"I put down my weapon."
That's what the speaker at my 12-step meeting said tonight. She meant it literally. Before she surrendered and entered rehab she gave her mother the knife she always had carried with her. Then, several members, the creative people we are, chimed in with how they also had put down their weapons of choice. Those ranged from indifference to running from pain.
Back when blogging was new, so many of us high-verbals used the weapon of snark. We had done our "Boston Legal" and "Court TV," so we kept within the letter of the law. When we tore people and institutions to shreds, it was framed as opining, not slandering.
Now, more and more of us are having that internal paradigm shift. It's remorse. Whatever possessed us? That's exactly what preoccupied me during the meeting.
Of course, part of it was a "power trip," the term we Baby Boomers used during the counterculture to describe what our enemies in the establishment were on. We didn't have to be a full-time writer on THE NEW YORK TIMES or THE WALL STREET JOURNAL to be heard. And it wasn't only on our own sites. We snarked as guest columnists on AOL [who hasn't written for AOL].
The rest of the motivations were likely idiosyncratic. Each of us had our own darkness which burst forth in links and free clip art from Microsoft and Dreamstime. For me, it was unfinished rage. Funny, but blogging served as the ultimate therapist and spiritual guru. Now, on the other side of it, I wonder why, as what is normal on "Breaking Bad," I wasn't gunned down when I left my apartment building. Blogging let us break open to our full shadow side.
Absolution would be so comforting. That's the pull force of Roman Catholicism. We go into the confessional, say "Father, forgive me for I have sinned," and the priest blesses us, telling us "sin no more, my child."