“Dear Cityview…” July 19, 2006

“Dear Cityview…” July 19, 2006
Not everything that is written on blogs are about fluff, club scenes, and Court Avenue antics.
Not everything that is written on blogs are about fluff, club scenes, and Court Avenue antics.

When Juice premiered in 2006, there was a lot of criticism about the publication, namely from Cityview Magazine. Cityview spent every week making Juice (and the Register) their personal pinata, attacking them for writing “fluff” pieces and not “hard news” as Cityview stakes their claim to.

The statement below from Cityview’s “Winners and Losers” column propelled me to send a reply back to Cityview…to prove that not everything is “trash” in their eyes…and that they sometimes don’t practice what they preach.

Dear Cityview…

Courtesy of Cityview Magazine, July 19, 2006:

We named The Des Moines Register a “loser” last week for sending its reporters to blog live from concerts. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention The Register’s pubescent progeny, Juice – particularly, its staffers’ stunning ability to continually churn out blogs about absolutely nothing.**
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To the staff at Cityview:

Thank you for “reading” my blog (though I doubt you ever have). I hate to tell you this, but not everything comes from a 9-year old’s diary. The last blog post I wrote on Monday was not ripped out of a kid’s coloring book. It was a personal perspective about the slayings of two police officers in 1981 and the impact it had to a city and its citizens 25 years later.

The little girl who writes in her diary never wrote about the suicide of Dr. Stephen Gleason, the comical follies that is Nan Stillans and the Des Moines School District, and whether its cool or not to be a single person in the middle of Iowa.

Alright, I admit that the single person’s point-of-view wasn’t stellar reading.

I know you are offering constructive criticism (if that is the term you use over there) about blogs here on Juice.

Please allow me to explain myself: I don’t need a rival publisher to tell me how bad of a writer I am. I know how bad I am. I don’t have a journalism degree, nor did I attend the Writer’s Workshop at the State University of Iowa. The one positive thing I have learned from blogging is the appreciation for those who are journalists, and those who write or blog for a living.  They’re the ones who bust their asses off daily. I feel it is insulting to call myself a journalist.

I never wrote about getting drunk, acting like a d-bag, and hitting the club scene.
I never wrote about getting drunk, acting like a d-bag, and hitting the club scene.

It’s imperative to get the facts right, check your sources, and write a story that informs your readers as well as gauge their opinions. I thought I was doing that, until you informed me that my work is garbage. That is constructive criticism and I appreciate your magazine for calling it like it is.

I do think it’s fair that I offer the same criticism to you.

I do this for fun and to gauge the interest of what readers want to read or talk about. You do a very good job of that at Cityview. I don’t do your job nor will I insult your intelligence on how to be a writer. My attempt is to write about things that are relevant to us as individuals.

To you, I do a half-assed job of it.

I take it as terms of endearment.

I don’t aspire to be another Marc Hansen, Donald Kaul, Maury White, or Ron Maly. I wouldn’t last 30 seconds in their presence. They’re pros. I’m a schlub. 

If you want to throw a blanket on everyone who write for Juice, that’s your prerogative, but if you don’t read between the lines, there is someone who is trying to do what you expect them to do…

…write and open the lines of discussion on serious and interesting issues that do affect people.

If I’m not doing that, then contact the publishers of the Des Moines Register. I don’t have a “right” to blog, it’s a privilege.

Childish writing is for kids. I’m an adult. I have to write like one.  Just like you. 

Sincerely yours,

Romelle Slaughter

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** – Post-script: the concept of “live blogging” at events have become very popular and is used constantly, much to the chagrin of Cityview. To Juice’s credit, they understood it could be a trend that is highly effective today.

The following week, Cityview said that though they were sticking to their statement, they did acknowledged that not everyone at Juice writes “nothing”. Put one up on the scoreboard.

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Hold Your Applause

On Wednesday, President Obama publicly came out and announced his stance on same-sex marriages.  This is a few days after Vice President Biden announced his position on it as well, but with less fanfare. 

To no surprise to me, both have said that they are in support of same-sex marriages, which was something that the LGBT community have been seeking from both men since the 2008 presidential campaign.  In the past, the feeling was that the President has been lukewarm and not “all-in” to the issue. 

Today, everyone is using words like “courageous”, “heroic”, “brave”, and others, to describe the President. 

That is all well and good, but let’s hold our applause for President Obama and Vice President Biden.  They did what they are supposed to do:  take a position that will make some people happy and some people unhappy. 

I tell you where those applauses should be given to…

…the individuals, couples, and supporters of same-sex marriages and LGBT rights who have toiled and fought in the quest to change the perception and the laws that will make same-sex marriages acceptable in our society. 

They are the “courageous” “brave” heroes who deserves your applause.  Nothing against the Prez, but what he did Wednesday pales in comparison to what groups like One Iowa, same-sex couples, and supporters have done. 

What makes them courageous and brave is that they don’t quit.  Yes, they suffered a setback when the North Carolina General Assembly, not the people who live in the state, the legislature voted against same-sex marriages.  But unlike some supporters who are throwing up their hands and giving up because one group of lawmakers said “no”, these committed individuals are persistent.  They get up after being knocked down, dust themselves off, and go at it again. 

Those who are so quick to give up and be frustrated clearly do not understand that it is a long journey, not a race.  You can’t get all 50 states and society to change overnight.  It’s not that simple.  One loss doesn’t (or shouldn’t) define your legacy.  Neither does one win.  Ask the pioneers of the Civil Rights movement about having patience and faith when they could have easily given up.  Don’t give up. 

For every North Carolina, there’s Iowa, albeit it was the state Supreme Court that made the decision in re Varnum v. Brien

Getting the folks in this building to support same-sex marriages is tough, but so is getting ourselves to do the same thing as citizens.

As we spend most of our time  obsessing over elected officials and campaigns, the pro-same sex marriage groups doesn’t get enough credit or full support for what they do.  Ninety minutes after the President told the country that he was in favor or same-sex marriages, over $1 million dollars were donated to his campaign. 

Don’t you think that money could have been sent to the groups who are on the front-line of changing the attitudes and working towards ensuring legal rights for lesbians, gays, bi-sexual, and transgendered individuals? 

Kenneth Weishuhn should have received your support and encouragement for coming out.  Instead, people turned on him, used cyber-bullying, and faced hostility.  He didn’t have to commit suicide because of the blowback he received for being gay.  He should have lauded for being brave for announcing he was gay. 

President Obama’s decision to support same-sex marriages isn’t as brave or courageous as some want to make it out to be.  His support, however, greatly helps in the effort to change the attitudes towards this issue and the LGBT community in general. 

Those who are not in the public eye who are supporting same-sex marriages are not celebrated and lauded.  Those are the ones we should be lauding and supporting. 

They are the real heroes of this crusade.  Let’s not forget them. 

Death threats, rejection, push back, misconceptions, and other factors are what they face every day.  And yet, they continue on with the fight.  Nothing deters them.  They know the next day is a new day to make a difference. 

What is considered “courageous” and “brave”? 

When all of us, as citizens, are willing to learn how important the issue of same-sex marriage is to the LGBT community, and the openness to support it, not just in spirit, but also financially. 

Don’t you think it’s time that the individuals, couples, and groups who are working towards changing the societal and legal attitudes towards LGBT and same-sex marriages get more of our applause for being brave, heroic, and courageous for taking the risk of doing what is right? 

It’s long overdue, if you asked me.

Intelligent and Disillusioned

Ted Kaczynski aka The Unabomber. An intelligent and gifted individual. What led him to "snap"? (Associatied Press)

You know that person in your office, next door, or at the coffeehouse. 

That extremely intelligent person who is so smart …

…they are unable to break out of their “intelligence” hell.

Intellectually brilliant and socially inept.  Unable to figure out. 

Ted Kaczynski, Keith Olbermann, Bob Knight, and I come to mind.  Gifted, intelligent, and socially awkward.  We can recall information, small and big, and yet be brooding, feeling aggrieved, and wondering why people don’t understand us.  Book smart, can think of things on the fly, and feel lost in the world and revert to the personal castle we’ve built around ourselves.  Intelligent people tend to pound the table, getting others to accept their view of the world, and we attack those whose views are vastly different than ours, rather than be open to listen and consider ideas that are different. 

In extreme cases, we “snap”.  Kaczynski started sending bombs and writing manifestos.  Knight verbally abused and physically threatened people.  Olbermann made life for his co-workers and bosses unbearable.  Smart people do stupid, foolish, and dangerous things when their world starts to change and they are unable to stop it.

It's okay to be "smart", but there's a fine line between being wrapped up in your view of the world that you take it out on people.

The life of being an intelligent person isn’t cool.  You have goals and standards that are unachieveable to reach.  You feel like a misfit.  You are so wrapped up in your thoughts, you develop a fear that your self-constructed beliefs, theories, and everything you built (in your own mind) could crumble and burn.

I’m a recovering “intelligent person”.  I think I’ve done a decent job of not always going into my shell, or dishing out manifestos like a candy-store barista.  I realized that I don’t need to know “everything” in this world.  But, I still need help as a recovering “addict”, so to speak.  In this new world of the “creative class”, finding what I’m creative in is like a hamster running in its cage…there has to be a starting point. 

I’m still a misfit, but a misfit who yearns to learn, understand, and see things evolve.  I’m itching to bust out, but I don’t know where to start. 

Sports and Social Media

 

How fast did it take on Twitter for everyone to know that the Denver Broncos fired coach Josh McDaniels? Pretty damn fast.

 

Over the past few days, we have seen how news travel fast on social media.  As someone who follows sports, my interest becomes multi-fold. As athletes and teams increase their visibility on Twitter, Facebook, etc., there has been many instances that athletes tend to get themselves in trouble for what they post.

In most cases, teams and coaches prefer to shut down the usage of social media to athletes.

The question now becomes how will social media help advance and give sports a new stream of communicating with fans and media, without having to cut off conversations when a player or coach says something that could be detrimental and cause controversy?

Do leagues like the NFL, collegiate, and high school teams need community managers who can help them understand how to use SM effectively and foster relationships with their followers?

At this rate, I think it would be a good idea.

What do you think?  What do social media experts think?  Is it a bad idea to restrict coaches and athletes from having candid conversations with their followers and fans through social media?