Slap on the back or slap in the face?
I've been getting email from my friends about the Register-Guard piece for the past 36 hours of which these are typical samples:
congratulations!!!!! At least they spelt your name right!(Well, actually they incorrectly listed the blog's address AND emasculated the image of the blog itself—about which more later). Or, consider this:
Y'know, I could probably write one even crazier (or more crazy, if you will), but I got a feeling after a mere week there would be angry villagers, waving torches and pitchforks, demanding my head.
or, this one:
Congratulations! Better to be known for your zaniness, lest not be known at all!
or even this one:
I don't necessarily see "Wild Man" in a negative light. It would seem to me as if there is a little bit of awe and affection mixed with that appellation. I would be more offended by being called the "craziest blogger." The writer may be referring "crazy" in terms of fun or fearlessness... but it could also mean that they do not take you very seriously.
I think you can wear the "Wild Man" name proudly, but I believe that they could (and should) be challenged if they are questioning your sanity.
Unfortunately, there's a little problem (as I replied to the last email cited):
Dear Name and Address Withheld:
Normally, I might agree with you.
But the problem you have is this: in the space of one paragraph, I'm called "crazy" a "wild man" and a " pornographer."
How the HELL do you think that's going to create any positive impression with anyone?
(And do you really think that Ma and Pa "Main Street"—who are the voters that really matter—will grant me any shred of credibility? Or will they AUTOMATICALLY discount everything I have to say?)
As I said, I think he may have meant it as a "compliment"—I've learned that sometimes your friends' defenses can be more deadly than your enemies' attacks— but they've heated up the skillet hot enough that anybody's "thought" is going to go skittering off like a drop of water on said skillet.
Crazy Wild Man Pornographer—that's what the reptile brain heard.
And so, whether intended as a "compliment" or not, I'm obligated to mount a defense.
I had HOPED to be talking about what I've dug up about Don McIntyre, but, instead, the trolls over at NW Republican and anyone else who needs to shut me up only needs to cite the R-G 'blog' article to attack me personally and to attack my credibility.
How the f*ck is THAT a friendly or helpful thing to do?
No: after carefully sleeping on it for TWO nights, I have to clear the goddam air on this bullsh*t, instead of going after McIntyre, TAO, OIA, et al.
I have to defend my literary and journalistic reputation, as a matter of professional necessity, instead of engaging in pro bono investigative reporting, as a matter of pure citizenship.
And that serves no one. (Although I imagine at some point I'll be accused of serving myself.)
So, here is my defense, as sent out to one of my mailing lists:
The local newspaper says that I'm a "wild man." (The Libran in me is more than a trace offended. I can cite Erté with the best of 'em.)
It is astonishing to me that I can inspire a PBS "NOW" investigation into Howie Rich & Friends last fall, and, just half a year later, the only thing that matters in referring to my blog is that I edited HUSTLER Magazine nearly thirty years ago.
Oh, and that for a decade I was active in the Oregon Democratic party — implicitly linking the two in some odd manner. (They don't note that I was the DPLC and DPO webmaster —across two centuries and two millennia—which would at LEAST be appropriate to the article).
When I arrived in Eugene in 1993, I founded the REGISTER-GUARD's Sunday Book page,* which continues to this day. (This, as well, was not considered newsworthy by the R-G). Nor that I've written professionally since 1976 -- including newspapers from coast to coast, like, the WASHINGTON POST, the LOS ANGELES TIMES, the Portland OREGONIAN and the KANSAS CITY STAR. And, with Gerry Rempel, we kicked Michael Savage off the airwaves in Eugene.
The mainstream media hates and fears bloggers, as we all know. Still, I can't get over the fact that they probably think that they were handing me a "compliment." Now, this may seem like "whining," but, frankly, much as I was willing to shine it on, it finally seemed important to at least correct the historical record. Years hence, some lazy journalist will google the article and misquote it. Perhaps they'll find this "correction," as well. The effort had to, at least, be made.
Just think: it was only a decade ago that I won a gold medal in the first "virtual" World's Fair, as noted in the book A World's Fair for the Global Village By Carl Malamud (page 136).
Anyway, here's the article from Friday's Register-Guard, and here is MY headline:.Slap on the back or slap in the face?
Hart "Wild Man" Williams
[* If you only click on ONE link, please click on this from the R-G, 1-9-1994.]
Or, maybe they're just jealous that blogs naturally hypertext. But, finally, my friend TOMM— whose wise counsel I will have only occasionally heeded for thirty years as of 2008—wrote the following eloquent response (I've added some links to illuminate his points, but they are NOT his choices, nor should they be imputed to be. And note that the R-G's "link" to my blog is incorrect, but I fortunately anticipated just such errata and provided for it, long ago.):
May 19, 2007 6:31 PMBravo, TOMM. So, defense having been mounted, it's time to return to the TAO of electoral chicanery.
Re: The Register Guard Piece
hadn't read the whole piece, but did see the item on yr blog, reaching it by that interesting back door. Old media are still pretty clueless about the whole blogging phenomenon, but in so far as it breaks news stories, aggregates news, or provides insightful commentary, they are all challenged by what is often done better for free. Hence the Broders of the world rant and freak and gin up crap about blogger ethics. And other papers totally go berzerk because the filthy fucking hippies hold them accountable for their lies and incompetence-- as when a GOP candidate cancels a fundraiser with a farm family not rich enough for his current campaign theme and the MSM ignore it in favor of more Edwards haircut drivel, or as when a news story interviews only Republicans or a "debate" questions of Democrats ask procedural questions rather than policy questions, when women, minorities, Dems, and liberals get short shrift on Sunday morning talking head shows, and so on.
Didn't realize there'd been no Drama Pulitzer this year. Reminds me that the advisory committee resigned en mass the year the board refused to grant a prize to Albee for Virginia Woolf and left the envelope empty. These things happen. A prophet is not w/o honor, etc. As you know all too well, "real" bloggers don't do it for the fame but to make a difference. And you know that you continue to do That, even if local notice is both begrudging and more than a little weird.