I know that it is always the case that you go through a stage in your life where you think that The Man is trying to keep you down. There have been wonderful works of art produced and profound ideas resulting from this implied tyranny over ideas. We would have not had William Blake's poetic rebellion, complete with drawings for those who could only look at pictures and not understand the words, had he not felt the religion of his day was oppressing him. We would have missed Albrecht Durer's art had he not felt that the standard paintings of his day were styled in a way that confused the whole idea of how depth perception should be used.

None of these folks who advanced our culture felt the need to tell us exactly into what sort of linen they chose to spill their glee juice. They were human with human needs and desires, but things such as this were considered off limits for public discussion. For a good reason.

So E2 is a place that can hold as much data as can be produced by as many monkeys with typewriters can pump out in as many days as they are alive. My house could hold bags full of human waste, fingernail clippings, urine, feces, menstrual blood, boogers, spit, and splooge for all of my family's life, I suppose. (If we cleaned out the attic.) And somehow I am to understand that collecting all of this and storing it for the next family that lives here would somehow help them to understand us and who we really were, on some higher level? I suspect that they would not only think we were absolutely insane, but that the real estate agent might have a hard time closing the deal.

I am not sure about whether E2 is actually a community or not, even though there are some wonderful thoughts along those lines scattered about in the data base. This has been covered before, again and again. "Earn Your Bullshit" used to be one of my favorite places to refer folks for dem bones' attitude about all of this. I think the point is this:

Folks who have found a home here have either regretted giving out TMI and had it removed, or they learned early on that there was no need for telling it all. So the long-time users live in a house which happily invites anyone in to share their stories and wisdom and humor and specialized knowledge. And some of those folks who will not actually take up residence in the house will spill grape juice (or worse) on the carpet and expect others to not only clean it up, but to actually thank them for doing so?

I'm sorry, but this makes no sense to me.


* * * *

If you took exception to the word shame in the title, or otherwise misunderstood what I was trying to say here, I wish you'd look at ymelup's w/u down there. These are the sorts of new noders whom you might just have run off with this sort of nonsense, had they not been stronger. Now, that would be a shame.

Dannye's writeup on the belief that some things aren't appropriate for public discussion doesn't, to me, have anything to do with shame. I am completely not ashamed of my sex life, yet I don't talk about it in much detail except to friends I know won't consider it too much information. I am ashamed of some things in the past I've done, like cheating on Gamaliel when we were dating (just to pick the quickest-to-explain example) and yet I will talk about those things because of the effects of confession (one cannot repent without admitting to oneself (guilt) and others (shame) that one has done wrong -- can you tell I was raised Catholic?) and to help others find a better path to avoid the consequences I faced.

So, I believe that shame is a good thing when felt over truly immoral actions -- murder, theft, breaking one's promises (such as monogamy, if such a promise has been made). It's separate but equal in power to guilt as a deterrent of repeating those actions, and may serve as a warning to others. However, the TMI phenomenon has nothing to do with shame; the people giving out too much information on E2 usually haven't done anything they are or should be ashamed of.


Clarification after reading dannye's addition and ymelup's writeup -- trying to shame people for doing writeups you don't approve of is the equivalent of teenagers trying to shame one of their peers for dressing differently. Personally, I thought Where do I come when I masturbate?, though the node title was badly phrased, was a fascinating trove of information that taught me new things I hadn't known, even though I have been privileged to watch a couple of my boyfriends masturbate during our relationships. It certainly isn't much of a getting-to-know-you node if I can remember all the possibilities that were suggested without having any memory of who added ideas to it. Myself, I'd be very disappointed if "people will, later on, delete {their writeups} that they think are so cool now" in that node, because it is useful and interesting information that no one should be ashamed of contributing.
As long as my name’s been tossed into the discussion here, I might as well throw in my two cents too.

I do think that a lot of people need a good healthy dose of shame in their lives. When I get papers chock full of misspellings, grammatical errors, and just plain idiocy, I want to scream at them "Aren’t you embarrassed by this astounding display of stupidity? Don’t you take any pride in your work? Don’t you have any shame?" Once, I got a paper with the word "the" misspelled throughout. I am not making this up. What do you do with those kind of people?

But many conservatives (and daynne, I know you’re a conservative, but I have no idea if you believe this or not, so these comments aren’t directed at you) want to bring back guilt and shame as a sort of bizarre social engineering, longing for the glory days of The Scarlet Letter. Teenage pregnancy? Single mothers? No need for health care, welfare, food stamps, college assistance, social workers, or sex education! Let’s ostracize them! That’ll fix our social problems right up! Why don’t we bring back stoning while we’re at it?

You brought up Blake. In spirit, William Blake isn’t that different than William S. Burroughs. If we drew an arbitrary line of taste between the two men, however, we’d jettison a hell of a lot of art. The main difference, in my mind, between Blake and Burroughs is that Blake had 200 years to infiltrate Western culture. Well, that and all the gay sex…

True, I’d be naïve to think there isn’t a difference here in terms of what offends people. Blake didn’t have talking assholes or giant dildos in his work. But back in the day, Blake offended. And so did Walt Whitman, Edouard Manet, Pablo Picasso, D.H.Lawrence, James Joyce… And art keeps pushing the envelope, as it should. Art should challenge and shock and offend, and if it doesn’t, it’s not doing its job. Take Nicholson Baker’s fairly recent novel Vox. Gasp! An entire novel about phone sex! The culture is in the toilet! But if you actually read the novel, it’s a powerful and important work, and why should we be denied that because of some arbitrary definition of taste?

I agree that sometimes people share far, far too much. But different people draw the lines in different places, and I don’t see that as a bad thing. I don’t node about certain things, such as – oh, I don’t know, how about my sex life? – but if other people do, that’s fine with me. If I don’t want to read it, I just won’t, and occasionally I’ll downvote something especially repulsive.

Segnbora-t (who was noding lesbian porn actresses when daynne posted his original WU, which I thought was hysterical), for example, feels differently about sharing elements of her sex life. I disagree with her approach, but I don’t think she’s "wrong" or should feel guilt or shame over it. We’re just different people, that’s all, with different approaches to certain things. I don’t think we should be drawing lines in the sand over such silly things. Too much human angst and energy has been spent agonizing over arbitary rules –cough- Catholic school –cough- during our time on this mudball.
As I stated in the chatterbox, I don't believe a community can have shame. Shame is based entirely on one's personal beliefs about what is right and wrong. Who decides what is shameful on E2? Well, I'd say the gods do, and their opinion is about all that matters. For the rest of us, we have our own limits, beliefs, and ideas, and there is no way everyone is going to agree on what one should be ashamed of, so I think this whole discussion is pointless.

I myself think there are a lot of really stupid social "rules" that people live by. One of these is not talking about our sexuality. How many times have you ever heard someone in real life say "I masturbate!"? I have never. Why is it bad? Well, because other people don't want to hear it because they believe it is socially unacceptable to discuss. Fine, they can feel that way, and I will respect their desire not to hear it.

In the case of the node in question, a topic was brought up and a discussion ensued. The biggest issue I see with this is that it's probably a GTKYN. But as for the content, well, I'm afraid I don't see the problem. No one was forced to read it. It was an honest discussion by several people, which I also thought was quite funny. I am not ashamed, and I see no reason to be ashamed of being honest.

I personally think we are all a lot better off being open about our sexuality. I realize that some people are not comfortable with this, which is why I would never force someone to listen and instead I would only discuss it with others who are comfortable with it. Now, all I can say is that if you go to a node called Where do I come when I masturbate?, well, what do you think it's going to say? If you encountered someone on the street discussing this, you'd walk away. You can do the same thing on E2.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm not ashamed of any writeup that I've done here. If someone is ashamed for me, that is their right. If the editors are ashamed of my writeups, they'll get nuked. Thus is life. But I don't believe there is such a thing as too much information. There is information that is not pleasant, indeed. There is information that some may not want to hear as well. But that is life too.

Anyone wonder why this discussion never takes place over nodes about women nearly drowning while masturbating?

Go ahead, vote it down, you know you want to.

It seems to me that there are two concepts of shame at work here. The two concepts are: shame in just writing crap nodes, and shame in talking about indecency.

If you read dannye's original w/u, he's clearly talking about the former. My understanding of what he is saying is not that he cares about people discussing masturbation on E2. Rather (as indicated by his reference to Earn Your Bullshit), he is talking about the general lack of care for the quality of the information being stored in E2. There seems to be some E2 users who think their every thought and experience is worth noding; with no regard to quality and no concept of noding for the ages. What I believe dannye is saying is: Have these people no shame? Don't they care about having these crappy nodes to their name? Don't they worry about their reputation as quality noders?

The issue of shame in the sense of disgust from discussing indecency is not what I think dannye was talking about. Look at some of his nodes ... things like Everybody loves sluts.

I wholeheartedly agree with dannye's sentiments with regards to the first sense of shame. I also feel that some level of the second sense of shame is important to E2; and that many people will, later on, delete the nodes that they think are so cool now. Experience brings with it humility, and I hope that soon, some of the two cents' worth noders will realize that not every word they type is worth preserving.

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