Over at folkbum's rambles 'n' rants, Jay and capper have been addressing this question of "civility" in the blogosphere. I have to wonder of some of these people (not Jay or capper) who thrive on shedding crocodile tears over so-called civility: Is this your first day on the internets, or what?
Because it most definitely ain't mine, and much of what I do here is certainly both a product and reflection of internet culture, which is unique. And if you don't appreciate it, then don't read it. More to the point, if you don't read it, then don't make absurd generalizations about it. The latter is generous advice, in that those who do only make themselves look foolish.
Case in point.
What amazes me the most is that a few apparently humorless and (unsurprisingly) conservative bloggers seem to believe that my subtitle, "The Champagne of Hate Blogs," is actually a serious advertisement for myself. I assumed such people knew about Bill O'Reilly. Anybody who's observed that clown performing knows that one of his favorite schticks is raving about the so-called "hate left" and their internets bloggers, whom he calls Nazis and so forth. Nazis!
Full disclosure: Bill O'Reilly is a determinedly fatuous buffoon and "The Champagne of Hate Blogs" is a facetious, self-deprecating acknowledgment of his tremendous idiocy and, as should be blindingly obvious to just about any self-respecting Wisconsinite (and beyond), it's a nod to the advertising slogan of a very famous and legendary Milwaukee brand.
Milwaukee is my adopted home and I happen to love it here, and I'm grateful for all the wonderful friends I've made, "hate bloggers" and otherwise. And there isn't a "hater" in the lot, I should add. Quite the opposite. They're fine people.
Which reminds me — as do many things — of a joke told to me decades ago by a late and beloved uncle of mine. It seems the Mudhens and the Athletics were engaged in an epic Triple A struggle upon the verdant sward, and the Mudhens were down three runs in the bottom of the ninth with two out and the bases loaded.
The Athletics' manager signaled to Mel Famey, ace reliever, to get in the game and save the day. Unfortunately that day had been mighty warm and Mel Famey had a powerful thirst, and he'd spent the afternoon slaking it by drinking beer in the dugout and tossing the empty cans over his shoulder onto the ground outside the park.
Having therefore some considerable difficulty negotiating the strike zone, Mel Famey proceeded to walk the next four batters in a row, and the Mudhens prevailed by a run. Later, as the Mudhens were leaving the ballpark, one of the last four batters noticed the pile of beercans behind the Athletics' dugout. "Hey, look," he notified his colleagues, "That's the beer that made Mel Famey walk us."
Yes, yes, I know. That was terrible. Fortunately my uncle — whose unquestionable awesomeness was cemented in the 1950s when he drove to Buffalo, NY to hear Charlie Parker play in a nightclub — had a million more better ones. My uncle, who was also a scratch golfer, taught me how to swing a club and took me 'round to all the local links when I was a kid.
One time we were playing with my older brother, just a threesome. There was a foursome in front of us, playing very slowly, and nobody in front of the foursome for several holes. The laws of golf etiquette dictate that they let us play through, because we were playing much, much faster than they were. You shouldn't have to ask them.
Being patient and civil fellows ourselves, we let this go on for a few holes until finally, it being obvious that this quartet of weekend turf hackers was etiquette-averse, my uncle approached them on one of the tees: "Say, fellas, would you mind very much if we played through? I have to be at my wife's funeral in 45 minutes."
I thought that was the funniest thing I ever heard in my life and is likely the root source of both my lifelong appreciation for golf jokes as well as my unrepentant misogyny. (In fact you have to be an unrepentant misogynist to appreciate golf jokes, e.g., "Hey, I got a nice set of Taylor Made irons for the wife." "Good trade!")
* The Treasure of the Sierra Madre was my uncle's favorite movie.