- Posted by Johanna on April 14, 2006 at 10:37 am
- Category: Meta
This is one of those life-lesson stories that will seem predictable to those of you who’ve experienced something similar, and those who haven’t may find boring, but I’m going to share it anyway.
If you have a long online memory, you may recall something of a blowup between Alan David Doane and myself six years ago. I was writing a column called “The Spinner Rack” (of which only one installment ever appeared) for whatever the latest version of Comic Book Galaxy was at that time. On the contributor mailing list, Alan made a comment insulting Christians I took offense to, and when he wouldn’t apologize, I quit. (Here’s me being dramatic about it on Usenet, resulting in a thread of over 1300 posts, and Alan’s response, continuing in kind. It’s not recommended reading; most of it winds up being about history and religion, not comics, and no one changes anyone’s mind.)
Like most situations of its sort, it was heated at the moment and eventually forgotten. I don’t remember how long it took, but soon enough Alan and I were speaking again. We’ve never been close friends, but we email occasionally, and I certainly don’t bear a grudge.
Why am I bringing all of this up? Because Alan did, in a response to my post against religious intolerance. He makes the point that, surprise, we all grow up and learn more shades of grey. (A lesson reinforced when I read some of those threads from 2000 I linked to above. I miss “hanging out” online with lots of those people, but all of us said stupid things at one point, a feeling I will probably have about this type of post after another six years passes.) Back then, I objected to seeing all Christians lumped into one group; now, I object to the people who proudly claim the name without living the actions and use their creed to bludgeon others.
Like Alan, I also wonder what to call these people online who are a key part of my life. Are they friends if you’ve never met them and only know their words, not even their faces? Are they acquaintances if you’ve shared (what you hope are) deep thoughts with them and known them for over a decade? It’s a puzzlement.
While I’m wallowing in history, here’s another of my claims to internet infamy: I’m the person who got Warren Ellis online. While I was working as DC’s webmaster, I would set up online AOL chats with various guests as part of regular programming. (I managed over 12 hours of live chats a week!) We would offer guests the option of using a guest account or helping them set up their own. Ellis chose the latter, but AOL was having big problems with whatever billing method he was trying to use from the UK. I kept after them, resulting in his first email account. That’s my small contribution to his online empire of today.