For better or worse, minus the "or worse" part
Rob wrote a fine piece the other day, skirting the issue of Cub bloggers who manage to walk the precarious tight rope between a ridiculously inflated sense of self-importance and a throbbing, pulsing insecurity complex. Kind of harkens back to the old saying, "If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself." Who knew that Cubs bloggers could turn it into such a finely honed art? They've managed to feel both vain and bitter at the same time when comparing themselves to the same person!
At GROTA, we've thought often about being more of an insult blog. It's a winning concept - identify a stupidly written article (and there are so many out there), rip it to shreds, call the writer names that I'd never use in a face-to-face scenario because it would get me punched (or sued), and profit. Epic win for everybody. The problem is that it requires a tremendous amount of energy that I simply do not have. You would have to strap me to a chair and force open my eyes with toothpicks to get me to regularly read any of the blogs involved in this fiasco.
Maybe it's a winning concept, but then again tabloid journalism often is. And in this case, Cubs blogs are the equivalent of British tabloid op-ed pieces (often featuring writers with scowling pictures above their articles, looking angry and absurd), which feature ridiculous, contrived opinions expressed solely with the intent of evoking a titillating response from the reader. The only problem is that I get the feeling that these idiot bloggers actually mean most of what they say. They actually don't see a problem with the way they act, and they seem to feel a legitimate sense of surprise -- and uproarious anger -- if anybody does to them what they do to others (see an article I wrote this past year in which I merely quoted the things people were saying about me and responded to them -- you'd've thought I unapologetically ran over their children on live TV).
In this case, as you probably know, the target of the bloggers was at first Paul Sullivan. These dopes ask: "how dare he call an idiotic ex Cub an "idiot" (when I've called Sully and others names far worse) and actually get paid a good living for it, while I work in a cubical and stay up past midnight every evening just to blog!?!" And later the target became Julie, who is associated with Chicago Now. The dopes ask in her case: "how dare she latch her fat ass onto a multi-million dollar organization and get wide-spread traction for her work while I slave my fat ass off for maybe a thousand hits a day?!?!"
Well, folks, Paul Sullivan had the right to call Milton Bradley an idiot on his Twitter stream. It wasn't a big deal. He's also not obligated to let you shit-disturb on his page. Why should he? Does he owe you anything? Did you save his life back in 'Nam, only to be betrayed now by his ruthless Twit-Block? The bloggers who objected to Sully's name-calling also had the right to act -- that's right, "act" -- pissed and write a thousand word flaming diatribe against him. But shame on us (even me) for drawing attention to their ridiculous reaction. In making such a big deal out of this, we've given them all the reinforcement they'll ever need to keep acting cantankerous.
Meanwhile, if bloggers have the right to call Sullivan an idiot, then they also have the right to call each other -- and Julie -- names. She obviously doesn't like it, no matter how loudly she protests that she doesn't care, but that's probably part of why they do it. (I think they also like to call her "fat" because it's an easy misdirection of their raging jealousy. Remember, every Cubs blogger arrogantly thinks he or she is the best, and therefore is insanely jealous of any Cubs blogger who is widely recognized as being better. And Julie is better. Deal with it, champ.)
Sullivan has quietly ignored them. That was probably the right response. Not only is this shit way, way below his level, but there's nothing more infuriating than a calm response to an emotional attack. Julie, meanwhile, has made a pretty big deal out of the way she is treated by those dopes, which will just stoke their fire. That was probably not the smartest move on Julie's part.
I write this from my own experiences, of course. This blog has had a handful of run-ins with the sites responsible for this current round of drama. I swore off reading one of the blogs in particular after its head writer failed to wrap his mind around Rob, who follows the Cubs from an emotional stance, not a clinical one (I sort of think he -- the blogger, not Rob -- has Asberger's or something equally debilitating). Said blogger voiced an apparently sincere desire for Rob to drop a toaster while standing in a filled bathtub. I therefore assume he doesn't actually feel offended by Sullivan's use of the word "idiot," but I wouldn't know for sure. I am continuing in my sincere effort to never again read another of his written words. I think that's a lot easier than butting heads with he and his site repeatedly. I don't deny their right to exist and to spout fascist-level hatred at every opportunity, I just choose not to actively participate.
As for the guys on the other end of this debate, I personally believe that, like their debating rivals, they are sincerely unpleasant, petty people. Fortunately for them, a few are also actually pretty funny, hence their dips into the mainstream, which I'm sure has evoked all kinds of jealousy from the bloggers who think they're more deserving. (Sorry, champ, if you were more deserving you'd be on Kap's show, too.) Their problems are many, mostly surrounding their total lack of a sense of the appropriate. Sadly for the blogs they are associated with, sooner or later the ridiculous, flaming insults they launch will overshadow the content of the actual writers... assuming that hasn't already happened.
So, on one end we've got a group of Cubs bloggers who have no sense of the appropriate and, if given enough rope and time, will someday hang themselves with their words. On the other end we've got a group of Cubs bloggers who have no sense of the appropriate, mixed in with an overwhelming fight response to any criticism levied their way.
Sounds like the kind of match that the dating websites could only dream of. May their entanglement last forever, but GROTA and all sensible blogs will likely bow out.
Have at it, boys and girls. We'll be here, talking about the Cubs, for better or worse.