Don’t tell me my pain is beautiful

I’ve seen this happen a lot:

  • Something awful happens to someone
  • Or they see something awful happen to someone else
  • Or they notice a thing that’s awful in the world
  • And then they write something about it
  • And they put a lot of effort into writing it, so it is really polished

And then a lot of people comment along these lines:

  • What a beautiful piece
  • That was so eloquent and moving
  • You’re such a good writer
  • I wish I could write like that

And often, those are the only or the primary comments a post like that gets, especially if it is written in highly personal terms.

I think there is something really wrong with that. Because when someone wrote something like that, the point was to communicate something important. And often, people completely ignore the content and focus on some sort of beauty unrelated to what the writer was actually saying.

When someone’s trying to tell you about violence, the right response isn’t “you’re so awesome at describing this violence in an asthetically pleasing manner!”; it’s “That shouldn’t happen,” or “What can I do to stop this?” or even “I think you’re wrong,” because sometimes you will disagree and sometimes you will be right. In any case, it’s important to take the content seriously.