Have no fear, the age of the anti-blogger has arrived

Column for publication in The Kamloops Daily News, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2008 Move over, Barry Baker, Chad Moats, Gregg Drinnan and Brian Alexander. Eat your heart out, Arjun Singh. There’s a new blogger in town, and it is me. Say it ain’t so. After spending more time than necessary to trash bloggers during the past few months, is there nothing left but to become one, to slide ignominiously into the dark side? Apparently. I may as well confess to checking out a selection of local blogs on almost a daily basis. Some are a waste of time, but there are exceptions, such as Barry Baker’s well-informed and thoughtful Right Up Your Alley. (If Baker is not careful, he’s in danger of giving blogging a good name.) And I often check in with Singh’s Your Kamloops. Blogging does provide an interesting source of gossip, churlish character assassination and, occasionally, insight into what makes our community go. My understanding of the term blogger is that it defines one who has nothing of value to say, has no inclination toward even the most elementary research, but has an overwhelming compulsion to tell the world what he or she thinks about everything. Sounds good to me. Blogging has its good points. Murphy Kennedy met Chad Moats that way, and Moats is now Kennedy’s campaign manager. Down at Cowboy Coffee the other day, I heard Arjun Singh described as an anti-councillor. I like that description. He probably would, too. Therefore, I am the anti-blogger. I blog, but I refuse to be a blogger.

I have no idea what that means, but keep in mind bloggers write anything at all that pops into their heads.

As Baker said in welcoming me to the blogosphere, “Be careful what you wish for.”

So, make a note of this: That is my blog. For the past week or so, I’ve been quietly blogging away. It is mostly the fault of Catherine Litt, the Reader’s Reporter.

I was tooling around, out of curiosity more than anything, on the WordPress “how to set up a blog” site and getting bogged down (or maybe blogged down). Since I am not good at following instructions, I called Catherine in and asked her how it’s done. She tapped away on my keyboard for about half a minute and said, “There, you’re on line.”

“I’m what?” I said.

“You can start blogging now,” she said.

So, I’ve been blogging about local issues, about the news business, and, especially, about politics. I took a swipe at council candidate Kevin Skrepnek a couple of days ago for his past indiscretions and profanities, and I took a swipe at Betty Hinton for her past and current Toryism.

Next week, I intend to launch a new category, called something like Inside City Hall: Being Mayor. It will be about what it’s like to be in civic government, based on personal experience. I think it will surprise some people.

It seems to me I have an opportunity here to share with people things they wouldn’t normally get to know about civic politics, things that may be of assistance in making decisions in this November’s civic election.

By the way, while I’ve been somewhat unkind to Skrepnek for his disrespectful blogging in which he has cussed like a sailor about people he doesn’t like (he says he was young and foolish then; he’s 21 now) he is a choirboy compared to another local observer of politics.

Brian Alexander, who by his own admission has been banned from City Hall for security reasons, has been blogging for the past few months.

Alexander’s site is a classic example of why some people shouldn’t blog, or even open their mouths to speak.

In a lengthy, foul-mouthed, marginally literate, error-soaked diatribe on everything from pine beetles to the Tournament Capital Centre to water treatment, Alexander lays out a manifesto for those who are convinced anyone at all connected to Kamloops civic government is involved in a conspiracy to cheat taxpayers out of their money.

As he puts it, “I’m not hear (sic) to make friends.”

I marvel at his lack of familiarity with basic facts, but he has a right to his opinions. Unfortunately, you’d have to be totally into self-flagellation to put yourself through the pain of reading his rants.

But if you stick with it long enough, you will come to the salient point buried deep in his words of questionable wisdom:

“I am making a call to all to create a group of individuals to lead this city out of the dark. If you would like to join the movement and run for council or mayor as a controlling group please contact me. I am looking to start a new political party; ‘Citizen Solidarity,’ first on a local level by having a group of individuals run for council and even mayor, so please step forward, together we can help make Kamloops a great city to live in like it once use to be.”

That paragraph is probably the only one on the whole blog that doesn’t use profanity every second word. Alexander is the unofficial spokesman for people who are angry with government, and are convinced that if they were running the show everything would be set right, and that if you are abusive enough and loud enough, others will listen.

We all make our own judgments about those who speak out. We also judge them on the manner in which they do it. Alexander is living proof that we live in a democracy where anybody can express an opinion, no matter how rude or misinformed.

Ain’t blogging grand?

About Mel Rothenburger (6186 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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