Last year, at ScienceOnline09, it appears that the overarching theme of the meeting emerged, and it was Power, in various meanings of the word.
This year, looking at the titles and descriptions of the sessions on the Program, the keyword of the meeting will be Trust. Again, in various meanings of that word: how do you know who to trust (e.g., journalists, scientists and press officers), and how do you behave online in order to be trusted. The debate over recent hacking of e-mails concerning climate change also hinges on the trust and how language affects the perception of who is trustworthy.
It is important to remember that calls for civility are often attempts by those in power to silence those out of power and thus preserve the power hierarchy in which they are on top. And the only proper way to respond is to refuse to be polite.
Sometimes, shocking and jolting with strong language is the only appropriate way to communicate in order to break the status quo:
Too many of us speak in calm and measured tones when there’s so much at stake. You won’t find that here. …This blogger, this American, is as mad as hell, and she’s not going to take it anymore.
On a related note, fearing that we face a whole new level of bullshit about which we will, and should, be visibly angry, and preparing myself thusly, comments and emails composed specifically to tell me to stop using bad language or to start being less aggressive, less hostile, less antagonistic, less bitchy, less arrogant, less belligerent, less vitriolic, less nasty, less acerbic, or less of a poopyhead, are as welcome as any other, but I feel obligated to inform all potential authors of such missives that they are, however, a waste of time.
If I get my facts wrong, let me know. If you don’t like my tone, tough. At this bus stop in the blogosphere, I’m Queen Cunt of Fuck Mountain, and I’m mean for a reason. Once we get our country back on the right track, there will plenty of time for nursery rhymes.
And while being angry alone is unproductive, using the Web to find other people who are angry about the same societal injustice and organize to make the world a better place, is the only way forward:
Think about it….