Writer’s Block

So part of my self-improvement bid is a return to this blogging thing. It doesn’t really do a lot to help me in life, writing five hundred words of introspection every week, but it makes me feel better for some reason. Now I’m up to the second post of January, however, I suddenly find myself at a loss. Back when I was in university, it felt like I had lots of things to write about, lots of things happening in the week around me to fill my quota of blog space. I used to write about things that happened to me personally, my political thoughts, and all sorts of other musings on life. And I wonder what’s changed that I can’t seem to pluck anything out right now.

Maybe nothing has changed. I’ve blogged so sporadically in the last two years that I could simply be out of the habit. Or maybe there’s a combination of factors making me hold back. For one thing, before facebook took off, I used to get my readers through networking among other blogs and attracting the curious through my comments. Nowadays, I know the vast majority of my readers personally. And that means that the reverse angle – that I don’t feel as though I want to tell stories about my friends for fear of later controversy. Perhaps I’m just a coward.

So there’s the political angle, I suppose. But then, I was never a pundit, so I can hardly compete with the well-connected political bloggers that sometimes get quoted in newspapers and linked to by commercial websites. If you want my uninformed opinion, you may as well buy me a pint and ask for it. Furthermore, I seem to spend a lot of my time thinking about society, and gender politics specifically, in a way that I never really used to. And while I’ll share a million links to good articles on my facebook page, I don’t want to get involved here.

Why? Because of incidents like this. You see, if you start championing equal rights, other minorities and marginalised people may well (rightly) call you on it if you drop the ball and accidentally say something that perpetuates the oppressive discourse about them while you’re sticking up for someone else. In the case of the first link, I can see why the trans community was upset, and Burchill’s response was deplorable. But nobody behaved well here. A minority of activists will turn all their venom towards you if they feel you’ve got it wrong in such a way that they are left marginalised. And as I am a middle-class, white male (posessor of all the Privilige), there will never be a thing I can say to defend myself. Therefore my only role is to raise awareness and clarify basic equalities concepts to the uninitiated. In public, I want no part in the debates, so you can buy me a pint if you want my opinion, once again. Yes, I am a coward.


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