Isn't that a good word? It's often interchanged with 'nice', but it's not really the same thing, is it? "Kind" seems to me to be more about doing for others than propping up the self. It's about putting yourself in another's shoes and doing/saying what is right for them. It also means overlooking the sillier things we each say and do, some of us on a daily basis *points to self*.
I've been thinking about this a lot since an interchange I had with someone on Twitter. The original Tweeter had some strong things to say about the culture of meanness that has grown out of and around non-professional blogger reviews. I'm sure anyone who follows books or authors online has seen one or more catty, non-helpful reviews, where the writer is more interested in scoring points off of a particular genre/author/type of publication than on reviewing the book in question. Or maybe it's simply a bad review; not everyone is going to love every book (HEADS UP: I almost never give five star reviews. EVER. And I trust them even less than I give them. A reviewer who LOVES everything is great for authors, but not very helpful for readers.) Then there is the inevitable back and forth between bloggers, readers, and authors, each accusing the other of being 'mean'. The Tweeter was concerned with people getting 'butthurt' over a bad review and crying foul.
I replied that an author might as well learn to take a bad review in stride or get out of the business. I also tossed off a comment that snark is childish on either side, and was surprised when the Tweeter disagreed. She thought snark (catty comments, etc) was okay at any stage of the game.
In the heat of the moment someone might say something slightly off-kilter. They might make a spelling or grammar mistake. They might speak/write in hyperbole that would make a gossip column writer blush. That doesn't make it okay to beat them over the head with their perceived or actual mistake. Even worse are those that use the bully pulpit of an online forum to bash an author (or reader, or reviewer, or editor) personally over a created work. Disagreement with someone or dislike of their work makes them neither an idiot or a 'sheep'; neither does it make the critic a wunderkind of refined taste. It just means you disagree. And being able to disagree without attack is a great signal that someone is an actual adult.
My mom once told me that being a gentleman or lady doesn't have anything to do with money; it has to do with making sure that those around you are comfortable. That doesn't mean that you can't ever disagree or take someone to task. It just means that you keep disagreements private and consider if what you're saying in any forum is helpful or enlightening, or if it's just noise over nothing.
Kindness costs nothing and means everything to a respectful society.
Speaking of kindness, a new twitter friend (Mike Lambson-Thanks!) tagged me with a Liebster Award and a challenge: 11 facts about me, 11 answered questions, and 11 questions for other bloggers. Here goes:
11 facts about me:
1) I read EVERYTHING. I'm not stuck on genre--a good book is a good book.
2) Applesauce makes me physically ill and has since I was a baby.
3) I learned to read when I was two, so I have no memory of learning.
4) No secret--I'm a dork. 7 year old son says I should have been on King of the Nerds because I would definitely win. DEFINITELY.
5) I once fell off of a trampoline in junior high and lost an entire day. The school didn't even call my parents. My husband says that might explain a lot of things...
6) I can't write without music.
7) Popcorn is my favorite food.
8) I have a soft spot for happily ever afters in books and movies (because I do really think that most things turn out for the best), but it has to be realistic or I turn into Annie Wilkes.
9) I have no sense of direction. I get lost all of the time, mostly because I'm usually lost in a story in my head & don't pay attention to where I'm going.
10) I cry all of the time over movies, books, and music, but almost never over real life. THERE I'm hard headed and practical.
11) I'm ridiculously loyal. Unless I'm given reason to regret it. And then watch out (lol).
Answers to 11 questions:
1. Who’s the most important person in your life and why?
My husband. We've been together for more that a quarter century, and at this point he knows me better than anyone.
2. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
3. Are you a little crazy?
No question :)
4. What’s the worst thing you’ve done?
Let my mouth run ahead of my brain and really hurt someone who didn't deserve it.
5. What’s the be
Four smart, kind, thoughtful kids.
6. Classical, rock, pop, country, or rap?
Um... all but rap? I'm most partial to singer/songwriter and old soul.
7. What are your thoughts on ghost writing?
Not crazy about it, unless it's not a secret.
8. How do you eat a lollipop?
9. Do you like little children?
10. Where would you hide treasure?
In my heart. Nowhere else is safe.
11. What is the absolute most important object in your life?
Object? Hm... first though is my iPod, but floss is right up there-HAHA! I have little boxes stashed in every room of the house & probably floss three times a day.
8 bloggers (and anyone else who cares to answer): How would y'all answer those questions?
Dee J. Kirkby
V. K. Ramsey