Wednesday, July 29, 2009

'Unseemly obsession'?

Little Miss Attila accuses me of some sort of Freudian complex involving the SiteMeter. Perhaps the Blogospheric Neologian can coin a term for this.

Look, Attila: The writer is ultimately less important than the reader. If it weren't for readers, no one would bother writing. So the writer who seeks a larger readership cannot be presumed to be engaging in mere self-aggrandizement. Given that there is no TV network, publisher, agent, think tank, advocacy group or political party willing to spend a dime promoting my work to the wider world, the DIY-hype approach is the only alternative to the extreme traffic suckage that leads to blog-death.

Growth or entropy, take your pick. If folks in the newspaper industry had been more attuned to giving their readers something worth reading -- something interesting and occasionally surprising -- maybe I'd still be getting paid a full-time salary to fill reams of newsprint. Instead, the industry surrendered its fate to high-priced consultants and know-it-all ASNE panelists, so even if I were interested in a return to the dead-tree racket, why rush to be the last passenger aboard the Lusitania?

So I'm flinging pixels across the 'sphere and, as Chris Muir recently reminded me, trying to have fun.

If you're not having fun, you'll burn out. And if you take this politics crap too seriously, it'll drive you nuts. While I've been certifiably nuts ever since that unfortunate 1979 incident involving psilocybin mushroom tea and Bolivian flake cocaine -- Just Say No, kids -- maintaining a simulacrum of sanity requires that I occasionally get my Gonzo on.

So I indulge in little inside jokes and, as a great philosopher once said, the issue here is not whether we broke a few rules, or took a few liberties with our female party guests.

We did. Or at least Professor Douglas did.

Well, you can do what you want to Donald Douglas, but we're not going to sit here while you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!

OK, that brings us around to Cassandra, who offers a splendid opportunity for double entendre that I'll uncharacteristically resist. Instead, I'll take up the comment she left in Monday's post:
Stacy, if you want to argue with something I actually said, knock yourself out :p I'll be more than happy to debate you on the merits.
But knocking down straw men doesn't answer the mail. Kurtz didn't link to the live video (repeatedly, just in case someone still hadn't seen it), nor did he equate taking advantage of a crime committed against an innocent woman as part and parcel of "heterosexual male-dom."
Exploitation is exploitation, ma'am, and your defense of Howard Kurtz approaches the event horizon of that philosophical black hole known as moral relativism. (As Stephen Hawking theorized, when one approaches such a point, time slows down and the force of gravity nears the infinite, which is probably neither here nor there so far as it concerns Erin Andrews, although it would have been a mind-blowing concept to ponder back in 1979.)

In my very first mention of the aforesaid Google-bomb, I tried to employ gentle humor to dissuade the Professor from further pursuing this unfortunate meme. When it quickly became apparent, however, that (a) the MSM were all over it and (b) other bloggers were weighing in on the Professor's ethics, I felt obliged to address the topic more directly:
Like Dan Riehl and Don Surber, I had no clue who Erin Andrews is before this incident. I feel wrong even blogging about it, and I'm notoriously shameless when it comes to traffic enhancement.
Generally, however, it seemed to me that Donald had gotten himself into a fix where friendly persuasion would achieve better results than a fire-and-brimstone sermon. Even geniuses sometimes make mistakes and, while the professor clearly crossed the event horizon, one can hardly argue that his Icarus-like adventure was entirely fruitless.

Given that I was nearing deadline on a 3,000-word feature about IG-Gate for the September print issue of the American Spectator (subscribe now to the only dead-tree publication that still matters), even while new developments were popping up left and right, not even Hawking's time-warp theory could possibly provide me enough time to read everything that everyone wrote about this controversy.

Like a sophomore slugging Red Bull as he furiously crams for a test he'd forgotten was this Wednesday, or a hurried tourist rushing through the Louvre ("Oh, look, Seurat!") during a two-hour tour-bus stop, all I could do was to conjure a rough gestalt impression of what the hell was going on.

Therefore, Ms. Cassandra, please excuse my failure to engage what Conor Friedersdorf would call your "substantive criticisms." Between one thing and another -- reporting IG-Gate, bashing David Brooks, pushing the Best. Book. Evah! -- maybe I'm a tad overextended lately. Hell's bells, I've barely had time to deride the "sucker's rally" on Wall Street!

Speaking of Wall Street, my recent return to biz-blogging means that I now tune my home-office TV to CNBC while working. Tuesday night, while I was writing this (for posting Wednesday morning, when I'll be getting ready for another shoe-leather trip to Capitol Hill), CNBC presented an hour-long special report:"PORN: Business of Pleasure":
It was once too taboo to talk about, but not anymore. In the new CNBC original production "Porn: Business of Pleasure" nothing is off limits when it comes to the controversial multi-billion dollar industry . . .
CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, takes an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look inside the multibillion pornography business . . .
Time slows down, gravity nears the infinite . . .