Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Blogging about Commenting on a Blog Where Comments are Not Allowed and the Blogs Where We Can Comment About That

I need to confess something to all 8 (that’s a very generous estimate) of you that read my blog. I don’t know how an RSS feed works. Otherwise, I would use it. Because apparently it will consolidate and email you all the stuff that you want to read but forget to read. And maybe if it did, I would have known about the Great Commenting-Gate of 2009. Here’s the thing: there’s too many blogs and I can’t keep up with them. Mine included. Hell, I am not even reading what I am typing right now. Please don’t mistake this as a “aren’t I so cool and busy and important?” kind of thing because there are times when I get home after work and spend a solid hour catching up on what Perez Hilton drew dicks on today. I’m not that highbrow. I know I should be checking to see what new slings and arrows have been tossed in the convention center hotel debate. But Miss California doesn’t like gays! And a 12 year old got arrested for drunk driving! But I digress.

HUGE EFFING DISCLAIMER: I love you, Bethany and Trey Garrison and Daniel and RayRay and Grampa Walton and Tupac and the Sultan of Brunei and whomever else is involved in this and has a blog. And I try to keep up. I do. But here’s the thing: I forget. So yesterday I got a link to a posting on the Dallas Morning News in which the DMN rolled out the welcome mat to regular commenters from D Magazine’s FrontBurner to Team DMN. Why? Well, I backtracked a little more. FrontBurner was no longer going to allow comments. Someone sat on the comment button and turned them off. Then I backtracked a little more and read that there was some conspiracy theorists who found it suspect that this move came the day after Tim Rogers posted a particularly vitriolic post aimed at a PR person. Ok, now I’m caught up. Now let’s all be Nero and play “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” as Commenting Rome burns.

I’m not trying to be Jordan Catalano about this but I can only muster up three opinions about this whole thing. Part of that is probably down to the recreational Xanax habit I’ve decided to develop.

1. Considering that any time I am around friends who have lives outside the dorkbox and I mention something D Magazine-related, they stare at me with a morphine drip stare, let me give you a synopsis of the Tim Rogers thing. Some PR person for a sunglasses shop that is opening in NorthPark soon sends two promo packages via FedEx to Tim Rogers at D Magazine. Tim does not write about retail and shopping but knows the appropriate person at the magazine who does. Tim posted something on FrontBurner that was pretty mean-spirited about “Hey PR guy, maybe next time do some research and don’t send a) the same thing twice and b) send it to the right person. Since you didn’t, your promo shit is in the trash now.” I’m paraphrasing. The two sentiments there are admirable. Removing doubles from a mailing list? Green and cost-effective and generally easy as shit to do. By the way, “easy as shit” is profesh verbiage. Also, hiring a local PR company who knows local publications and can get your kit to the right person in town is the best money you can spend.

All that being said, I don’t know what the point was of spanking the guy so publicly. If you really HAD to put him in the stocks and hurl your rotten veggies at him, why not say “Open Letter to PR Companies: Don’t send the same thing twice. Also, send it to the right person. Also, very basic research will tell you who that person is. Try a little harder.” The whole putting the stuff in the trash, whether it was merely symbolism for 'this shit gets old’ or not, had a “my wang is bigger than yours” sort of vibe to it.

2. Now that is out of the way, is it so bad that FrontBurner doesn’t allow comments anymore? Does it really make D Magazine an evil, filthy and clearly corrupt empire? Just like that dirty oily whore Belo? I don’t, for a moment, buy D’s cover of “the comments were always just supposed to be a conversation between editors” because I figure if you’re smart enough to have gotten a job at D Magazine, you’re smart enough to have heard of and be able to install some sort of instant messaging program on your computer on which you can communicate with your fellow employees and editors.

But if online media is ever going to be the Coca-Cola and not the Dr. Thunder of journalism, don’t you have to have some authority? You couldn’t go buy the newspaper, disagree with the columns and fire up a pocket Guttenburg press to amend or fire back a retort to what you just read right there in Woolworth’s. You could yell at the newspaper but then you were just a crazy person. So you just wrote a letter to the newspaper or you sat on your porch with your friends and family and you talked about why you thought the newspaper was wrong and maybe if enough of you thought someone at the paper had really gotten it wrong, they would print a retraction or someone would print your letter or write a counterpoint to whatever made you mad originally.

A camel is a horse by committee and FrontBurner was journalism by committee. Which is kind of like journalism only with 45 different people all writing their own articles at the same time. And my mom made me ride a camel at Scarborough Fair when I was a kid and they smell like manure and feet and old egg salad sandwiches.Yes, there were discussions but when were magazines (even the online versions) supposed to be a place for discussions? That’s like going to the dentist to get measured for a new pair of shoes. They just don’t seem particularly congruent to me. I guess people then respond with, “But who’s going to keep them in check and discuss the topic at hand and call people (editors?) out?” to that point. No one. That’s how you know FrontBurner is a big boy and can go potty all by themselves now and are taking a leap to being kind of like a real media kind of thing. Now everyone gets to form their Wick Allison conspiracy theories or their D Magazine agendas or their obvious FrontBurner pro-indoor dog park bias grinding axes. Just like the Dallas Morning News!

3. But we want to talk! We need to discuss things! - Yes, I agree. I couldn’t agree more. I love talking about things like feeding midget Polynesian transvestite hookers into woodchippers as to better fit them into the small trunks of luxury rental cars. I like respectfully disagreeing about politics and guns and whatever else I ever respectfully disagreed with people about on FrontBurner. But there’s too many places, too many blogs, too many comment threads, too many logins, too many URLs, too many bookmarks. And I’m the asshole who’s only adding to the problem with this blog.

Maybe I’m not particularly bright and everyone else has these things scrolling across the ticker that is projected inside the lenses of their reflective Oakley sunglasses (ask Tim Rogers about where one would be able to purchase such a pair of sunglasses) and they don’t get flustered by all of it. I don’t see any point in trying to hunger strike page views from D Magazine as some sort of “take that!” to them for disabling comments. I don’t feel personally rejected about the fact that I can no longer coin phrases like “Pontiac of Justice” on that particular website. If someone just puts everything in one place and spins me around and points my dizzy body in the right direction, I will gladly offer up whatever semi-useless pithy commentary I can muster up. And I kindly thank thee.

Now to see who peed themselves onstage recently…


Grampa Walton said...

Xanax habit? That would explain the sudden change in writing style. So should I drop Amy Winehouse and take you? Keep Any Winehouse for a few more months, then trade for you? Will you keep us posted?

amandacobra said...

While a nice, controllable Xanax habit would be fun, I am sad to say that part was an embellishment. Any changes in my writing style as of late can be chalked up to a job change, moving to a new house and perhaps the most deadly of all, getting satellite TV again.

I will let you know when I a free agent and you can use my bird rights to trade me for Winehouse. But word to the wise...have you seen those "pasta burns" on her leg?

amandacobra said...

"when I a free agent" = "when I AM a free agent"

I am also taking part in a drug study involving a highly controversial experimental therapy which makes you allergic to the letter M. I don't know if I am in the placebo group or if I am getting the real thing yet. Will keep you posted.

Spamboy said...

My life went on before FrontBurner. It will go on after FrontBurner.

Spamboy said...

BTW, it is my goal to be the *one* commentor that brings down a particular blog's entire communications channel. Lemme know if my attempt at online arson succeeds.

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