If it is true that our manners shape us as individuals, what should we make of this blog post in The Birmingham Post?
At first reading my initial thought was sympathy for the check-out assistant subjected to the blogger’s ire.
At second reading I was angered at the blogger’s arrogance – both towards the check-out assistant and his apparent desire for sympathy and empathy from his readers.
At third reading, I was mystified why the blogger had chosen to share this particular snapshot of his life – after all, we have to endure such idiocy in real-life day in and day out in our interaction with other people so we don’t want it infecting our computer screens too.
There is always an element of doubt as to how far you go in sharing information, whatever you are writing.
Blogging by its nature tends to be acutely personal, even for those who choose to write their thoughts, opinions, dreams and ideas anonymously.
But is there a line on sharing yourself with the wider world, even in the blogosphere, that you shouldn’t cross?
At the end of the day, I’m sure it is really only my close friends and family that care about the fact that I’m turning 40 later this month and I’ve done some inevitable reflection on reaching middle-age by compiling a (Not Quite) 40 Things To Do Before I Die list. The fact my dad chose this post to comment on my blog for the first time in a couple of years probably answer that little point.
So should we judge writer, political commentator, lecturer and former Birmingham poet laureate Roshan Doug on his dust up with a check-out assistant?
Or should we judge him on some of the more considered blogs he’s posted on The Birmingham Post’s site?
Do we get an indication of the kind of person he is from his tirade against a shop worker, or in his musings about Britishness?
Others have been contemplating the idea recently that it is possible to separate the writer from the person. The writer might be sublime, you might hang on every written word, but the person the writer is fails to live up to the high standards you have set for them. Does it matter?
The world of the blogosphere is different to other forms of literature. One of the biggest differences, apparently, is that traditional rules do not necessarily apply. This is the world of everyman, everywoman and everychild.
At the fourth reading of Mr Doug’s blog post I wish I hadn’t bothered first time around and skipped over it.
I think it is misguided and if I wanted wildly misplaced arrogance and self-confidence I’ll just watch a re-run of last night’s Apprentice…or go out into the wide world and mingle with others.
Manners maketh man.
Do manners matter for bloggers?