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Vox Clamantis in Deserto

Posted by Toph on January 10, 2018, at 10:07:36

How can it be that it is the second week in 2018 and I am writing the first post on PB Social? I'm sure this is a well-pondered question here, so instead of offing my theories, I'll just say that for me it always seems to come down to the Bob factor.

Babble years ago was so important to me. I was a regular poster who had several friends. Because it was safe to share and commune as a person with a chronic mental illness, I felt, well, somehow normal. Oh, I said some things I regret, pissing off Atticus and PC, posters I admired. There were probably others. I shared things about myself recklessly, though I also posted enough fiction to keep people guessing. The artificial nature of a cyber cafe sort of triggered latent psychotic thought at times, but several people helped me keep grounded as did visits with Bob and other posters in person.

Unfortunately, I got caught up too often in the whole Lou saga. It just bothered me that he could repeatedly make harmful characterizations about the community while zealously alarming those of us benefiting from pharmacology - like lithium which allows me to live a life out of the psych ward. Consequently, I spent my share of time in the penalty box mostly because I refused to learn Babblespeak, a coy but apparently legal form of passive aggression.

This brings me to Bob, the frustratingly enigmatic founder and former participant. Several of us had a love-hate relationship with him. I admired his intellect although his rhetorical style of communication was frustrating, to say the least. I don't think I'm alone in the belief that he treated people differently and unfairly, protecting those he felt were bullied or personified one of his core beliefs while banishing several of his irritants who were particularly adept at striking a nerve in his otherwise thick skin. I never could wrap my head around punishment on a support site of people compromised by their mental disabilities. And then there were people he just was transparently fond of either because of their civility, vulnerability or brilliance. This created a sort of sibling rivalry, I think, maybe by design.

So, here I reminisce about this cool place that I never thought I would leave. It once held me captive like daily soporific bourbon does today. I'm sure many of you would say that the supportive interactions of others here are what sustained your participation. There is truth to this because you are reading these words despite Bob's abandonment of his once-prized baby. Perhaps, however, there is some metric to show that the decline of Babble is directly related to Bob's attempt to devolve authority and his perceived disinterest. Regardless, like returning to a ghost town, those of us who have moved on occasionally pass through sadly remembering this once vital place.




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