Monday, January 26, 2009

and all our hopes, and all our friends

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.

41 comment(s):

She Likes It Loud said...

I thought you were just being you, which is why you got recognized in the first place. You use your teeth and it's clearly part of a laid back grin, not a rabidly, snapping bite.

The politics of blogging - fuck it.

Andrew said...

SLIL - Thanks, that's very kindly expressed. You've got the point in a way I think a lot of people never will.

Sarah Gostrangely said...

Im with SLIL, fuck politics...let's get drunk.

(feel free to mock my ignorant sensibilities, but most of the time I can't be *arsed*)

C'est La Craic said...

Fair play Andrew, I thought it was going to be an apology post there for a minute.
If Damien Mulley wants to turn his blog into a business opportunuty, more power to him but I don't see why everyone is so keen to be an unpaid party to it. Stick to your guns boy-o

Annie said...

I both nominated myself for an award (best photoblog because I knew no other fucker would) AND I made a 'nominated' badge for my friend's sidebar, so I am totally one of those people you were taking the piss out of. I didn't mind though: I thought the badge was funny, which is why I laughed at it so much when I first saw it at Gimme's.

But it's okay that people were offended, y'know. Let's not forget that it was supposed to be offensive in the first place; that was what was funny about it.

Andrew said...

Sarah - yeah, you're right. 'cept I'm unconcerned with the politics, it's just one particular prick who gets my goat.

CLC - Cheers. It's an apology insofar as one can apologise without retracting a word they said. And the old-fashioned sense of 'apology' meant an explanation, rather than an expression of contrition.
As for the Mulley ring-kissing, I can only assume they all have shares in Mulley Communications. Or that he's one hell of a cuddler.

Annie - Exactly, it was a bit of light-hearted slagging.
As for it being intentionally offensive, it was only mildly so. Rosie and I both bandy that word around like it's going out of fashion. She used it in conversation with her grandmother once, honest to cunt she did.

private said...

Do you reckon that if you were to punch Damien in Cork the room would fall into stunned silence. Then after a few seconds of this one person would slowly start to clap. Others gradually join in. The clapping gets louder, faster. Cheering starts. You get to pump your fists above your head, the whole room erupts. You just walk out of the room with the cheers echoing in your ears.

Live the dream man. Go to Cork.

Andrew said...

Christ, you paint a glorious picture. I reckon it would be like punching Gollum, both physically and morally. Slightly slimy, almost certainly worth doing, but neither difficult nor brave.

Voodoolady said...

Irish bloggers take things waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too seriously.

12stories said...

*pets your head* Am surprised you got such a heated response. Maybe cause I'm fairly oblivious to blog politics. (Must check out this dastardly Mulley fella.)

My friend Joey (bubbleboy.blogspot.com) got nominated, and was privately self deprecating in much the same manner as your cute badge, though he was also pretty chuffed - as I would be.

I was wondering why the nominations list even got publicised, but Rick's reply to the post makes sense - to give people extra readers in the oh-so-ephemeral blogosphere. But yeah, the badge is pretty meaningless.

Rosie said...

thin skins, VoodooLady, and swollen egos.

*pop*

rickoshea said...

Yes.

We all have shares in Mulley Communications.

Or are stupid and being duped.

I knew I was missing something.

This is going to break friendships and nothing blog related is ever worth that...

Xbox4NappyRash said...

I reckon you and that Mulley character are in this together...

Very shifty altogether, what's your cut?

Twenty Major said...

Irish bloggers take things waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too seriously.

You mean like someone who might punch someone they've never met in the face?

Andrew said...

Rick - No, something like this would never break an actual friendship.

Twenty - Jesus, posts about blogging bring out the big boys, don't they?
I'll punch anyone who calls someone I love a 'bitter cunt', wouldn't you? Or who called you a 'dumb fuck', as Mulley has now done. Anyway, despite the fact I don't write under a character name, I was, in this instance, being facetious.

Anonymous said...

Bout time someone had a go at Mulley and voiced what many of us are thinking in secret. I for one have had enough of him

Twenty Major said...

Anyway, despite the fact I don't write under a character name, I was, in this instance, being facetious.

I'm not sure what one has to do with the other.

I'll punch anyone who calls someone I love a 'bitter cunt', wouldn't you? Or who called you a 'dumb fuck', as Mulley has now done.

Well fair play to you for making sure nobody's unaware of where you cross the line into physical violence, Andrew. At least they can't say they weren't warned.

jothemama said...

I don't know Andrew. Maybe we can't be friends any more...

jothemama said...

Twenty. This from a man who has stated there's nothing he wouldn't do to his worst enemy. Or celebrities he despises.

It's all just babble, isn't it?

Nobody's punching anyone.

Will you all just climb out of the sandbox and have your juice now.

Maybe a biccy.

Twenty Major said...

Oh come on Jo. Everyone's allowed punch/kill/mutilate celebrities.

But you're right, it's ALL just babble.

jothemama said...

Well, I think Damien Mulley probably qualifies as a celbrity at this stage, non?

Unless he's someone's celebrity mate...

rickoshea said...

Thank Christ I'm not a celebrity, so.

Jo, this situation is badly in need of a schoolteacher like yourself.

Maybe give us all lines?

sheepworrier said...

All personal blogging by definition is an exercise in vanity and is permeated with back-slapping, self-congratulatory cliques. Some blogs are worth reading, others are not...

I agree that Mulley (based on his online persona) seems to be a pompous, precious twat. But what is the big issue here? That Andrew spoke his mind? That he takes exception to the blog awards? A bit of perspective from all involved in this debate would be welcome.

jothemama said...

Arse. Cebrity... you heard me...

Radge said...

Fuck it, had a big long spiel on logos and sycophancy and nonsense and awards and...

Turns out I don't really have a clear opinion on the whole thing, which is why it's not mentioned on my blog...

I know the person that nominated me, I thanked him, I wrote about Isla Fisher because she gives me a certain stature in the loins.

Ben said...

Back in '74 i had a logo, but they weren't called logos back then, chlamydia i think, it's with a soft 'h'.

Nothing that some rest, recouperation and a four hourly fix of cream wouldn't help.

That and of course the need to stop banging brazzers.

My 2 cents anyways.

Annie said...

Oh, I wasn't referring to the word 'cunt' as being the offensive bit. I mean the overall point of the badge in the first place was offensive.

jothemama said...

Ben,have you considered working for the UN?

Andrew said...

Twenty - I meant that pseudonymous bloggers are able to be completely flippant about things and have people understand that. You can wish death on Ryan Tubridy and everyone laughs, or nods solemnly (in my case).

Yes, it's all babble.

Jo - you may have to ask Rick about that. He's terribly strident at the moment. Maybe ask him later though, his Facebook status says he's angry right now.

Perspective has been sadly lacking in all of this, Sheepworrier.

I fucking love Isla Fisher.

Ben, fuck, I could never be as funny as you. You know I love you, right? Rotted penis and all.

C'est La Craic said...

Keep on chuggin' Andrew. Fuck the rest of them. They all came to see where the big words were being handed out. Apparently it's here.
Anybody who wants to contradict that can explain why they are reading this comment.

sineadkeogh said...

Maybe it's my need to mollify people, but I see both sides of this. I was pleased (and not surprised, because someone had told me they were doing it) to be nominated, but didn't want to put up a post because "I'm part of a big group of people who all turned left and patted each other on the back" would've been a really long permalink. By the same token, if my nomination had come out of nowhere and I hadn't been expecting it, I'd genuinely be feeling a little warm inside that someone had bothered to think of me. Being recognised, even as part of a startlingly long longlist, can mean a lot to people. Let's face it, we're all bloggers who scarpered off to the internet to make our friends; apparently we're sensitive types who didn't lead the gang at school. Maybe thank you posts are just people being consumed with the joys of a bit of acceptance. Having said all that, I still like Damien - and not because he's some sort of internet God, just because I've found him to be a genuinely decent skin to me. You have your reasons for your dislike, but punching is low class kid, don't do it :). This really wasn't meant to ramble on so much...suffice to say everyone's a bit sensitive and should take two steps away from the keyboard. It's only blogging.

MJ said...

Hhmmm. My favourite part of blogging is commenting and I've refrained from public comment on this one, although chatted with Andy about it on Gmail.

I just wanted to say... Wouldn't it be apt if Andrew DID win an award. Because after all, a blog that stands out from the crowd is worth shining that spotlight on. I'm not saying I agree with him or anyone who's been getting upset with him either, but I do enjoy reading Andy simply because it's a different tone to other more mainstream blogs.

Andy, sometimes your posts make me mad, I find your opinions infuriating. But it's flipping freedom to publish that we're all here for! That's why I read them. Who wants to read boring auld shite anyway? Not me. You want to read things that make you think and evoke some sort of response.

I don't care if you go or not, but I will keep reading...

red said...

Andrew, Please, please, please stop fretting about this- especially on my account. You really didn't make me feel bad. I swear. I don't even feel as bad about not having friends as it must sound on my post.

All I was saying is that the downside of my way of living is I don't have the mates around me to do all the things friends do- get pissed, have parties, nominate each other for awards. That's all.

I wasn't boasting when I put the nominated logo on my thank you post, i was saying thanks to the people who don't know me, who read the scrapbook and nominated me. That's it. I included the picture because I always include pictures and it seemed appropriate.

Like I said at the beginning of this mess, I don't follow the politics of the Irish blog world. I read the blogs I like and that's it. I like your blog, I read your blog. You haven't caused me any hurt or offence. I promise. We good now?

jothemama said...

That doesn't sound like a lost friend :)

Andrew said...

I took a day off from the internet yesterday. I highly recommend it. I realised it was the only sensible thing to do when my real-life friends were asking me why I looked so pissed off and distracted. What could I say? "Um, I kind of went along with a sentiment expressed by people a bit cleverer than me on the internet and now some people who seem like very nice sorts are a bit offended. And then I stupidly tried to explain it a little more and then even more people got annoyed and then a mate of mine got bored and linked to it and now some guy in Cork who people think is a big deal but who you'll never have heard of is calling me lots of nasty names and just being very rude altogether, and other people who should know better are chiming in and it's all not very nice at all."
What the fuck would anyone with a reasonable sort of mind say to that? "Andrew, shut the fuck up and c'mon to Burger King," probably.

This was funny for a couple of moments, then it was silly, then it got nasty, and then it went back to silly, and now it's just boring.

I like writing stuff, I'll do some more of that soon.

jothemama said...

Aw, no fun. Go on, insult someone's mother...

Lindsey said...

Aw, I'm sorry that there's been so much shit. I thought it was genuinely amusing (but then I didn't know that such things as blog awards existed. Knowing they do isn't about to change my blogging [lack-of-] habits though).

Anyway, chin up, old bean. I still love you (and not just because I'm contractually obliged to).

Andrew said...

Cheers Linds, I'm grand now. This stuff is funny, it's just a fact of life that there are those in the Irish blogosphere who will massively over-react to what they perceive to be even the slightest of slights. I thought my original post was just a way of poking fun at what i saw as a little bit of over-excitement, and a self-deprecating way of saying that it was nice to be nominated but it doesn't mean a whole lot yet. Sadly,you have to be precisely that wordy for some people to get it. I didn't think badly of anyone who did it. I think badly of paedophiles and Gerry Ryan, that's mostly it.

gimme a minute said...

Sadly,you have to be precisely that wordy for some people to get it.

Yeah, but not the ones that count.

Seanboy said...

Thinking badly of Gerry Ryan is a hallmark of good character & sound judgement

narocroc said...

Deja vu anyone?

So the moral of this whole blogisode is that Gerry Ryan is a paedophile right? Fuckin hell Andrew, that's mad. So I should punch him, maybe?!?

Oh and blog and let blog you crazy diamonds.