What I do want to take issue with today is something much sillier and yet much more common: the criticism that one is being defensive. I got that yesterday, and it does not hurt me. It just annoys me greatly. It always has annoyed me. Why? Because if one is attacked, one has two responses--ignore the attack or defend oneself. So, silence is certainly an option but not really a strength of mine. Also, silence is often confused with condoning the accusation. "If you didn't think it was right, why didn't you say anything?" If you say anything, you are being defensive. Damned if you, damned if you don't.
Of course, there is being defensive and there is being DEFENSIVE. I remember one of my first talks at a conference, I tried to reply to every single comment and criticism rather than just picking and choosing a few of the relevant/salient/useful/harmful. But the simple act of responding to riposte in one's direction to deflect the accusation and perhaps illuminate why the attack is flawed is defensive, right? Why is being defensive wrong? The answer: it is not. If someone tries to spread rumors about you, and you then broadcast your view of the truth, is that problematic? I think not.
The point of this particular Spew is just to suggest that if your best criticism is that someone is being "defensive," think again. There are better justifications for dismissing my arguments than that.
Silence has never been a strength for me.