There's too much for me to respond to now in the last post, so it seems best just to say a few words and then hopefully put the whole thing to bed.
I've never opened my emails with a sense of trepidation before, but now I'm feeling slightly sick in my stomach every time, wondering who else feels slighted by what I thought was the most throwaway post I've ever written.
See, I read the blog award nomination list last Wednesday and was genuinely pleased to see my blog there. I wasn't surprised, however, as a friend had told me she had nominated me for a couple. "Nice, but no big deal", I thought. I was also amused at how long the lists were. It seemed like everyone who has a blog was in there for Best Personal (though I do realise this is not the case).Perhaps it's the cynic in me, but I couldn't help wondering if a few people had nominated themselves. Not too many people are going to put their hand up and admit to it, but I stand by that suspicion.
Then, later, I saw the logos that had been designed for nominated blogs and laughed. It put me in mind of primary school children who have just formed a new gang, and are wearing badges to show off to the kids who aren't in it. I didn't get to join many gangs as a kid, so it discomforted me. Jump on me for that remark if you will, but it was honestly my gut reaction. I should note at this point that it was the idea of people putting them permanently on their sidebar that I found distasteful, rather than simply using them as a visual aid in a thank-you post (which is what most people have done, admittedly). I know lots of people put up logos for every award they've won or been shortlisted for, and plenty of them are blogs I like very much. Thing is, it reminds me of the teaching colleagues I have who insist on having every little irrelevant qualification they've ever earned listed in the school yearbook, whilst most people just mention that they have the requisite degree. It smacks of either vanity or insecurity to me, and I don't get it. One could argue that it's an eye-catching way of grabbing the attention of a browsing reader, but I'm inclined to think that if the award is justified the content should speak for itself.
So far, so tetchy. I saw the pisstake logo that Rosie had designed for Gimme's blog and I laughed at it. Hard. Because it summed up what I felt. So I pilfered it and dashed off a few lines, in place of having anything imaginative to say. I thought it might be roundly ignored. Instead, it's attracted the opprobrium of those whom I thought had long since abandoned this blog, brought me private, sermon-like emails, brought me point form comments of the kind of "I'm not angry, just disappointed" tone that any teacher would gaze enviously at, and, in one case, has caused an apparently startling level of hurt to someone I've never met, but whose blog I subscribe to and very much enjoy.
In short, people have been offended, much to my dismay. But what was it?
Is it just universally offensive?
No, I've had emails and comments that have been supportive in tone. and the readers on Gimme's blog seemed to find it hilarious. Gimme is a writer of such talent and brevity of wit that he is capable of putting virtually every other blogger in the shade, but he chose to use this simple diagram to illustrate his point. I can only assume that people expect me to be 'nicer' than that. Why? I'm Andrew, there is no character for me to hide behind here, and I write what Andrew thinks. Always have done. Not everything I think gets expressed, but I don't set myself any rules as to what I can or can't say.
Is it because it's personal?
No, not in the slightest. I singled out nobody. I hadn't even seen that any of the first three commenters to get upset had put those logos on their blogs. I have a fondness for all of them, so perhaps I wouldn't have bothered if I had. I don't know. I certainly had none of them in mind when I wrote the few words that I did write. I was, essentially, criticising a phenomenon, albeit a very small one. I detest the phenomenon of reality TV shows, but I don't hate everyone who watches them, or even those who rate their importance above global tragedies when it comes to deciding newspaper headlines.
Is it the crude language?
Hardly. We're all grown-ups here, and I can't imagine that anyone was really appalled by the casual usage of the 'C' word. This is not a family blog and I'm not convinced that there is such a thing. I could put an 'adult content' warning on the blog, but it would prevent some people (including me) being able to access it in work, and it does sound so horribly seedy. I do generally swear in my posts, no-one should have been shocked by it. If you were, grow a thicker skin or read elsewhere.
Is it because everyone else loves Damien Mulley?
It could appear so. Thing is, this post was in no way having a go at him, or the awards he runs. I expressed a distrust for awards in general, something too many people seem not to have gathered. Why so defensive of someone I did not, in this case, denigrate in the slightest? I'm sure you all find him as lovely and fluffy as his links in person, but I feel I have seen enough of his online conduct to strongly dislike him. Were I to meet him in Cork there is a genuine chance I might punch him. So I won't go. I find the all-pervading sycophancy towards him gobsmacking, and I do hope that some day Irish bloggers may feel there is another way.
It matters little though, for as Thomas Aquinas once said, "All I have written feels like straw to me."
I'm sorry to anyone I upset, I truly am.