During spring break last year, Chris and I discovered the quirky, offbeat YA author, Andrew Smith. His book, Grasshopper Jungle, kept us company on our vacation, and when I heard it was named as one of the 2015 Printz Honor Book, I was thrilled. I have since read a few of his other books, and I find his writing to be bizarre and wondrous.
Yesterday, while perusing my Twitter feed I noticed several of my Nerdy Book Club friends posting comments about a controversial storm brewing on social media. Attempting to understand what had upset everyone, I visited Terri Lesesne's blog to get the back story, and then I read the Vice interview and subsequent article. My initial reactions included confusion, disappointment, and discomfort. Had his response to a simple interview question really warranted such vitriol and nastiness?
All of this highly charged discourse, got me to thinking about Dr. Brené Brown 's research on shame and vulnerability. Years ago, she started a movement called Free Range Social Media, and after a brief Google search this morning, I'm wondering why her work has been removed. The part about "No Cruelty" captured my interest the most, and I think all Americans would benefit from a crash course in how to disagree respectfully.
Ultimately, I think we may be having the wrong conversation. As she explains in her famous TED talk, many of the folks in this discussion are discharging their pain and discomfort through blame and finger pointing. Learning to listen and avoiding certainty will be the challenge of our existence. Until we can be honest about hard topics like these, malicious, narrow-minded, and cruel comments will continue. I look forward to a day when civil discourse can be achieved.