Wednesday, March 27, 2013

In Which I Comment On Boundaries

There's a reason we make videos on the internet: we want to say things to you.

We want you to hear our opinions, laugh at our jokes, be impressed by our wit and be influenced by our ideas.  We want to give you new concepts, stories, viewpoints.  And we don't want to just talk to one or two of you; we want to say these things to hundreds.  Thousands.  Millions, even . . . but since my videos don't involve nutshots or kittens, that's something of a pipe dream.

So we want to connect to you, yes.  But there's another side to it: we don't want to give you everything.  We can't.  We'd go mad.  You can only unload every single aspect of your life for so long.  Turning the private public has consequences.

Someone who comes at you and gives you all of it isn't exactly appealing, either.  You know this person.  We've all known them; in our younger years, we often are that person.  They're the ones who corner you at a party and by the time you've pried yourself loose, you're covered in a thin, sticky layer of unburdened soul.  It's unsettling.  Intimacy of that kind usually comes in time, and it's usually hard-earned.  Someone who tries to jump into that particular fast lane often can't even reach the pedals.

We set up limits, then.  We decide what we can and can't share.  Some of us are comfortable letting you in past the threshold; some of us don't take the chain off the door.  Usually it involves putting a persona between us and you, even if we use our own names.  But it's what we do, to protect us from you, and protect you from us.

Sometimes it's . . . difficult.  I've been going through tumultuous times and when things are lonely or I feel low, there's a strong temptation to reach out.  I want to grab my megaphone and shout into the void.  Hurt and fear can do that to you; it leaves you desperate, in need of reassurance and affirmation.  But I don't.  It's not fair to you, or to me.  You come here for the jokes and occasional witty insights, not to be coated in emotional spittle.  Well, most of you; I'm sure that's a fetish for one or two of you.

I had to open that window a little wider lately, mainly out of a different kind of desperation: economic.  I can't even begin to express how shamed and humiliated I felt at that point.  I bent a bit and I sacrificed some dignity for the sake of survival.  The true and utter bitch of it is I was planning a new project for later this year and taking it to Indiegogo or some such.  Now?  Now I don't feel that's appropriate, given how generous you all were.  But that's drifting off topic.

I tend to be fairly open and honest about what's happening in my life, to a point.  I have nothing in my life of which I'm particularly ashamed.  Embarrassed, sure . . . google search my images, there's some cringe-worthy shots our there.  But ashamed, no.  There has to be a cutoff, though.  You're an audience, and I respect you.  I think you're fantastic, in fact.  I'm very proud to be considered worth your time.

But we're not friends.  I'm not saying this to insult you or hurt you, cross my heart.  In fact, some of you out there have become my friends, over time.  It can't just be a wide-open door, though.  We'd both be sorry if that happened.

I'll end this little meandering by saying I'm okay, before you start worrying about a meltdown or outburst.  So far as our relationship of audience/loud jackass is concerned, we're fine.  While I appreciate your concern, anything past that wouldn't be fair to either of us.  It's not you.  It's me.

Except you.  Hands above the desk, buddy.

3 comments:

  1. It makes perfect sense and it's good to see someone is mature enough to handle such a situation as yours in this manner. However - if I may be so bold - allow me to address the matter of reaching out in an economic sense.

    We all reach moments in our lives when we need help; sometimes financial and sometimes not. Money is an ugly business, but ultimately you decided that you were in an impossible situation and you committed the ultimate sin against your own kind-nature; you asked for help. We are not your family or your close friends no matter how much we want to be, how much we tune into your shows or how many fan-letters we send. We CANNOT be a replacement for your own family and close friends; but we are your fans and fellow man and even if we cannot be your friends we still very much care about you. We care about you and we want to help you.

    You may think that you are just a guy producing content for a potential audience and it is good that you've never adopted a tone of arrogance in light of what success you have earned, but you may never know how much you have helped others by helping create a community that cares. We often hear of people who find comfort in a community when times are tough. When a person in the RDA community is down, do we stand idle and do nothing? No. We help in what capacity we can. You didn't just help create that community - you are just as much a member of that community as the rest of us are. When one of us is down, the community does not stand idle; we help in whatever capacity we can.

    The very nature of humanity is kindness and compassion. To be humane is to be willing to help others in times of need, but in that sense we must not be afraid to ask for help ourselves. We work together and stick together through all trials. We are not your family and we (much to our sadness) are not your close friends; but we are your fellow man and in this community we embrace that to its fullest definition. If you are ready to help another whenever you can - even by the smallest of degrees - then never be afraid to ask for help.

    I do not presume to lecture you; I am neither wise enough or important enough to even begin to do so; however I say all this not just because I wish to help my fellow man, but because you have my absolute respect. You - good sir - are a man of humility, kindness, good humour and class. May life be kind to you and may RDA continue for many years to come.

    - SteveJones313

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  2. Anytime you see someone regularly, even if it's through the TV or online videos, as a fan it can be easy to lose a bit of perspective. Having so much of someone's life open to you can create the false impression that you "know" someone you've never met. I'd like to believe that most people are cognizant enough to recognize this sort of thinking as aberrant or illogical and discard it. Evidence, however, suggests that there is at the very least a decently-sized minority lacking either the maturity or self-awareness to correct this tendency. The internet lends itself to a particularly voyeuristic form of fandom, and some people clearly find that enabling. That's why boundaries are so important, and the more clearly drawn and strongly enforced they are, the better.

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