Wranglers vs Stranglers
by Ted Engstrom
Years ago there was a group of brilliant young men at a midwestern university, who seemed to have amazing, creative literary talent. They were would-be poets, novelists, and essayists. They were extraordinary in their ability to put the English language to its best use. These promising young men met regularly to read and critique each other's work. And critique it they did!
These men were merciless with one another. They dissected the smallest literary expression into a hundred pieces. They were heartless, touch, even mean in their criticism, but they thought they were bringing out each other's best work. Their sessions became such arenas of literary criticism that the members of this exclusive support group nicknamed themselves "The Stranglers".
Not to be outdone, the university's women of literary talent were determined to start a support group of their own, one comparable to "The Stranglers". They called themselves "The Wranglers". They, too, read their works to one another, but there was one significant difference between the two groups. The criticism of "The Wranglers" was much softer, more positive, more encouraging. In fact sometimes there was almost no criticism at all. Every effort, even the most feeble attempt, was gleaned for some bit to be praised and encouraged.
Twenty years later, the university's alumni office was doing an exhaustive study on the careers of its alumni, when it was noticed that there was a great difference in the literary accomplishments of "The Stranglers" as opposed to "The Wranglers". Of all the bright and talented young men in "The Stranglers", not one had made a significant literary accomplishment of any kind. From "The Wranglers" had come six or more successful writers, some attaining national reputation.
Talent between the two? Probably the same. Level of education? Not much difference. But "The Stranglers" strangled, while "The Wranglers" were determined to give each other a boost. "The Stranglers" created an atmosphere of contention and self-doubt. "The Wranglers" highlighted the best, not the worst.
The reason I am sharing this story with you is that I noticed that this blog attracts only men. When was the last time a woman visited the blog and made a comment or posted an article?
As men, we like to argue with one another on the finest details. We look at a good post and pick out only the bad points and criticise them. Instead, we should be highlighting the good points and helped to boost one another.
I believe that this is a way that this blog can grow and to be more open to the admission of women as well. It's not that this blog discriminates against women, but clearly we do not attract any female readers to share with us.
I believe that this is something worth looking into, and that we can all try to focus on one another's good points raised in each post, rather than to "strangle" each other, for in doing so, we are also strangling each other's self-esteem and the progress of this blog.
What do you think?
Wranglers vs Stranglers