May 03, 2007

Debutante Interview #7 MVRWC Beth

1. Blog name/names?
MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy (yes, with emphasis on "my"), but I really want to change the blog name, although the Hillary! candidacy gives it back its original purpose. I'm open to suggestions for a new name, though.

2. Online name?

3. Reason you blog?
I really have no idea. I think because I feel like I'm supposed to or something, because there are a few people who actually do read every day. The fact that Larry (one of the co-conspirators) and his fellow Marines read MVRWC when they were over in Iraq gave the blog at least another year or two of raison d'etre. I ask myself almost every day why the hell I blog because my REAL blogging is done in email (yes, I do self-censor, and it annoys the hell out of me). Everyone knows I bitch about blogging, but I refuse to quit because I have to vent my aggravation at the stupidity in the world somewhere. And occasionally, I'll find something so wonderful I just HAVE to share it with my twelve readers. But really, if I didn't have "co-conspirators" at MVRWC, I'd have quit long ago. I'm pretty sure the only reason to read MVRWC is to read what Martin writes!

4. Blog topic/passion?
Whatever makes my brain itch, how much blogging/the blogosphere sucks, goatse; I'm particularly fond of pointing out stupidity (especially on the left and with Islamists, where stupidity is de rigeur). Anything and everything, I guess, but mostly politics and the war.

5. How long have you been blogging/reading blog?
Three years. Yes, I do feel like it's been a huge waste of time, for the most part. Then again, time-wasting can be good for the spirit, and maybe the blood pressure. ;-)

6. #1 peeve of bloggers?
Good God, obviously you didn't have me in mind when you asked this question. Got about a week to sit down and listen? Short answer: the blogosphere, the word "blog" (and all its derivations), and...blogging. That about covers it all. (Seriously, you don't want the long answer.)

7. How do you deal with trolls?
I don't allow anonymous or fake email address trolls any more. If you can't stand by your words, you don't deserve to speak in my presence. Otherwise I just let the stupidity speak for itself--and there is never, EVER a coherent, intelligent comment left by a troll. Ever. I don't put up with any bullshit from 9/11 c0nsp1r*cy morons, Jew-bashers, or Islamists, either--that will guarantee an unconditional ban. No exceptions. I'm thinking of adding R0n P*ul fanatics to the insta-ban list, as well. There are just some things I will not tolerate on my dime, and those who don't like it are free to take a f'n hike.

8. Advice to those who want to start a blog?
Don't. Okay, just kidding. First, get a spell-checker--like it or not, your opinions will not be respected if you have crappy writing skills. Then I guess I'd say be a commenter first--pick a few blogs you like, be known there, talk a lot in comments--be comfortable speaking your mind and defending your points. You also will have an edge in being "known." If you CAN, if it's offered somewhere, write some guest posts for an already-established blog; see if you like it. It'll help you gain a following, so to speak. Whatever you do, don't start like I did--I just basically found Blogger by accident on Google, not knowing the first thing about blogs. I decided to try it out just to stick links out there for the people to whom I'd been emailing links, and it just kind of expanded from there as I discovered "real" blogs (as in, blogs that didn't/don't suck like mine did). Comment, comment, comment at other blogs (but do NOT link-whore in the comments!). Most of all, develop an armor-like thick skin and don't take yourself too seriously.

9. Advice/safety of children on the internet?
Obviously, be aware of what your kids are doing. Get censorware on your kids' computers, but be aware that some things will slip through and other sites that are legitimate and useful will be blocked. It's not perfect. Limit their time on the computer, disallow chat, and I would say keep your kids AWAY from MySpace. Know your perfect little angels WILL LIE about their age online, and will lie to you. "Trust, but verify," if you must (I would say "do not trust" your kids on the internet, but your mileage may vary). My daughter is 8 and is quite net-savvy, but we always do the internets together. I also think that in this day and age, this "don't scare the kids" mentality is stupid. Scare the hell out of them, because the world can be a scary place. Don't hide the ugly reality of what could happen if they give their phone number out on the internets, or say where they go to school, or whatever.

10. Where do you see blogging 5 years from now?
Hopefully without me as a part of it. I don't know, but I hope vlogging is dead and buried by then. Some people simply do not belong on that side of a camera. There's a reason why there are talent scouts and casting people out there--the camera isn't for everyone (nor is the microphone, for that matter). Honestly, I've seen people talk about how they think blogging will explode in X years, but really, the way things are in the blogosphere, I don't think so. I think there's a lot of crap that brings great discredit on the blogosphere in general (whether it's warranted or not), particularly the general hostility and petty, amateurish "gotcha" nonsense that goes on. That sort of thing is what stands out in the real world mindset, and particularly in the media. Bloggers may say they don't care what the MSM thinks, but it IS the media that gives bloggers a bigger name. Think Amanda Marcotte is well-regarded by those who've heard of her in the real world now? How about the idiots at Firedoglake, with that cheap blackface Lieberman stunt? How about "Screw 'em" Kos? Think Howard Kurtz (or anyone like him--those who put bloggers' names out in the general public) remembers the "good" (I'm being hypothetical here) stuff they, or other big bloggers, have done? All it takes is one colossal screwup, and all sorts of good work is undone. One may think it's unfair, but I don't; when (political) bloggers primarily go after the media, politicians, political opponents, etc., we're especially vulnerable to criticism and attacks in return. I'd say that's pretty much the way of the universe. You know how people complain more than ever about the negative tone in public discourse? I think the growth of blogs is directly responsible for most of that decline in civility. So basically, I do not think blogs are going to supplant the mainstream media at all, nor should they/we. There's a place for blogs, but they're not going to replace or surpass mainstream media. I guarantee it. At the rate things are going, I'd say blogs may even decline in popularity and relevance after the 2008 elections.

Posted by Greta at May 3, 2007 08:38 AM