There has been quite the kinetic kerfuffle in the Kansas City blogosphere over the various gaffs and guffaws of the new mayor, Mark Funkhouser.
For those of you outside the I-435 loop, the new mayor has only been in office a couple of months. He's not a slick, fast tracking, ambitious career politician. In fact, that was the whole basis of his grass roots campaign. He was an auditor. A bean counter. Someone who would bring fiscal responsibility and common sense to the glad-handing TIF-junkies at City Hall.
Since the election, all of his opponents and some of his supporters have expressed shocked dismay and utter outrage that they got just exactly what had been promised and could be expected. An inexperienced, unsophisticated, unpolished bureaucrat unschooled in the Machiavellian ways of professional politics.
Predictably, he fucked up a few times. He did some stupid shit.
His blog-critics have jumped on him like a bunch of pit-bulls looking for any taste of blood or meat. You would think that they were all Woodward and Bernstein and that Funkhouser was Nixon.
I'm not here to defend or condemn Funkhouser's actions. I don't even live in Kansas City. I just work there.
I'm here to make some observations about bloggers who take themselves WAY too fucking seriously and take some preemptive action against me falling into that trap.
Think back to that first big promotion you got or the first couple of months at a new job. Imagine if you put the toner cartridge in the copier wrong or had a brain fart and answered the phone announcing your previous employer. That is the level of error we are talking about here. Miniscule, meaningless, learning curve stuff.
Imagine how it would look to an outside observer to see your coworkers dog piling on you, yelling and screaming about what an idiot you must be, how you are unqualified to hold the job, how you have no future with the company and how you should just be fired! Knowing all the time that the motivation for their criticism is that they thought someone else should have your job and they are pissed because their buddy didn't get it.
I don't live in the political world. I live in the business world. And in the corporate environment, that sort of behavior would be recognized and condemned as childish, petty, backstabbing, unprofessional and possibly grounds for dismissal. Grow the fuck up! You lost. Get over it. Deal with it. Move forward. That's what adults do.
There are as many motivations for blogging as there are bloggers. But I think most of them start with curiosity. "Hey, I've heard there is a 'blogosphere' and people are 'blogging'. What's that all about? Is that something I can do?"
After blogging for a bit, some of us find "our voice". Some people blog about their family and their kids. Some write about arts or crafts or eateries or bars or local politics or national politics or music. Whatever. We all find our little niche that makes us happy and makes people want to read what we write.
Then, something happens. Some bloggers start to take themselves SERIOUSLY. They get obsessed with their hit counter and the number of comments people leave. They start to think that they are An Important Voice With Something To Say.
After beginning to take themselves seriously, they start thinking that other people should be taking them seriously too. They start posting indignant, self-righteous comments on other people's blogs, demanding respect and attention and denouncing opposing points of view.
That progresses into imagining that they are actually a "constituency". A leader of of powerful citizenry whose will they can sway with a single, thoughtfully-worded post. A voting bloc that they command like a puppeteer. A force to be reckoned with! Displease me at your peril!
Well, I got news for ya sparky. If all of the influence and power you have in this world is a google/blogger account just like mine? You ain't shit, just like me.
I'm not saying that public officials shouldn't be held accountable or that blogs aren't a legitimate and necessary means for doing so. Far from it. But for GOD'S SAKE let the shrillness and the volume of your protest be proportionate to the level of the perceived wrong. Not every misstep or bungled communication rises to the level of the Watergate break-in. Lighten the fuck up!
Don't be the blogger who cried Wolf. If you want to be taken seriously, be serious. Get your facts straight and post a journalistic and responsible position that stands up to close scrutiny. Rebut criticism with well researched counter points rather than personal attacks.
Or, you can be like me.
I don't ever want to be taken seriously. I don't give a rat's ass if what I say sways anyone's opinion about anything. In fact, I hope I NEVER do. Because most of the time I'm just venting and don't have any idea what I'm talking about. You'd be an idiot to take any "advice" I spew. Especially about relationships!!
Just like it says on the label, I'm just "a cranky, old, white guy spewing often ill-informed opinions about whatever the Hell he wants, just because he can. Deal with it, bitch."
If I start thinking that I'm anything more than that, kick me in the junk HARD just to get my attention, and then bitch-slap me just like this:
I'm just an attention whore here to feed my own ego. Thanks for stopping by, enabler.