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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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I've been reading Violent Acres for a bit now and I'm really torn about it. On the one hand, it's very well-written and takes controversial sides. That's refreshing in the blogging world of sameness. On the other hand, it oftens seems to be controversial for controversy's sake—a John C. Dvorak of the political and cultural realm. With all the ads on the site, it's hard to tell whether she's an Ann Coulter for advertising or a serious blogger who's just trying to cash in.

This recent entry, though, has cinched it for me. It's another salvo in the long-winded tirade against the phenomenon known alternately as the "echo chamber" and a "circle jerk".

If you don’t have the guts to step outside of your comfort zones, you will never grow and change as a person. If being well liked is more important than being yourself, then you will never say anything of value. If you don’t have the balls to be hated, then you don’t deserve to be loved.

This sentiment sounds bold and fresh at first blush, but rapidly unravels when you start to think it through. It's a false dichotomy—there's more to writing than being loved or hated. There's plenty of reasons for writing that are not incendiary: education, edification, or clarification, for example. Any of those reasons could involve a style that is qualifying or tempered or measured. Writing need not be passionate or inflammatory to be effective—any traipse through the literature of any culture would indicate that.

I've come to the conclusion that she is a troll, taking positions and writing explosive commentary for the purpose of driving traffic. It's been quite successful, but I don't like it and it seems phony. I think her popularity is akin to Dr. Phil's: he's got nuggets of wisdom and good advice but people watch him for the outrageous things he says. I'm done—unsubscribed.