Under the influence of too much coffee in the morning, I sometimes say or write things I wish I hadn’t. The other day it wasn’t the coffee that had me out-of-sorts—I think the late dinner I’d eaten the night before had made me fuzzy.
So while tuning into Fred Honsberger Live, which is my favorite television show to hate, I acted a bit impulsively and called up “The Honsman.” I called despite my better judgment, and despite the fact that I never call talk shows.
While I disagree with mostly everything Honsberger says on-air, and I have been known to pitch a liberal’s fit while listening to him talk, for some time I have taken a perverse joy in occasionally watching his show. I can only attribute that enjoyment to a desire to hear people yell at each other in argument, which brings back warm memories for me, because that’s how I grew up eating dinner with my family.
Also, I had covered Lynn Swann’s press conference the day before, and I wondered what Republicans thought about the possibility of Swann becoming a gubernatorial candidate. Not having a Republican sibling handy to ask about a Super Steeler governor, I called Honsberger. Perhaps it’s not surprising, since I recently started my own weblog.
* * *
I capitulated. I got tired of all the attention bloggers have been getting, so I started my own.
A couple weeks back I joined the blogosphere by getting my own punk pulpit. I now am a member of the dorky world of webloggers, and I can’t say I’m exactly comfortable with my new affiliation.
My friend Geoff confirmed my discomfiting suspicions when he responded to my e-mail announcing the launch of my blog.
“You e-writing weenie!” he wrote.
As a journalist, I have learned to check out blogs to look for news tidbits, but I have been wary of joining the blogosphere. I will admit that I have been thinking about it for a long time, though. I just didn’t like the idea of being part of the world that enables people to make unfair personal attacks on individuals. I didn’t want be considered like one of those nerds who lambastes others on his blog, using the medium against those he hates.
Leaping into the blogosphere was an act of faith, because over the years I’ve developed a mistrust of blogging. I have been insulted online by at least one blogger who personally attacked me in a few instances.
Full disclsure: I was attacked for having been in public relations at one time, and also for supporting the plan that built two sports stadiums on the North Side. Some people in Pittsburgh can’t get over the fact that those stadiums were built. Because of my stance on the issue, I have been called everything from a “hack” to “unethical.”
Still, I figured a blog would give me a place to publish essays that I have been writing that wouldn’t fit into other publications. I felt that a blog also hopefully would, to some degree, bring me into the ongoing conversation happening in the blogosphere.
While I was commenting indiscreetly on a blog titled “The Conversation,” an anonymous poster attacked me. This pusillanimous poster tried to smear me with the same lies that another blogger once had employed. The right-winger Honsberger treated me more respectfully than I was treated by a fellow blogger who also is opposed to the Drug War, but afraid to sign his name to the statement.
* * *
Maybe it was the mind-addling effect of too many pasta calories still dumbing me down from the prior evening that made me call. I can’t really explain it, except to say that for some strange reason, I couldn’t resist jumping into the argument.
My call was patched through almost immediately.
“I’m from the left side of the world…” I began, in a voice softer and more timid than I expected, realizing suddenly that I was out of my element. I asked Honsberger what he thought of Swann, an “incredible athlete,” possibly running for governor, and if he thought the former Steeler had much of a chance of becoming governor.
Honsberger responded sneeringly that he also thought Swann was an “incredible athlete” and that Swann stood a good chance of winning if he decided to run for governor.
“What do you think of him running?” Honsberger asked me.
“I think it’s interesting,” I said in an uncharacteristically soft voice. He went on to complain about how lousy the governor had been performing, and about how many people Rendell has pardoned since he took office.
I realized Hons wanted a fight, but though I am pugnacious by nature, I didn’t feel so confident, since television and radio are his “neighborhood,” so to speak. I let him talk, without adding much, and I thanked him for his thoughts and hung up.
I had joined the conversation and become one of those “cranks” that you hear on the radio or television. It was a natural step, after starting my blog.