Friday, June 26, 2009

Dear Lisa

I mentioned several days ago that I was taking some time to cool off before responding to something. I'm ready to write about it now, and break the mysterious silence — but not without first seeking advice from friends and family on what to do, so that I don't write anything I'll regret.

Basically, Lisa of Laughing Orca Ranch posted on her blog publicly calling me out after she disagreed with some of my comments, and wouldn't let me comment in defense of myself. I was vascillating on what I wanted to do, so I forced myself to count to ten while I made up my mind.

Friends and readers also offered advice. For instance, Kate of A Year With Horses — a relatively new reader of Pony Tales Blog whose opinions (about all things) I respect very much, said:

Good plan - people sometimes take offense even when we don't mean to cause it - different people have different opinions but we're all on the journey with our horses, and that's what counts.

Whenever something bothers me, I try to remember to ask myself - "Will this matter in 5 years?"

She's right, of course. It won't matter in five weeks, let alone five years. But then there is the other side of the coin, as my friend and fellow freelance writer, Kathy Kehrli, noted:

To call you out publicly and then not allow you to give your side of the story is a violation of your first-amendment right--plain and simple. You are fully justified to give that side of the story on your blog. I'd say let it slide if she weren't allowing any comments on that particular post, but she's letting all the ego-stroking ones slip right on by.

Both make really good points. Though Lisa's actions were pretty hurtful to me, they also are pretty inconsequential in the long run. However, there is also the principle of the matter to consider, which is that she is censoring my defense of myself while approving all the "ego-stroking ones," as Kathy so aptly put it.

So after careful consideration of the advice I've received and my own feelings on the matter, I've decided to take the middle road: I won't post a childish tirade, but I also won't allow myself to be treated like this without standing up to defend myself. I think my comment says everything that needs to be said, but feel free to also read Lisa's original post on Polocrosse and the comments that follow if you are interested in reading the full story.

Katharine Swan said... (comment not approved)

Lisa, I didn't really think I said anything so bad that you would call me out, but here we are, so there are a few things I need to say.

Whether or not you approve it. I'll still know that you read it.

First of all, I'm sorry that I hurt your feelings about the photography. You are a very talented photographer, and I believe I've complimented your photos quite a few times.

However, I don't think my comment about polocrosse looking to me like a train wreck was an insult to your photography. I thought it was a reasonable observation, from my point of view, about the nature of the game.

And how did you respond? By calling me a worry wart and saying that it must just be me. Please think for a moment about how that could have hurt and frustrated me.

And then -- perhaps worse -- when someone commented that they had had a dear friend die in a polo accident, you wrote your comment about how life itself can be dangerous. I just don't think that is an appropriate response to someone else's loss.

I left the comment I did -- the one you didn't approve, but reposted here -- because I was so horrified that you would treat someone else's loss that way. Perhaps I shouldn't have said what I did. But I don't think I'm the only one.

I've enjoyed reading your blog and getting to know you. I genuinely like you. I love your photography. I look forward to reading your blog every day. But honestly, I think you may have being dealing out hurt feelings yourself more than you realize.

As a final note: The blogosphere is impossible to control. Whether you like it or not, the nature of a blog is commenting, conversation, and yes, debate and controversy — even on a personal blog. I know this, which is why I'm willing to post my response to Lisa and let it go. The only way to achieve perfect control over your blog is to make it private — or not blog at all.



At June 27, 2009 at 5:33 PM, Blogger Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Why do you even care, Katharine? Noone is forcing you to read my blog? Why are you so focused on getting your point across no matter what?

Really, you should take Kate's advice. She shows a lot of wisdom.
And if you can't say anything nice on someone's blog, then don't say anything at all.


At June 27, 2009 at 6:01 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...


Thanks for your comment. I think my post said everything that needed to be said, so I won't go over it all again. As I mentioned, though, I do like you, I do enjoy your blog, and I have continued to read it despite everything. I'm happy to see that you've continued to read mine, too. I hope eventually we'll get past this and be on good terms again.


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