Only recently, I discovered, through a link at Amanda's blog, the odd and irreverent, often disturbing world of the website passiveaggressivenotes.com. The point of this site is to post those notes found in workplaces, apartment buildings and other shared spaces, directing others on how to behave in a more civil manner. Often the notes are things that really do need to be said, but being aimed toward specific persons, might best be said more directly. Commenters rate the notes for originality and scrutinize them for grammar, style and spelling errors. Whether or not a note fits even the site's very generous definition of passive aggression is a frequent topic of debate; often the person who contributes the PA note to the site is deemed more PA than the note's writer.
My fascination with Passive Aggressive Notes has much to do with my own, admittedly often indirect, style of communication. Much of what I say in this blog might better be directed at the individuals who have offended. Sometimes I do that; sometimes I don't. Sometimes I rationalize that the message is needed by many people beyond just the one who has recently said or done something prejudiced or otherwise offensive. The likelihood that I am correct in this belief does not negate the fact that I have also rationalized, especially if I have not directly confronted the person who said for example, "that is so retarded!" And at times I have not.
As a person who communicates far better in writing than through the more popular spoken word, I often give myself a pass on this one. Whether or not this is an accommodation I truly need or a passive aggressive act varies from one situation to another, depending on factors only I can adequately judge.
In the style and spirit of passiveaggressivenotes.com, then, a communication to my fellow students:
(Click to enlarge)
I've included a few favorite PAN themes here--underlining, excessive punctuation, etc. to get things started.