Re: Keybored Madness

William Bangs (wbbangs@U.WASHINGTON.EDU)
Sat, 18 Mar 1995 16:05:07 -0800

This hits the nail on the head; I suggest that all the militant
"Anti-RJ's" read it.

On Sat, 18 Mar 1995, Thomas W. Rimkus wrote:

> I would like to submit the following observations about a recent event on
> the list. Maybe this would better be fleshed out in a forum on sociology
> or psychology (maybe even psychiatry) but anyway, here it is.
> First, I would like to differentiate Robert Johnson, a real person whom I
> do not really know, from the "RJ" stereotype which emerged from our
> discussions, debates, and fistfights on the issue. Some might argue that
> this is not possible, but I would like to try.
> In an attempt to understand the RJ experience and evaluate our
> relationship to this new medium of impersonal electronic communication, I
> began to explore the possibility that there might not really be a need
> for the rules which we usually rely on to communicate face to face.
> Maybe we could all be tough enough to "say it like it is" and bedamned
> with the social niceties. As I was pondering this possibility, I got
> into a battle of concepts with someone on the list who did not see some
> issue the same as I. Others joined into the controversy in various ways
> and before I realized it, we were in an unsavory flame war. As I worked
> to respond to the attacks, one night I realized that not only was I
> becoming an RJ in the mind of others, I was becoming one in my own mind.
> The bounding rules of normal communication were not at work, and I was
> slipping farther and farther away from seeing the addressee as a person.
> The analytical frame of mind which I thought was dominant in this new way
> of dealing with an issue was giving ground to a mean spirit without my
> awareness at an alarming rate.
> A letter of kindness broke the spell and allowed me to see what I was
> doing.
> The point here is not that I was being hard hearted in my responses (or even
> whether I was right or wrong on the issues at hand). The point is that,
> because I was not being confronted with the clues normally given in a
> confrontation, I did not realize what was occuring. RJ never seemed to
> make that realization. Maybe it was because he never recieved the letter
> of kindness which I did. Maybe he is not supported by a loving family in
> a safe, clean, beautiful mountain valley like I am. Whatever, I was lucky
> to see what an impact on me the experiment was effecting.
> If you have not gone thru this experience, this all may seem trivial and
> with obvious results, but I was profoundly amazed at how quickly I
> unwittingly fell into the trap. This keyboard is a dangerous tool unless
> it is moderated with kindness, it will slip up and bite you.
> I hereby apologize to all offended by my comments and all bored by the
> content.
> Tom Rimkus
> Madison County
> Arkansas
> (where the mind is free to wander, and the deer are free to roam)

Ben Bangs

Do what's right, not what's easy!