The Dangers of Myopia
It’s come to my attention that Felicia Day is seriously disliked by some people. Huh.
Personally, I like a lot of the things Ms. Day does behind the scenes in the world of geekdom. Her promotion & contributions to the continuation of the YouTube channel Geek & Sundry mean a lot to people who want to see how a grass-roots production can and should work. I wasn’t the biggest fan of her brief dalliance with EA/BioWare, but part of that was probably jealousy in that I will probably never get a major franchise to promote my self-insert fan-fiction character the way hers was. But I digress. Felicia’s good people, in my book.
I know mine is not the only opinion out there concerning her, though, and to broadcast it as such would be pretty dumb. Just ask Ryan Perez.
Actually, don’t. He’ll probably just talk about how she’s “just a glorified booth babe” between alternating sips of Pabst and Dr. Pepper Ten.
Chuck’s already discussed why this douchebag got the treatment he deserved for what he did, so I won’t go into that. However, it’s interesting to examine the situation and try and figure out why he went off on this little anti-Day tangent of his. I do not have access to the man and so cannot peel back the layers of his skull for the answers, or just to see if he’s got anything rattling around in there at all. Thankfully, I don’t have to, because I’m pretty sure what we have here is a classic case of myopia, and I don’t mean physical nearsightedness.
Myopia is derived from two Greek words: myein, which means “to shut”, and ops (or opos), the word for “eye.” When it comes to writing or stating opinions, if you shut your eyes to all points of view but your own, you are suffering from myopia. Symptoms include spewing hysterical and baseless rhetoric, acting offended whenever someone questions your position or offers another point of view, total confidence in whatever it is you say or do even if it can be shown to be objectively wrong or offensive, and providing endless entertainment for people outside your situation.
Everybody is guilty of it now and again, but significant repeat offenders include our Mr. Perez, many members of America’s Republican party, most of the staff of Fox News, quite a few of my fellow gamers, and talk show host and full time pompous windbag Rush Limbaugh.
Myopia is especially dangerous for writers, be they journalists or fabulists or wearing multiple hats. Your audience is your bread and butter, and while it’s impossible to please every single person your work may reach, you can minimize how many people want to take a blunt object to your gonads if you avoid limiting yourself to a single point of view. I’m not talking about rules of perspective, though; it’s perfectly fine to keep an entire story in third person omniscient if that’s what it takes to tell the tale. What I mean is, when it comes to the old writer’s chestnut of “write what you know,” it’ll behoove you to know more than one thing.
Limiting yourself to one viewpoint is dangerous and ignorant. You are under no obligation to change your mind or alter your opinion based on the other points of view you might encounter, but encountering them at all, acknowledging their existence, and trying to understand where they come from before you state your own opinion will go a long way in making sure you don’t come off as a narrow-minded prick. Making loud noises and referencing a single particular text (especially if it’s held sacred by some) may win you some fans, but it will alienate many others, and those who do stick around are likely to be just as ignorant, superficial, and narrow-minded as the position you’ve adopted, and they’re likely to be sycophants as well. How delightful!
By all means, write about what you know and believe, and if you have the intestinal fortitude to stick to your guns when someone calls you to the mat over it, do so. But don’t go about it belligerently. Don’t resort to belittling and ball-kicking just to ‘win’ a discussion. Engage the other parties. Try to find out where they’re coming from. And if you still disagree with them after you do it, say so. Just do it with the understanding that there are 6.4 billion of us trying to get along on one little sphere in the vastness of space, and it’ll go a lot more smoothly if most of those billions, like you and me, tried really hard to not be a dick.