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Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Stuck in the Middle Again
Ok all you (two) people who read my blog. One of you said the reason you never comment is that you don't have anything to add. Well, how about if I ask you a direct question? Something happened at work today, and I'm trying to remain Switzerland on this one, but I'm curious to know what uninvolved people think.

One of the guys at work has a list of people he forwards jokes, pictures, other humor stuff. Some of it is really crude, sexual, you name it. It's an equal opportunity offender. But before he'll put you on the list he sends you an email that says something to the effect of, "I'll forward anything and everything. I'll put you on this list but you have to promise not to be offended by anything, if you can't promise that don't sign on." Ok, fair enough. I'm on the list, by the way.

This morning we get an email of pictures of the soliders in the Gulf. I'm sure most people have seen it, they're sleeping in holes, they have balaclavas over their face to keep the sand out...just pictures showing the horrible conditions they are facing over there. I'd actually gotten them before with an accompanying message that said "Lest we forget...etc." Well this guy at work had labeled the subject line: Fun Pictures. And his message was "Looks like a fun place."

One of us on the list has a brother over in Iraq right now. She got very offended at the tone of the email and the word "fun" being used. She hit "Reply all" and sent an email which said something like: "Thanks, next time my brother calls and says he's OK when really he's sitting in 120 degree sand, I can remember how much 'fun' he is having. Thanks so much, glad you think it's 'fun'." Yes that's paraphrased, but I think I got the tone right. Ok, that's fair enough too.

Now what do you think? Was she justifibly offended? I know for a fact she doesn't like this guy much. But then, he's not a guy who is always very likable? Did he pick the right forum? Did she?

I've actually had to state to people today. "I don't want to talk about this, I just want to edit reports...edit reports...edit reports." Put your head down, do your job, leave at 5, is my motto. Comment on this!
posted by LoRi~fLoWer
  • At 12:31 PM, Blogger Furious Angel said…

    The guy obviously posted something that was not-at-all funny. I don't say that because of any issues over taste, it just wasn't funny.

    Then again, the woman is probably highly strung or having her time of the month or something.

    Neither party comes off particularly well in my book. I just wouldn't give a damn, myself.

  • At 1:31 PM, Blogger Colin said…

    Well, she violated his one rule: if you're touchy about something, don't be on the list... that includes Iraq. Quite frankly, I'm more inclined to side with him, since he was clearly engaging in that magical rhetorical technique known as irony. Granted, that doesn't come off too easily in e-mail, but in this case it seems pretty obvious. Anyway, that's my random 2 cents.

  • At 3:22 PM, Blogger LoRi~fLoWer said…

    I'm going to ignore the "that time of the month" comment.

    I think I might have a tendency to agree with you, Colin. That's the hard part, because she happens to be my friend, and I'm sorry about what's going on with her brother. But shouldn't there be even a level of self-censorship there?

  • At 6:41 PM, Blogger Mikael said…

    of course, it's incredibly difficult to properly convey tone and inflection over email. everyone's had a joke go sour because they intended it one way and it was read with an entirely different emphasis.

    reminds me of what could possibly be my favorite new word (is that called a neologism? i can't remember. damn.): AIMbiguous.

  • At 8:19 PM, Blogger Writer said…

    I was compelled to agree that you should just keep your head down and eyes averted until quitting time, but now that I know she's also a friend of yours, I'd like to change my answer...I still think staying neutral is the best way to go, but there's no harm in being sympathetic toward the woman whose brother is overseas. If she asks you again about your stance on the situation I'd agree that it was an insensitive thing to write in an e-mail, but also *shrug* and mention that it was likely not meant to be taken that way. I suspect since this woman doesn't particularly like this man, then she's more than willing to lash out at him. It's a tough situation and that's why I try to make it a point not to send forwards or read them in an office setting. Gee, did that last sentence just sound like it was taken out of your employee handbook???

  • At 6:48 AM, Blogger LoRi~fLoWer said…

    Gee, "writer," one would think you wrote employee handbooks for a living or something.

  • At 12:34 PM, Blogger bella said…

    I wouldn't think that the word "fun" was truly meant as "fun". However, since your friend does have a brother in Iraq, I can see how she would be more sensative to that particilar e-mail. I had a friend die in the Twin Towers on 9-11 and someone included me in an e-mail where I was totally offended and reacted to very same way, reply-to-all expressing how I didn't agree nor appreciate the e-mail. Instead of receiving warming words of comfort, another friend (not the sender of e-mail) pretty much reprimanded me and after a long discussion we could not reach a conclusion other than, we agree to disagree. Looking back now, maybe I should not have replied-to-all, maybe just reply to the sender letting him know that I didn't care to receive that particular view of 9-11 due to a personal reason or maybe I should have just hit "delete". What it comes down to is that we are all human with emotions and at times we control them better than others. I would sypathize with both and let them know that it was not personal either way. Best.

  • At 8:17 PM, Blogger Jack said…

    Just passing by so I'll put in my two cents worth.

    First off thank you for the word Petrichor.

    I can't really communicate anything important since I'm using email (or the quivalent using this comment button).

    Does this work Marshall McLuhan: "The Medium is the Message"

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