A look inside the place where the conversation no one else is having happens.
One of the greatest gifts of the digital era is the ability to share ideas rapidly among a multitude of people. On our own internal Writers Group Facebook page, the writers and editors of The Good Men Project gather together virtually to discuss and debate the most compelling issues of our time. This past month those issues have ranged from social justice to solar power.
It is a sacred space where writers come to think out loud, test story ideas, and gauge interest in a subject. It’s not uncommon to see ideas evolve and shift in real time. These conversations are some of the most interesting and insightful to happen anywhere on the net. At their conclusion, the originator and participants often find themselves profoundly shaped by the discussion. There is also – of course – a large heaping of playful teasing and respectful disagreement, which is to be expected among any talented and diverse group of creative folk and which only increases the breadth and depth that each participant can achieve in their writing.
Starting today, we will be curating the best of these discussions and bringing them to you as our new feature, “Inside the Conversation.” In doing so, we hope to offer our readers deeper insight into the minds and hearts of the writers you’ve come to love and admire—and to include you more fully in the conversation that no one else is having. Going forward these posts will mostly focus on the most compelling and interesting issues that are being discussed. Today’s inaugural post focuses on . . . the reaction to the genesis of this very feature.
The following are the best parts of the conversation that ensued among our writers and editors when we introduced this feature, and in gaining consent of the writers to use their comments.
Michael Kasdan: The best conversation no one else is having is right here. Love that we are doing this! You can quote me on that. And everything I say here . . .
Adiba Nelson: This is a great idea….use my word to your hearts content.
Lisa Duggan: The writers of GMP are leaders in this space whose goal is, in my mind, the complete emotional and physical liberation of men. Thank you all. Please remember a Like is not consent. Please state your ‘okay’ explicitly.
Michael Kasdan: Okay explicitly.
Andrew Irwin-Smiler: I give blanket permission. Any exceptions will be noted when posted.
Lisa Duggan: Consent in all things : )
While many were happy to be quoted in this series, others expressed that curating our editors and contributors comments may have a chilling effect, and that the process of being observed may in fact change what people say and how they express themselves.
Lisa Duggan:That’s exactly the concern I had and discussed at length today. Be assured that I will not publish without consent, ever. And our aim is to highlight and elevate the wisdom that appears on this page, regularly.
Thomas G Fiffer: I would encourage people not to self-edit. The trajectory of the the conversations here often moves from initial reactions to more considered responses, as we educate ourselves together. That process, of learning from a conversation, is ideally what we want to show readers, without in any way compromising or embarrassing anyone here.
Doug Wagner: This is an interesting idea. I think what Thomas just said about compromising or embarrassing will be the key. While we get going feel free to ask if you can use my comments if they are at all “good”.
Lisa Hickey Doug, I thought the #GMPChat Twitter Chat tonight was a great example of how you can have wonderful, off the cuff insights. That chat moved at lightening speed, and there was not time to self-edit. And it was great. There were probably 25 tweets that would make the world a better place if they got out to a wider audience.
Lisa Duggan I’ll put you on the “ask first” list Doug. The other group we’re forming is “Michael Kasdan tagged you in a Post”. It’s a support group.
Wilhelm Cortez: I need to join that group
Lisa Duggan: I’ll have Mike tag you, Wilhelm. That’s how you join.
Wilhelm Cortez: Aiiiieeeee!!!
Doug Wagner Don’t tell Michael that he is pretty to have around (especially if he can reign in that including by reference legal thing called tagging).
Doug Wagner: Pretty “Okay”. One word missing and the meaning goes all crazy.
Lisa Duggan: “He is pretty”…Are we allowed to say that here?
Doug Wagner: Pretty “ok”. Yes, men can be pretty too.
Thomas G Fiffer: “Inside the Conversation: Men Can Be Pretty, Too”
La Shawn Pagán: What happened to this conversation…btw I’ve known/met some beautiful men.
Lisa Duggan: Next project: “The Men of the GMP” calendar. All kidding aside, I want you to know that it is tremendous, as a woman, to have a space where I can talk openly and honestly with men about every subject under the sun. This publication, and this group, is REVOLUTIONARY.
Michael Kasdan: Curate this! That’s what we should all it.
Doug Wagner: Fringe benefit: we are now creating content just by chatting here. No longer goofing off.
Lisa Duggan: “Curate This”!!! Damn. Such a better name for this feature. (No offense, Thomas Fiffer)
Michael Kasdan: Lisa, it’s tremendous, as a man, to have the space to talk honestly with all you people.
Doug Wagner: Lisa, we don’t talk about everything here. No one has gotten into molecular biology or quantum physics that I’ve noticed.
Thomas G Fiffer: Doug, But we could if we wanted to. I like Curate This!, too. I think we can use the snarky stuff to get important messages across. Humor works wonders.
Wilhelm Cortez: Thomas brings a good point abut humor. In this thread there are some funny points that are made to illustrate the breaking of gender norms . . .
Lisa Duggan: Wilhelm can you say more about what you mean?
Wilhelm Cortez: The “pretty” thing in particular
Adiba Nelson: Humor…soooooo necessary in life to make people THINK.
Wilhelm Cortez: and the male and female commentary, the diffusion of gender attachment to ‘pretty’.
Thomas G Fiffer: This has been a fun and spirited romp and a good way for everyone chat about this new idea. Looking back to the top, let’s remember we are introducing an important new feature to GMP, and that the quality of these conversations will determine its ultimate success. With that in mind, let’s try to avoid hijacking important threads and taking them completely off topic. As the moderator, I will try to course correct when necessary.
Louise Thayer: I hope the sense of fun remains.
Thomas G Fiffer: Louise, The fun is part of the magic. We talk about really difficult stuff here, and adding humor to the mix makes some of those hard conversations easier. Community is about connection.
Michael Kasdan: What Thomas said…the fun part is the magic, and mixing in humor with the difficult stuff does grease the skids. We are here – I mean cosmically *here* – to change the world for the better. And we can play a role in doing that by shining a light, by questioning, by pushing ourselves, and by sharing powerful stories and words. I am probably more “guilty” than anyone of goofing off while on my way there, but I truly try to live in the E.B. White quote: “I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.”