruelty, and willful ignorance! I do care about issue, and have a deep longing for civil discourse and intelligent discussion around those topics. Experience has shown me that I’m not likely to get it.