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Saturday, March 20, 2004

The Trouble with Public Rants 

OK, I am now publicly going to do 2 things that I have already admitted publicly that I don't like: 1) apologize, and 2) do so with qualifications (see my entry on ichthyapologies).

I hereby apologize to Frank Catalano for calling him an egomaniac and an ass (see my entry in which I strongly react to some of Frank's comments on blogging).

(Now for the qualification.) But, I still don't agree with Frank's assessment of the medium. In fact, I think his recent defenses of "Blog No More" only serve to clarify how off he is. (I may go on to argue my position some other time, but right now blogging about blogging is boring the hell out of me, so suffice it to say that I think people who believe the main reason to maintain personal websites and blogs is to generate income simply don't get it.)

This interlude in my blogging life reminds me of a couple of things:
  1. Wil Wheaton wrote about how stung he was by the Alternet article title, "Wil Wheaton is a Dick". The title was a play on something Wheaton had actually said about himself in his Orkut profile, and was therefore, I think, funny. In other words, I think Wheaton was overreacting a bit. Although my calling Frank an egomaniac was not an ironic reference to something Frank had said about himself, it was a hyperbolic* dismissal of anyone who could possibly believe that "you can reach millions of people on the web by doing a blog" (quoted from his interview on Seattle-based WebTalk Radio). In other words, I think Catalano was overreacting a bit.

  2. I am also reminded of when I was managing the Central Illinois NOW chapter's website some 7-8 years ago. Our site was up before NOW's national site was, so we made a convenient target for Angry Young Men around the country. They wrote me – since the site's web manager mailto link was redirected to me – to vent about every slight perpetrated on them by every woman in their miserable lives (but of course we feminists must be responsible for every woman who's ever decided that the man she's dating is a lout). I always replied in as rational and sympathetic a tone as I could, which invariably generated surprised reactions that a real person was on the receiving end of their rants. The thing is, I have to admit that when Frank commented on my blog, I understood how those angry young men could have been surprised – I didn't expect a real person to respond to my rant. In other words, I might have been a bit harsh.
As a footnote to this episode in my blogging life, I would like to say that I think it's too bad Frank doesn't get it – his personal blog RandomBytes is amusing and reveals a person I think I would actually enjoy. And maybe that's the best you can expect from a personal-journal-made-public.

* The Columbia Guide to Standard American English cautions against the use of hyperbole and I will try to heed the warning in the future.


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