Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Smile Politely

Champaign-Urbana has a newish alternative salon-type website called Smile Politely. It will try to fill the gap between the News Gazette and all those other attempts at weekly alternative papers. I still miss The Octopus, and Smile Politely looks like it wants to be a web alternative in that tradition.

Of course, I am biased, because I now count myself as one of their vast array of contributors. In my first opinion piece for them, I attempt to explain how diversity can prevent mass murder, except when it it doesn't.

I'm really happy to be on board there, because I've been feeling the need for more community in my writing. Also, I need an editor a lot of the time.

I plan to eventually do one post a week for them, although things will be in flux for the next month, because of my upcoming Colombia trip. I'll link anything I do for them from here.


Eric said...

I enjoyed reading your opinion of Smile Politely! I did not know you are freelance writing for them? Just finished my blog today about our trip to Charleston, SC, where we spent 5 days. Please check it out, lots of photos of our trip!

Take care,

Rebecca said...

Smile Politely is now bookmarked -- it's definitely a step above The Hub and The Paper. We'll see if it can match The Octopus, though. Your essay was good, and you handled your first semi-hostile question very well. Nice job!

Tim said...

Your writing started out well, but then you lost me. Here's what I see as your main points:

1. We don't know why Steve Kazmierczak killed all those people.

2. This is unnerving because we like to understand things. (So far, so good.)

3. One theory is that he felt isolated because there weren't enough people around him who were different. But only different like he was. You know, a white male. But "diverse."

4. But that couldn't explain Kazmierczak, because he lived in a diverse place.

5. Let's bring up Iraq, where there's a lack of diverse thinking. There's also lots of violence that causes hopelessness and uncertainty. Something about occupiers and diversity(?).

6. But this couldn't explain Iraq. There's no lack of diversity there. There's intolerance for diversity, as well as those resisting it. (?????)

7. There's some sort of thought experiment here.

8. We all crave diversity.

I'm not sure how all of this ties together. Points #4 and #6 actively work against your thesis, which I take to be #3 (based on your title.) There are too many ideas here. The Iraq example feels like nothing more than gratuitous Iraq war-bashing.

I mean this as constructive criticism and not gratuitous pacifist-bashing. :)

Dan S said...

Yea, it was a confused first effort. I feel like I drove the length of the field, only to shank a 20 yard field goal. However, I've now properly set the bar low, so I can exceed expectations in the future.

Rebecca said...

The main thing I appreciated about your article was that you talked about diversity without meaning specifically racial diversity. The fact that Kazmierczak was a white male didn't mean he automatically fit in. You could have developed this idea more (how he hid his tatoos under long sleeved shirts, for example) and spelled out how you thought it connected to Iraq better -- but the idea itself was good.

Dan S said...

Yea, that would have been a good angle to concentrate on (that even a white male can need diversity), and one that I think adds to the confusion in the article (because there were questions about why a white male would need diversity).

Man, this is one dead horse about now... :)