Crossroads – Of Politics and Drama

Date: 8 Apr 2011

Author: Tim

Throughout a community that is renowned for adopting words in less than their literal sense, two words you will frequently come across in the OVC are “politics” and “drama”, and quite often they will be used in the same sentence.

So, what is this thing called “drama”?

Personally I would define it as Shakespeare’s Macbeth, or the great Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird ~ that’s drama. In the VC/OVC community, however, it is used to denote the activities of someone who is purposefully creating ill-will, disharmony and disagreement or the like.

Unfortunately, the fact is that the “drama” brings many more people out of “hibernation” than any other thing. Thus the arguments and disharmony spread and consume more people and time than they deserve. It is a fact that drama brings people to forums. When this happens the situation has the potential to get out of control and end up in a verbal slanging match or, worse yet, a belligerent and abusive exchange of personal insults. In short the place where it is occurring takes on the aspect of a bar brawl.

 

A good policy, if you think you are getting drawn into something of that nature, is to “walk away”. Now, many of you will be thinking, “Why should I?” the answer, to my mind, is simple. If you take away the “audience” for the person creating the “drama” they will quiet down and go away. It’s called damage control and it also prevents your peace of mind being screwed up by someone who, realistically, doesn’t deserve your time or attention.

There are many ways to communicate calmly and effectively and, in the long run, if you display the maturity and responsibility in avoiding these sorts of situations then the level of respect you will garner from people who do matter to you will rise accordingly.

Of course, there are those who have no other interest than getting on their computer and making a nuisance of themselves by slinging insults and wildly provocative rhetoric about the place, these are the type of members that the VC/OVC doesn’t really need because they have nothing constructive to add. They are filling a need that they have within themselves; a need to make others uncomfortable or to make others feel diminished and, psychologically, this probably has a lot more to do with their own insecurities and inferiorities than anything.

Classical Adlerian psychology supposes that:

“The basic, common movement of every human being is, from birth until death, of overcoming, expansion, growth, completion, and security. This may take a negative turn into a striving for superiority or power over other people.”

The creation of a destructive environment aimed at other peoples discomfit could well be as a typical result of the aforementioned “negative turn”.

Of course, at the other end of this same scale we may discover that such anti-social activities are actually created from a narcissistic need to “show off”, to be “the voice”, the one that everyone laughs for and the one that everyone thinks is “cool”.

The link between self-esteem and narcissism has been hard to understand for years despite ample research on both topics. According to a review done by Bossom and colleagues the problem in understanding the connections between narcissism and self-esteem is that some research has shown that narcissism is actually a mask to hide low self-esteem.

Think of some of the things that you see around the community forums and message boards. Sarcastic one line responses to quite reasonably couched messages, hyper-critical comments about someone’s “understanding” of things in an effort to make that person look small and foolish, lengthy and often impolite tirades that touch on the motivations, the level of knowledge and intelligence of a person writing something ~ tirades that are specifically designed to belittle or harass the author of a message… that falls into a more serious category; cyber-bullying.

All of these things; unnecessary sarcasms, hyper-criticism and lengthy harangues could well be the efforts of their author to cover up their own problems. As I mentioned earlier, the best thing to do, for everyone, is to walk away ~ that’s the way to reduce “drama”.

 

The other term that you will find loosely applied, frequently and usually in the same sentence as the word drama is politics.

Politics? In an environment where there is no “governing body”, where there are no “political parties” ~ what can it possibly refer to you may ask.

Perhaps the clearest explanation I can offer you is that it refers to the often irreconcilable differences between individuals, and groups, or the different schools of thought on the issue of modern day vampires.

I have, on several occasions, been accused of failing to realise what the “commonly held perception” of certain words is rather than their literal, and dictionary, definitions. I don’t believe it is a reasonable argument that just because a lot of people think a word means one thing that’s what everyone should use it as. I have been employed in areas that demand high levels of accurate communications for most of my working life and I firmly believe that communication, in whatever medium, needs to be clear and unambiguous.

However, that being said, I must concede ~ as will you ~ that as you travel around the VC/OVC you will find oddities of “speech” and written communication that will confuse.

So, what are the “politics” of the VC/OVC?

Democracy? “Government by the people. A form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.” ~ No, I don’t think we can apply that.

Socialism?  “A theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.” ~ No, doesn’t sound like that at all.

Feudalism…? “A political system based on the holding of all land in fief or fee and the resulting relation of lord to vassal and characterized by homage, legal and military service of tenants, and forfeiture.” ~ Ahhh, now we might be onto something!

The VC/OVC comprises of groups, independent bodies of members who by open support or tacit consent give their allegiance to a particular group “leader” or “board owner”. Of course, they may not always agree with that “leader” and that, depending on the severity of the disagreement, can lead to “forfeiture” of rights in, commonly in the form of censure or banning from, that particular group.

On occasion groups will meet, or form bodies such as the VVC or Dark Nations where the “leaders” or group delegates can come together for the purpose of deciding joint aims and goals, strategies and responses etc. – much like the fabled “Round Table” or, in the case of the Dark Nations, a United Nations style forum.

The “lands” – i.e. the group forum, is a fiefdom (“The estate or domain of a feudal lord or, informally, anything, as an organization, owned or controlled by one dominant person or group.”) wherein people interact at the mercy of, and with the approval of, the controlling person.

So, in my opinion, we are the members of a great big feudal system that we perpetuate by virtue of our input. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? That is a question that only each of us can answer for them self. The other thing you might want to think on, does standing apart from “allegiance” to something and being an independent voice work? I would answer by saying that just about every democratic body in the world has independent members sitting in the senate, the parliament or similar. Being your own person is always a good thing.

So, one big question remains, does “drama” and “politics” in the VC/OVC detract from or enhance the situation?

You will read many scathing comments airing the point of view that people who inhabit the community are very tired and weary of the “drama” and “politics”. It is the very stuff, in the main, that many groups are actively trying to overcome now. Forums and boards are springing up where one of the main ‘rules of the board’ is NO DRAMA.

In itself this is a welcome and definite stand against the very things that detract from productive interactions but at the same time, given the current activity rates around the community, the “drama” generated by certain subjects is the very thing that attracts the most traffic. Catch 22…?

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