It sounds pretentious when I say it out loud, so I just say it in my head: "I can't do that, I need to keep my instrument sharp."
For example: I chose not to see The Exorcist and can't recall that I have watched any visual horror made since. (For reasons explained below.)
Because I'm committed to my point of view.
My point of view (approach to the world) jelled in junior high.
(I know people whose world-views jelled both earlier and later. Some people's approaches seem never to have never jelled and other folks may think the idea of jelling is wrongheaded or unnecessary. This parenthesis has been a teensy glimpse into my brain. Ow!)
In junior high, my parents and their pastor (mentor, guru) included me in their deep study of Jacques Ellul. I began to focus my attention where Ellul said the action was, on movements of societies below the froth of daily news but above the shifts between epochs of geologic time.
(When describing this I formerly used the term "glacial movements" but the glaciers are melting rapidly so that descriptor's meaning has changed. And "evolutionary time" isn't accurate either because evolution also works more quickly than we had previously thought. My editing is stronger than my writing and therefore I charge more for it.)
My friend Kennedy (recent project) (video) recently said I offered "an almost 30,000 light year view of the topic at hand". Dude, that's Ellul, not me! And usually I try to be slightly closer to earth.
And I adoped Ellul's approach of living through and with dramatic contradictions.
At the same time I was also in a middle school gang whose foundational text was Rudyard Kipling's Stalky & Co., which I memorized long before I understood it. To this day, the lessons of Stalky (and Kim) explain how and why I fight. Number Four study making fun of the B.O.P. led to the name of my old livejournal. I stole their tactics to craft a surprise for my team's opponents during #freeklue. My favorite movies were Seven Samurai and the long version of Lawrence of Arabia and The Sting .
Stalky is about war, life, life as war. The military roles allotted to female-presenting people weren't exciting, when I was eligible for them, but I am now sad that I didn't join our military and collaborate with other stalky elements within it. I married a guy I would have loved to be (into computers and radio and maps and politics and theology and military history, knew Russian and Arabic and Persian, etc ). Support for returning veterans and peacekeepers is one of the extremely complex issues I expend energy on. (Long stories skipped.) As for Afghanistan ... I honor the US forces working there and wish we'd studied the experiences of the British and Russians before us:
When every one is dead the Great Game is finished. Not before.
I internalized the ideas of these two, and therefore I am fully aware of their flaws.
Ellul's chief flaw was his speed-writing, described by David Gill as including, "irony, sarcasm, accusation, petulance, overkill and whining." These prevented his ideas spreading more widely. Even now his ideas spread chiefly when others translate / transform them. If I ever run out of "things to work on" I will simply dive into Ellul and surface with another fiercely provocative question.
Kipling's chief flaw was his racism, along with his apologies and justifications for the racism of so many others. Not a reason to throw out all his work, but a huge issue to keep in mind, as I argued when I happened to post the one millionth review on AlexLit.com (of a Kipling book, naturally) and was featured in their press release and received a cool poster.
To grapple with Kipling's racism, I had to discover my own, which I did in the 80s thanks to This Bridge Called My Back and the work published by Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press. "When women of color control their printing, books are different! There is an entire world I have been missing! Ow!" And then I had to confront my own racism, an effort that remains ongoing.
Upon the substrate of these two guys, I have layered ... that is, I have tried to learn from and take on:
...Oriana Fallaci's insights about the effects that the exercise of power has on humans.
...Simone Weil's both of the above plus her work on attention.
...Sara Ruddick's explanation of why holding multiple conflicting goals in one's consciousness at the same time is an important skill.
...David Foster Wallace's ideas about the heroism of sanity and the adventure to be found in footnotes.
...along with all the art and music and books and dialogue that has moved me and changed my life ... (the creators of which are listed to the right - partial list) but it does so through these lenses. Academic study of history and theology and technology (not to mention technique) didn't materially change them, just provided more content for them to act upon.
I tried to use my lenses on "relationships" with staggeringly bizarre results. This comic sums up my current approach: eeeeeeee!
In summary, these fractured compound lenses let me see the sorrows and horrors in the bandwidth that can be called "everyday life". I avoid horror-focused movies and video games because I worry that they would be too overwhelming, would blunt the edges of the instrument I have spent decades honing .
I use my empathy and editing skills in my paid work, but otherwise, what I have written here is not something I frequently talk about.
(I'm not actually talking about it now, because this blog is practically a secret. Even though I worked with people who were, I wasn't part of the golden era of blogging. I used typepad simply to collect some links and thoughts. Now much of the work I've done on collaborative writing sites has been erased, so this is what's left.)
Maybe what I want to say is: aside from the obvious and staggering weaknesses and flaws that I'm still working to combat and heal from ... some of the things about me that you think are weird? Those are on purpose.
I do not limit myself to describing my feelings with cold objectivity in the manner of a research worker reporting what he sees under a microscope. I am keenly aware that I am myself involved in technological civilization, and that its history is also my own. I may be compared rather with a physician or physicist who is describing a group situation in which he is himself involved. The physician in an epidemic, the physicist exposed to radioactivity: in such situations the mind may remain cold and lucid, and the method objective, but there is inevitably a profound tension of the whole being.
- Jacques Ellul in The Technological Society,
author's forward to Revised American Edition
 I made a Tumblr consisting entirely of pictures from my travels with captions that were quotations from this movie, "Can you stay for breakfast, or do you already know HOW TO EAT?". Paid for a great theme and everything. It was moved to a space with a "-blog" extension because it wasn't active enough? or because I failed to respond to an email? For the few weeks when I thought it was gone, I figured that either the campaign against anorexics or the DDoS attack (first instance of compromised Things being used against The Internet, especially the US Internet) had taken it temporarily off line AND that this was almost as tragic as when my Open Salon postings - all my work from the years in Australia - were vaporized while my attention was elsewhere -
 Of course he was recruited by the NSA, and even took its lie detector test. "Did they ask you whether you were gay?" "Yup." [Oh, seventies!] He turned down the offered job "because I thought it would make my life lonely, and also by the time the offer came, I already had a job in commercial radio."
 To make up for this, my friends tell me about them. I know not to split up in order to search the house. I know not to poke the monster to make sure it's dead.