Limit The Blog Drama. Enhance Your Life.
Blogging has its positive and negative aspects. For the nonce; the positives of the blogging experience are still outweighing the negatives. For that reason, I continue whether the multitudes want me to or not. However, the negatives of blogging exist. The best characterization of these negatives that I’ve seen comes from Brett Stephens at Amerika.org, who describes them as blog drama.
As Eric Berne wrote in his masterful psychiatry book Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships, blog drama is ultimately a mind game involving one-upmanship. Berne cites that often these games involve not only one-upmanship, but unconscious prejudice, and a desire for mental exercise as well.
A favorite game among bloggers is NIGYSOB. This is an abbreviation for “Now I’ve Got You, you person who isn’t nice to cute animals.” It is played at three levels of intensity as is described below.
A first-degree game is one that is socially acceptable in the agent’s circle. A second-degree game is one from which no permanent, irremediable damage arises, but which the players would rather conceal from the public. A third degree game is one that is played for keeps, and which ends up in the operating room, the courtroom, or the morgue.
A first degree game of NIGYSOB has recently been played against Redstate.com over the last few days. It was initiated by an embittered competing blogger who sought to “burn Redstate’s integrity to the ground!” Have they learned nothing after the tragic Gabriella Giffords shooting? Suffice it to say, the blogger in question should take some advice from his local Fire Chief and stop playing with matches.
A second degree game of NIGYSOB recently occurred in the economic blogsphere. The truly perspicacious econoblogger, Gonzalo Lira, nearly has his career assassinated by back office academic shenanigans over a blog he posted on Business Insider that blasted Paul Krugman. Lira described the experience in a recent post.
The pushback against Lira’s polemic against Krugman began with an ad hominem attack from Dr. Bradford DeLong, Supra-Genus. (Who teaches at Cal Berkley, he’ll have you know!) It then extended to a series of maneuvers to get Mr. Lira drummed out of “respectable” economic discussions. Gonzalo describes the attempted exorcism against his person below.
DeLong’s reference to Henry Blodget is because that’s where my piece was picked up. Fact is, DeLong seems to have lobbied Blodget to drop me from Clusterstock and Business Insider—and it worked, too, because although Henry didn’t cut me, my relationship with Joe Weisenthal, Blodget’s editor, was permanently soured because of this incident.
Weisenthal would go on to make my life fairly unpleasant insofar as Business Insider was concerned: Arbitrary edits that hurt my posts, yanking my pieces on a whim, then running pieces by other people that plagiarized my work.
Lira was professionally damaged and socially shamed by the experience. He did have the grim satisfaction of revenge against Krugabe (Why Paul Krugman is an Imbecile and a Fraud), Dr. Bradford DeLong, Supra-Genus (The Contradictions In The Life of A Fluffer) and many others. Chuck Norris thinks before engaging in Blog Drama against Gonzalo Lira.
Still others have had even worse happen. Bloggers have killed themselves, broken laws, gone to prison and been murdered by others for what they wrote or what they believed. At some point, before this happens, judgment and common sense need to kick in. There is nothing in blogging valuable enough to justify some of the games that get played. My advice for all five or six of my constant readers would be this: Limit The Blog Drama. Enhance Your Life.