Yesterday, I posted a blog about meeting television personality George Stroumboulopoulos at CBC studios (Read full post here).
My interview was framed with admiration for Stroumboulopoulos, and perhaps came across as gushing. I received a few comments on this post, but one particular commentator’s thoughts caught my attention. His name was Allan Sorensen, and he passionately disagreed with my idolization of George. In particular, he disliked my claim that Strombo was responsible for building an empire.
Sorensen’s initial comment was well-written and informed, although he called me some names and spoke to me in a demeaning tone. I replied to his comment, appealing to his intelligence, and seriously asked for his opinion. I also asked if he could refrain from using hateful language.
Sorensen replied to my comment with something I value: rationality. He backed up his claim with evidence—lots of it. He spoke to me seriously, and he presented his opinion logically rather than hatefully. He did not use names and no longer sounded like an asshole.
If you read the full debate, Sorensen makes valid points against my opinion of Strombo as a character deserving of admiration. Sorensen gave me information I wasn’t aware of, and affected my opinion. After reading all of his supporting evidence, I reconsidered my approach to Strombo and seriously entertained Sorensen’s argument that I’m too quick to admire.
I’m always grateful when people engage with me on my blog: whether they agree with me or not, I want discussion—I want social conversation. My blog is a space where I stake my claims: obviously, there is less at stake if I say a coffee shop is really great than if I say we should admire someone. One of my readers strongly disagreed with my opinion, and I thank him for sharing his thoughts and opinions (Namaste, my friend). Lady Medusa isn’t afraid of being wrong; she aims to stimulate productive conversation.
My debate with Sorensen exemplifies the need for serious digital discourse. Lady Medusa seeks to create a space for social conversation. As the author of this site, I’m not saying my opinion is right, I’m simply voicing it. After voicing this opinion, I’m accountable for it, and it’s my job to defend my opinion should anybody call me out on it, or ask me to further explain it.
What’s interesting to me is how the debate evolved. At one point, I’d asked Sorensen to stop his name-calling and seriously speak to me, and he did. Only then was I capable of hearing him and entertaining his opinion.I think the whole situation is a great paradigm for how we ought to be using digital media to converse with one another—or better yet, how we ought to converse with one another in general.
All it took was a little open-mindedness on my part and some willingness to engage on Sorensen’s part, and voilà: what could have been a name-calling contest turned into a productive conversation about Canadian broadcasting and the nature of admiration and fanship in popular media.
Thanks you, Allan Sorensen, for engaging with Lady Medusa, and please, don’t hesitate to disagree again.