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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Maybe now they'll address the substance of my post

by folkbum

In the post below, I included the line, "What we [bloggers] get most exercised about is stuff that a lot of people would consider dumb." I was not thinking specifically about any one thing, but here's a question for you:
Which of these do you think people in the real world would get most upset about?
A. a public figure who is both staff member for a state senator and a minor media player who regularly engages in rude, disrespectful, juvenile behavior on a NOW blog to the extent that the NOW editor has been complained to, the state senator has had an open-records request filed, and many of the figure's comments, some including such underhanded slime as a private citizen's contact information, had to be deleted
B. one word in one tangential sentence in a blog post about said figure
Hah! Trick question! The answer in the real world is most likely C, neither of these.

But since you're reading this, I will assume that you have read blogs before, so you probably already know that for bloggers, the answer is, in fact, B.

In a post last week about Kevin Fischer, the character described in choice A above, I wrote this sentence: "When a conservative has irritated both Wigderson and Dooley, you know there's something wrong with him." Note my choice of words there--irritated. I could have, but did not, walked out to one extreme there, with something more like upset, angered, horked off, blew the lids off of, or anything of that nature. I could have moved toward the other extreme: bothered, perplexed, flummoxed, puzzled. But I didn't. I went with irritated. Both of those bloggers had, at some point in recent months, taken the time out of their busy schedules blogging about such important matters as the Dallas Cowboys and the Unparalleled Threat To Humanity That Is Al Gore to take a swipe at Kevin Fischer. Regardless of how the two of them may have intended said swipe, both saw something Fischer had done and were sufficiently moved to note Fischer's behavior. And I called that irritated, in a sentence that was literally parenthetical to my argument.

Oh. My. God. You would think the world had just ended. They made comments demanding a retraction and I updated the post to posit that my interpretation of their posts about Fischer was being disputed. Apparently, that was not enough. The two then took to their indignant keyboards (Wigderson and Dooley) to post a collective 750 words about my one.

In the process, the fact that Kevin Fischer, a noted public figure who associates himself with Sen. Mary Lazich at the top of every NOW post he makes (and he
apparently has admitted to writing many of the posts that appear under the senator's name at Lazich's own NOW blog*), is on occasion the very definition of a Blogger Behaving Badly, seems to have slipped right over Dooley's and Wigderson's heads. Here's Dooley:
I have no issues with his content and I find it charming how he gets revved up on something, he may post 2 dozens posts on the same subject a day.
And, for the sake of completeness, here is the entire comment Wigderson made about Fischer's behavior:
I don't yet have an opinion.
Got that? 750 words between them, and the best they can muster is that they find Fischer's antics "charming" if they have an opinion about them at all.

Wigderson was kind enough to name a blogging concept after me, the so-called Bullock Rule, which is something about how a blogger can redirect criticism of anyone's behavior by pointing out how the other side does it, too. I propose the Wigderson Dodge: When a blogger avoids commenting on the substance of the post if he finds one careless word he can take issue with instead.
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Keep up with all your Fischer-ana at Whallah!

* If Fischer writes many of the posts appearing under Lazich's name at NOW, it makes me wonder if Fischer was actually the one who posted this post, which reprinted a letter from Rep. Steve Nass demanding a retraction and an apology from Rep. Jim Krueser for "despicable" statements. That would make for very delicious irony, wouldn't it?


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