April 05, 2008

McMillan and Shaidle are Irrelevant: It's Time to Let Them Fade

There comes a time when every blogger questions their motives for continuing on with writing or struggles with finding their creativity (I did so openly here and from time to time wonder if I should stayed the course). We all have our reasons for getting into this silly game of online sparring but probably it really comes down to the belief that we have something new to add to the many conversations that are already taking place. We continue on because we are motivated by the feeling that that something new we are saying is somehow relevant. Relevancy, however, takes work and time.

If we are struggling to find our voice, the one that we originally were trying to channel, our posts can become just partisan rehash or an echo of some interesting oped we've read and we work with that until we find our voice once again. Or we take time away until we find the right issue to refuel our cells. Sometimes, if things are truly heading south, our posts just become meaningless, inane diatribes that are more about getting attention and getting others riled up than it is about finding your voice and relevancy. In otherwords, you know you've become irrelevant and are merely now looking for something to occupy a void.

I've noticed that there has been quite a bit of nastiness streaming through the Canadian blogosphere of late. I also know I'm not the only one. ALW gave the increase in sniping and disgusting behaviour as a reason for questioning his own continuation with blogging (which only makes his intelligent writing more relevant than ever). And from what I can tell it seems that with the increase in nastiness there has also been a decrease in the useful and insightful writing, especially amongst many of the older and more established blogs. More specifically, I'm reffering to Small Dead Animals and Five Feet of Fury (which won't get links from me).

While I've never given Shaidle of FFoF any real credit for anything, McMillan of SDA at one time was a force to be reckoned with. I don't recall ever agreeing with her views but she could make me think - but only long enough for me to realize she was likely wrong. However, for the last while both of these writers have resorted to outright racism, insults, pranks and other garbage. Some of their material has been so obviously prejudice or offensive that it is hard to imagine they didn't know what they were saying prior to writing what they had. And there is my point. These two writers, while still popular - albeit, with a less than desirable crowd - are no longer writing anything useful, insightful, original or the like. They are playing to a particular audience with a generally, warped view of reality. It's more about getting attention, putting down those they don't care for and upsetting others.

Someone could make the argument that both SDA and FFoF are relevant because either they are presenting the viewpoint of a small, marginalized group or because their usefulness comes through providing the arguments that need to be tackled by other defenders. However, in their instances, I have my doubts that either case is made. For one, everyone already knows that these type of people and viewpoints exist. Also, some of the garbage they have said has been so specifically, directed at an individual or individuals who are not members of the offended group, that any point they may have been trying to make is lost and/or discredited (as if it had any credit anyway). As well, they have yet to actually make serious cases for these types of viewpoints. Both have went on tangents that are not backed up by any evidence or statement of realistic fact. Generalizations, stereotypes and prejudices are the norm which only goes to show that either the positions hold no weight or aren't actually believed by the author. In either case, their points are then moot.

So what would lead someone to write the such unsubstantial swill? Attention. They just want attention. They have nothing original or substantial to say, so they are willing to say anything as long as it gets some people pissed off or others burning crosses. They aren't worried about the consequences of what they say because they are nicely isolated away in their homes, behind their computers, laughing at how others react to their latest crap, safely knowing that their lives will hardly be effected by whatever may come from what they just said.

Unfortunately, in the short term their stunts can only do more harm than good for those on the receiving end of their brand of bigotry and masturbation. Fortunately, in the real world, there is little use for these types of people and they, in the big scheme of things, factor very little. And therefore, SDA and FFoF have become irrelevant and should be viewed and treated as such. Good riddance to them both.

Side Note:
No one should twist my post into some sort of attempt to make claim to my own relevance. I know that in the grande scheme I have little influence. However, that type of relevancy is different than providing something new or different, which is the type of relevance that I'm dealing with here.


leftdog said...

Excellent post and pretty solid arguments being made here. I've noted that Kate especially seems to have to steadily increase her outrageousness to satisfy the hunger of her fanbase. Like junkies who deveolp tolerance and need the fix to ever increase in potency, they demand more and more.

janfromthebruce said...

great post.

Jason Cherniak said...


Blazing Cat Fur said...

Keep dreamin guys;)

Skinny Dipper said...

I don't blog as much now. I realize that I can make more of a contribution to life by actually talking to people face-to-face. This doesn't mean that blogging is irrelevant. It just means that I am more selective about what I write.

I know that my audience base is limited. I do like to know that I can change the minds of some people. When I read other people's blogs, I don't look for the ones that agree with me; I look for the ones that will challenge the way I think. Name-calling blogs such as McM. and S. do not do it for me. Blogs that provide content are worth reading. I enjoy reading Ezra Levant's blog, not because I agree with him, but because he makes me think in different ways. Warren Kinsella's blog does the same, especially when he comments about events related to Levant.

Andrew Coyne seems to have left fulltime blogging and concentrates on Maclean's. Apparently, lots of people read Maclean's; not as many read his blogs. Also, he has mentioned that the quality of his blog writing is not as good as when he writes for Maclean's. Another also, he gets paid at Maclean's. I don't know how much money he gets paid when he blogs--probably not much more than I. I make the Flaherty minimum wage: $0/hr.

Keep blogging. Know who your audience is. Know what to write and what to read. Turn off your computer and go ride a bike. Leave your Blackberry at home.

John West said...

Kate, Kathy and Ezra are relevant and becoming more so everyday.

As our Western world diminishes economically as it presently is, a great tendency to move the right for survival will become apparent.

As that happens it is you on the Left who will be irrelevant as you already are to every thinking person, but not to yourselves. That is the delusion of Liberalism.

The only answers you have for every problem is to tax the rich and reduce freedoms. We have already seen where that leads time and time again ... Cuba, North Korea, the former Soviet Union and others. See Chavez? See his people? See Africa? See?

It is collectivism and the folly of moral relevance that those bloggers are railing against and that is most worthy. We already what system works best. And those of us who know better value freedom and prosperity not matter how unfair you think that is.

Kyle said...

John West,

You're reply is a joke, right?

The shift to the right, the irrelevance of the left to thinking people, only ideas are to tax and limit freedom, comparisons to North Korea et al....

It's too funny, to say the least, that you could have posted all that with a straight face. You're either being completely ironic in some way or you're completely ignorant.

Shaidle and McMillan aren't anymore relevant to the current discourses as your reply was to my posting. Maybe you should address my arguments rather than going off on an anti-left tirade. S&M haven't made any significant contribution as of late. I've heard all of M's comments before and the rest of her material is just racist crap. S is just crap in general and also prejudice.

Quotes from people smarter than me...

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich" ~ JFK

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. " ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. " ~ Benjamin Franklin

"First it is necessary to stand on your own two feet. But the minute a man finds himself in that position, the next thing he should do is reach out his arms. " ~ Kristin Hunter

"When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans." ~ Jean Chretien

"Which is ideology? Which not? You shall know them by their assertion of truth, their contempt for considered reflection, and their fear of debate." ~ John Ralston Saul

"It is undoubtedly easier to believe in absolutes, follow blindly, mouth received wisdom. But that is self-betrayal." ~ John Ralston Saul

"Everybody dies, Tracey. Someone's carrying a bullet for you right now, doesn't even know it. The trick is to die of old age before it finds you." ~ Cpt. Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly, Episode 12)