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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The obligatory "Eugene Kane's a bit of an idiot" post . . . sigh

by folkbum

I don't have the kind of visceral, lizard-brain reaction to Eugene Kane you regularly see from the right side of the Cheddarsphere. It could be in part because I know half of what he does is schtick--no less schtick than, say, Sean Hannity, but in a completely different flavor. The other half of what he does, though, is provide White Suburban Milwaukee with the only black voice they hear regularly, with the possible exception of Randy Jackson on "American Idol."

Kane was at the Blog Summit with the rest of us Saturday. He got a column out of it. You can read what everyone else says, but, note, they're angry. Be prepared for all that.

Here's what gives me a problem:
The half-day summit at Marquette University Law School was billed as the second such event, representing the growing impact of blogs written by both professionals and amateurs on current issues in the media, politics and society. Many at the summit--which was attended by approximately 90 people, according to WisPolitics.com--were the faceless and sometimes nameless writers who post blog items with stupefying regularity.

Many post multiple items a day, though few earn their living writing blogs or writing anything else.

I was invited to participate in a panel discussion on the need for more diversity in the blogosphere. Some bloggers were reportedly eager to make my acquaintance, although few took the opportunity.
Stupefying regularity? Gene, you shouldn't say such things about Tim Cuprisin . . . But, more seriously, though Kane points out that the summit was supposed to be a half-day (though it didn't last more than four hours), he arrived just before his panel began and was out of the room just after his panel ended. His panel-mates Jennifer Morales and Dasha Kelly stuck around--Kelly for the entire rest of the program. What kind of opportunity would that provide to meet him? Running after him through the hall, desperately trying to flag him down and, gasping for air, push out our blog name and pump his retreating hand?

In the end, Kane reminds us of exactly what John Kraus had mentioned earlier, that the real success of the blogs will come not from continuing to whale away on our keyboards, but rather from making the rubber meat the road. True success in changing the face of the media or the face of politics won't happen as long as you stay in your basement.

But at the same time, true success in building bridges with others and creating a dialogue between yourself and those who "regularly take pleasure bashing [your] column" won't happen until you're willing to take the time to let that outreach happen. Next time, Gene, follow your own advice, and get out of your own basement.

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