Monday, March 25, 2013

Why I Write Essays On Controversial Topics

"While nonviolence only sometimes works in the immediate moment, it always works."
(Michael Nagler)

One of the reasons I wrote my essay on PyCon is because of a young hacker I've worked with.  He's a smart, funny, thoughtful person, and he was quite worked up about the PyCon incident.  He was convinced that Adria Richards was at fault, and that the community reaction was at least somewhat justified.

That's who I have in mind when I write about controversial topics--someone who is smart and kind, but just happens to hold a different point of view.  That's why I take the time to write thorough and nuanced essays, and that's why I do my best to avoid inflammatory language and self-righteous outrage.

After I finished my essay, I emailed him the link.

I saw him today, and the first thing he said was, "I read your essay.  I wanted to stay angry, but you were too darn reasonable and logical.  Now it's almost like I'm angry because I don't have a good reason to be angry."

That's why I write.

Because I believe that people are capable of deeper understanding and greater compassion, with just a little help.