A little less than Zen

I try to be a good person, truly I do but maybe I’m going against human nature and that’s why I have to work so hard at it.

What?! It’s the nature of humans to be nasty? Well.. The latest flurry of online nastiness could prove me right. The fact that I have contributed also leaves me feeling a little shamed – hence this blog post and not the one I’d intended to write.

Yesterday I followed a retweet from.. um.. I think it may have been @sizemore, though it could also have been @copyblogger or @documentally as any of those three guys give out interesting and thought provoking links on a regular basis. This retweeted link sent me to a blog post entitled Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway (or the privatization of the English Language) and it turned out to be a mini rant about a cease and desist order regarding a phrase used by the author on a previous blog post.

This phrase is apparently copyrighted by the author of a book and her lawyers (yup, lawyers not solicitors so it has to be an American thing right? Right.) have demanded that the blog change or at least acknowledge the books author. The writer has refused, adamantly.

To the delight and positive support of what appears to be a goodly portion of the blogosphere.

Unfortunately, naming said book author in the post has resulted in a legion of these supporters finding her Amazon page to attack and otherwise drag down her ratings. I have not done so, I have not sent a message of hate to the writer nor have I even visited her personal site. So why do I feel shame?

I feel shame because I read the post and was shocked that he had named the author in question, but did I comment on his poor judgement? No. Instead I responded thusly:

I came here via a twitter RT so whether she likes it or not there is much negative publicity regarding her work ‘doing the rounds’ following this incident.

Having actually read through all the previous comments (interesting conversation)

I have to plug for what Bill Schmeck Says:

“If you REALLY want to screw with the lawyers, tell them you’re going to send a copy of their letter and an explanation to the USPTO and ask to have the trademark withdrawn. If a mark is inappropriately granted, the USPTO can void it if someone challenges it.”

I’m guessing you won’t be that bothered but such an idea really tickles the vindictive child in me..

Perhaps it’s not so bad a comment in comparison to some, but did I air the thoughts in my head about “have you asked for a response from Mrs J?” “Was it really a good idea to link so clearly to Mrs J?” did I contribute to the ‘interesting conversation’ in a positive way?

No. I didn’t.
Which makes me a bad person in my own eyes. Others have been bigger than I and called the writer on these points, others have been far worse than I and spewed hate filled bile about Mrs J for the actions of her lawyers.

But this blog here, the place you currently rest your eyes.. This is my space where I can be as honest as I allow myself to be where you can see it. In real life I try to stick to the idea of “if you haven’t anything nice to say then say nothing” (note I said ‘try’ I don’t always succeed but if I catch myself being snide or malicious I do attempt to make up for it somehow) surely I am not the only person on the internet to look back at something they’d written and wish they could take it back and make it into something more worthy of the person they want to be?

I can’t help but wonder if that same thought is running through the mind of Leo over at Zen Habits right now.