Monday, September 19, 2011

The Unfollowing


In about five minutes I will have un-followed my first “friend.”


Why does it bother me?

In truth, it’s not the unfollowing that bothers me. I only knew him as well as I could know anyone with whom I exchanged workshop critiques over a 3-week summer writer’s workshop. Which is to say I knew him by words and by sight—which does not, as some might believe, mean I knew his insights, or lack thereof.

I did not know his politics.  I did not know his racial barometer, his insecurities.  Perhaps I don’t actually endeavor to know anyone that well. In the past, I had at best glanced at his updates. But now that either I have more time or he does, his updates appear to have become more frantic and more frequent. I find myself shocked by their chantish quality, their lack of depth, their lack of respect of my time.

In all honesty, what I remember best about him that summer is his overly long workshop piece laden with slightly-offensive assumptions of camaraderie and the presumption that I had the time to read it. That is what I find bothersome about following, or the implications of my following him: the presumption of shared beliefs.

It should be enough for me to quietly select unfollow and leave him to wonder why I would do such a thing.  Sadly, it is not.  It’s not even enough for me to craft an email telling him why.  I expect he would write something about the Fifth Amendment.  But, since his right to write his racist views does not infringe upon my right not read it, I will instead unfollow him and let the words fall will they may. 

Originally Posted: April 16, 2009

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