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Self-Depreciation -or- Dating: The Abridged Manual

by Sage Gaspar

(Note: I make apologies to anyone who reads this editorial, because it's my first one, and I suck really bad. So please don't e-mail me with negative flaming or anything because I'm trying my best here, I'm not a good writer and I'm not good at making points.)

I just read through the latest batch of editorials (the 5/7/00 update), and although a lot of good points were made, and the quantity and quality of editorials have picked up, I've noticed a disturbing trend.

One who reads RPGamer's editorial section regularly will notice that in front of many of the editorials, a warning section is attached that tells the reader to beware. Beware, because this editorial has been created by a new author, and sucks incredibly badly! Beware, because this editorial fails to make well-thought out points, and is meaningless in the scheme of life! Beware, this editorial may cause cancer!

OK, so maybe the latter isn't true. However, either of the other two are usually false as well. It's ironic that many of the best editorials that are published carry such a warning label attached to them. It's as if authors are trying to undercut their validity and deter readers from reading their editorials.

Obviously, most editorialists wouldn't desire the last effect, so I've been trying to figure out why exactly they're doing this to themselves. The only answer I've been able to come up with so far is that the editorialists in question have a fear of exposing their thoughts and opinions to the world and being rejected, and so they turn to self-depreciation.

Editorialists want to publish their works and have them be recognized, obviously, just like someone who's trying to score a date with someone they like. However, many of the writers have a fear of rejection, just like many people who are scared to ask someone out.

What do you do when you're nervous about being rejected? You go in with the attitude that you've already lost. You're just checking to see if maybe she doesn't have a date for the prom, or you're just wondering if he might be open on Friday night (although you know that he/she probably won't, given his/her busy schedule).

This same kind of attitude carries over into the world of editorials. Rather than devoting any more time to explaining it, though, I'd like to try and discourage future authors from lowering their own value and the value of their editorials by attaching self-depreciating statements to their works. By doing so, yes, there will be less chance of having your feelings harmed by any negative criticism. By the same token, though, you won't live up to your full potential.

<obligatory sports reference> If you go out into the field thinking "I hope the ball doesn't come to me, I hope the ball doesn't come to me, I hope the ball doesn't come to me," you'll be less ready to catch the ball if it does come. If you decide what actions you're going to take before the ball comes, and be ready to catch it, then you'll have a much better chance of successfully fielding the ball. </obligatory sports reference>

If you get any negative criticism, be ready for it. Be prepared to have your work undercut, everything you say torn apart. Be ready to defend your work. Trying to discourage people to reply with criticisms to your point may work in some cases, but it takes the option of countering the counterpoint away, because you've already conceded the battle.

If you can't deal with negative feedback, then don't post anything up on the web. But, above all, don't commit the editorial version of suicide.

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