Thursday, May 08, 2008

On Not Writing About the Strike

A commenter on one of my recent posts has been jumping off topic to ask why I haven't written about Fairfax Strike. Similarly, the good folks over at the KC Blue Blog wrote a better-than-their-normal post on the topic, but felt the need to close it with "We ask each of our local bloggers to take the time create a post in defense of local working families and in support of UAW Local 31."

I find exhortations to join in and write about a particular topic in a particular manner annoying and even a little unsettling. But, since I'm having difficulty articulating why I feel that way, I suspect my position is on shaky logical ground. I'm interested in your thoughts.

First off, let me distinguish some similar behavior that doesn't bother me in the slightest. I greatly enjoy people genuinely raising issues and asking what I think about them - I usually appreciate the suggestion of a topic. I don't mind even the loaded questions, such as the ones calling out one of the candidates I support on a particular topic. Finally, I have no hesitancy whatsoever about blogs calling for action from its readers (go sign this petition, vote for Obama, visit that restaurant!).

But, somehow, the public exhortation to write about a particular topic in a particular fashion gets my back up. Are they seeking conversation and analysis here, or are they demanding orthodoxy? Are they trying to persuade people toward their position, or are they calling on bloggers to bow to their call? And who are they to try to form an electronic mob to jump out in front of and carry the lead torch? And, finally, isn't it a little presumptuous to think that the Blue Blog's or Gone Mild's predictably liberal views have any importance or relevance to the families of UAW Local 31?

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17 Comments:

Blogger craig said...

Well said Dan. I think they are asking for orhodoxy.
I personally support the employees. I am a huge supporter of organized labor. But this is your blog and you can write about whatever you darn well please.

5/08/2008 7:58 AM  
Anonymous Nuke said...

I am all for old school unions, that protected the life and health and rights of their members. They did a great deal of good.

I do not know all the details of THIS strike tho, so will not take a position.

And that is partially because my own experiences with labor unions have been uniformly bad.

I have seen both sides.

5/08/2008 4:06 PM  
Anonymous Jerry said...

I don't see anything wrong with their post asking bloggers to support the union. It's no different than any other group trying to build support. Love reading your blog Dan but I think you are allowing past differences on the Mayor to cause stretching on this one.

5/08/2008 11:36 PM  
Blogger Muddy Mo said...

Good news, Dan. Your "run from orthodoxy" reflex is in good working order.

5/09/2008 7:42 AM  
Anonymous SSideDem said...

Stand up to the thugs and kneecap breakers Dan because you are not as liberal as you like to play up. Good for you.

5/09/2008 8:32 AM  
Anonymous Dustin said...

Would someone who works for Waifside Ways be wrong in saying go out and support animal abuse? I think that your perspective is kind of lame on this one. You should have put up your thoughts on the strike or unions, but Craig is right, your blog, your way, that's why I read, but be less lame, that post was lame.

5/09/2008 11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How is telling people how to vote or what petition to sign better than asking people to support something? I agree. Lame post.

5/09/2008 1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan -

Your instincts on this one are exactly right. The Blue Blog is a shameless bunch of self-promoters and sock-puppets. I talked to one of them once who admitted that most of their "great post" comments are "done in-house".

It seems to me they're trying to extend their percieved "influence" by bullying others into following their non-existent lead.

Personally, I've ignored them at my blog, because they annoy me, too, but I appreciate your post for analyzing why.

5/09/2008 2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm calling bullsh·t on Anon 2:48pm.

I don't see how their asking people to support is any different than what you do?

5/09/2008 7:06 PM  
Anonymous Erick S. said...

I second Anon 7:06 in calling bs on Anon 2:48's claim.

It wouldn't be the first time that you have talked about politics Dan.

Help me distinguish the difference between " (go sign this petition, vote for Obama, visit that restaurant!)" and "We ask each of our local bloggers to take the time create a post in defense of local working families and in support of UAW Local 31"

I see "ask" in their post. I see "go" "vote" and "visit" in what you don't have a problem with. Are you saying they should use more aggressive words?

5/09/2008 9:09 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Erick -

Good comments. Sincerely, I'm interested in hearing other people's perspectives on this issue.

I suppose the difference, for me, is one of expectation. When I say "vote for Funk" or "visit Pancho's", there is no call on a specific person to perform a specific act. When a commenter comes here and subtly demands a post on the strike, or another blogger calls on his fellow bloggers to "take the time create (sic) a post . . ." and follows it up with a specific email to my personal email address, I feel like I'm being called out on the topic. Perhaps I'm wrong, but the intent seems to be more focused on pressuring me to adopt a certain position and direct attention to Blue's chosen topic than it is to create dialog.

Perhaps it would feel different if they simply directed us to an impartial information source and asked what we thought . . .

If I call on my readers to vote for someone, or eat at a restaurant, or whatever, I am not calling them out individually. If I do a post asking erick S to take a public position following my direction, and email you directly and make certain your response will be publicly visible, that feels different than simply asking you to vote for Obama.

Again, though, this is just my perspective, and I appreciate your differing opinion. What do you think?

I wrote a post about Miley Cyrus, but didn't seek other bloggers to write posts supporting my position. Should I? Would it make a difference?

5/09/2008 9:42 PM  
Anonymous Paul the VI blogs from space said...

An endorsement from SSideDem should be enough to earn eternal damnation, so you may want to buy some sun tan lotion Danny Boy.

John the XXIII and myself were actually very pro-organized labor, but I guess the murder-JPII and Fast Benny have less stringent moral standards than we did. I know you are not even allowed to think about "If you want Peace Work For Justice" anymore Danny Boy.

If the moral standards had not fallen, you would be looking for work at the Montee Law Office like every other failed attorney in this town Dan.

5/09/2008 11:21 PM  
Anonymous JP the 1st said...

They killed me! Why does Dan deny it!

5/09/2008 11:22 PM  
Anonymous Erick S. said...

Point taken but I still don't see the exhortation of this issue.

You wrote "When a commenter comes here and subtly demands a post on the strike, or another blogger calls on his fellow bloggers to "take the time create (sic) a post . . .""

But they didn't. As I read it, they used "we ask" before that.

"When I say "vote for Funk" or "visit Pancho's", there is no call on a specific person to perform a specific act."

Correct you are not calling on a specific person but you are pushing more aggressive than the use of the verb "to ask".

I Don't know Dan, the post didn't makes sense from your point, I think you had other motives behind the post.

5/10/2008 8:59 AM  
Anonymous Dustin said...

Dan,

I miss your wisdom!

: (

5/16/2008 10:48 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

sorry - been really really busy - more later.

5/16/2008 3:38 PM  
Anonymous Bobby said...

You have been condemned to Hell

5/18/2008 10:02 PM  

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