Saturday, October 31, 2009

More on John O'Quinn

His New York Times obituary (here). As I read various comments to posts about John's death, I'm struck by two things: first, how many people actually did appreciate his work, and second, how many people wrote anonymously nasty comments about him.

People either liked John or hated him. I think that very few people really knew him. They were reacting to what they read about him or what they heard from third parties.

Some take-aways: I think that John would have felt gratified to have known how many people did think highly of him, and I think that he would have liked to have known that he was important enough to have made the NYT's obituary page.

For anonymous posters who make gratuitous comments about people they don't know, you need to remember that every human is someone's son or daughter. If you're a pundit, a poster, a blogger, you may want to say something nasty about someone--and sometimes, that nastiness is well-earned. But every time you write something for public consumption, at least think about the fact that the person is human before you post it. If you still want to post it, go ahead. (I've read enough horrifying things about myself online to be inured to it by now.)

Oscar Wilde once said, "A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone's feelings unintentionally." Think before you post.

And John, I'm sorry that more people didn't tell you that they appreciated you while you were alive.


D. G. Myers said...

Don’t know the source of the Wilde quotation, but it does not sound like him. Sounds more like Cardinal Newman, who wrote: “[I]t is almost a definition of a gentleman to say that he is one who never inflicts pain.” More here.

Tyna-Minet said...

I agree completely. I've read some of your previous posts about anonymous comments and meant to reply but didn't.

I especially agree with your fourth paragraph and the quote. Great points as always!

Nancy Rapoport said...

Thanks, Tina-Minet, for your kind words; and D.G., I'll bet that they both said the same sort of thing, but I've seen it attributed more to Wilde than to anyone else. Thanks!

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