Did anything on pen ever change your opinion or behavior?
Reading through some of the forum posts from 21 years ago recently filled me with nostalgia again. Which is always dangerous. While a nice escape, nostalgia can, sometimes, be a disease.
But anyway. While reading I realized that I was both in awe of how much creativity I had, but also ashamed about how shitty some of the things I said was. Which made me wonder what type of things changed my mind.
From there I thought about the old "Do you fold or crumple when you wipe your ass" debate we had that went like 20 pages. I think it even had a few discussions on if you stood up or just lifted a cheek to wipe. I have to admit... that forum thread absolutely made me change how I wiped my ass.
So, did any discussion on Pen ever change your opinion? Did anything here ever change your behavior outside of Pen? Or even how you presented things?
I do remember one instance very early that immediately made me change a few ways I presented and thought about things.
A main page post I wrote very early on, February 2001. I had told a story about how a very flamboyant man was heavily joke-flirting with me while getting me to convert change to bills while I was working in the gas-station. I mentioned how that made me feel, and how the guy thought it was hilarious and doubled down when I looked and sounded uncomfortable with it. Rather than my normal self-deprecating fare, I had used the word "shrieking" and "flamer" and was not complimentary of the dude. I was pretty mad about the experience, and should have waited a few days to write about it, if at all.
Well, that post actually generated "fan-mail"
Christ, I got like a dozen emails about it, including a couple of folks sharing their own stories with me. But the thing about those stories... not a goddamn one could be published without heavy editing. One story was literally how a dude was out drinking and beat the shit out of a guy that dared flirt with him, and there was no way I was touching that shit. I remember thinking "I don't wish harm on anyone, I was just venting!"
Yeah. Well. Now I had a fucking following that hated gay people and were happy to share their stories about it.
So... how did I handle it at the time?
Well... I didn't.
Well, I guess I self censored a bit more. Shared the emails with a few people expressing exasperation. I sometimes waited before publishing things after that.
Also I guess I doubled down on the jokes about how Mightymon really liked goats. Goddamn he just couldn't quit talking about how goats had square pupils, and also how they filled him with uncontrollable lust.
This post pre-dated my joining Pen, and I can't say what my reaction at the time would have been, then. My first reaction now is to think, here is a man experiencing, for one time, what women experience when creepy men aggressively hit on them. I don't know if that's an insight I would have had twenty years ago.
Funny enough, the title of the post was "Now I know how the women in bars feel"
But yeah, definitely not the message the emailers took from it.
I learned why dogs might wear socks.
I used to think a lot like Bill. Then I moved out of my hick town and actually met black people.
You know... Now that you mention it, so did I. So did I.
The 100% totally worthless valuation of BitCoin.
If I recall correctly, I think I learned it from you.
I learned it early. I believe I asked eod. There were early references to socks on dogs here going back to when I first joined up.
Its like the stock market, but completely offsetting any gains we get from renewables!
I now think it's ok to ask women to show their tits, because apparently that shit actually works sometimes
i learned a ton of shit on pen! i learned literally everything i know about internet decorum on pen, for better or worse. on the upside, i learned a lot about why you should be careful about what you share online, even shit you don't think is relevant, interesting or particularly specific to you; i learned how passionate people are about unpopular opinions, some of which they wouldn't feel free to express in any other place. i learned early on how social hierarchies actually work in online spaces, and what that says about offline spaces. i know what a meme is, now. i kinda know why a meme is. etc etc. on the downside, pen definitely prepped me for the big reveal of humanity's misogynistic, racist approach to sharing this planet (or not, as it falls)--but again, on the upside, it also showed me discourse in action. 'not all men,' but really. in real time. a lot of the political threads on pen are more interesting and thoughtfully rendered than books written by luminaries on the same subjects.
but also, y'all are just fucking funny. just a bunch of funny motherfuckers.