At the beginning of this blog’s existence, we actually tried, you know. I sent out rude mass emails to people I knew and didn’t know, begging for submissions. Ben, Trevor, and I spent two months arguing over the finer points of our Inflammatory Writ, which I now actively dislike. We delayed launch dates over design issues, we planned our “media strategy,” we talked about Advertising Opportunities! And then, I don’t know. I suppose we learned the hard way that the blogosphere of 2011 isn’t anything at all like the blogosphere of 2003 or 2004. There is no place for advancement without institutional backing. Getting links from other blogs just doesn’t happen, because the voices are all entrenched, and they all just link to one another all the time. Scott Lemieux said this about that, sez John Cole, and I’m all like, “No shit, I read that blog, too.” And while it’s fun to stay current, I pretty frequently feel like I’m stuck in an echo chamber.
(But then, hell, the most obscure blog I read is M. Bouffant’s, and he’s bigger than we are. I’m a victim of the fallacy I seek to correct, too, buddy. I get it. I’m complaining here, not absolving myself of guilt.)
The point being that I didn’t expect to wake up this morning to an outpouring of vitriol toward a rather simple plea from my co-editor — to wit, old dudes, plz chill out w/ all the dix in the locker room every once in a while, plz. I especially didn’t expect it because the post was a week+ old and had garnered little to no critical attention prior to today. But fortunately, I had told Trevor when he published it to “Feature that motherfucking shit,” and so he did, and so begins the saga that was today in the brief but sordid history of the website.com that is Brutish & Short.
Yesterday, Andrew Sullivan’s intern came to our site and said, “Heh, men’s locker rooms are weird,” (Because it was still featured at the top even though it was a week old, remember? Remember??? I DID THAT FEATURING PEOPLE, OR SUGGESTED IT, OR WHATEVER!) and proposed that Andrew Sullivan make a standalone post about this ever-relevant topic, to which Andrew Sullivan consented. Because sure, no big deal. (Thanks magical intern, btw, for you being you and rendering us hopeful every once in a great while in this time of great dying. *wink*) So, right, so then Andrew Sullivan wrapped up his day and we were a couple spots from the top, and so everyone came blitzkrieging into this place like there was no tomorrow, which there was, they had to just scroll down a bit further or wait for Andrew and his interns to wake up during real-tomorrow.
ANYWAY. So I wake up in real-tomorrow, which is today, I might add, and — BLAM!!! — buncha comments. A lot of them were stupid. A few of them were not. As I can happily report at this time — 12 hours and a hundred+ comments later – if you go through the thread (which is pretty hilarious in its own right), I think that the stupid-to-worthwhile ratio has evened out somewhat, which, begrudgingly as I may say it, makes me think slightly more highly of Sully’s audience. (FWIW, Ben also wrote to Sully and told him about the hilarity of the comments section, which prompted him to do a follow-up on the issue [in which he published Ben's letter, the last one], leading to 10,000+ views today. Hooray! [Again, to that magical intern out there reading us, we offer sincerest thanks.])
ANYWAY. What was I saying? Oh, yeah, right: this whole idea of an audience is interesting. Interesting in the sense that I immediately hated many of our most vocal audience members, and interesting in the sense that it was nice to have a fucking reaction for once. I mean, I didn’t even write the thing — Trevor did, all accolades go to him — but I was proud to be defending it. Typing in ALL CAPS to concern trolls is one of the most therapeutic intellectual salves in the world. I cannot stress this enough. JUST TYPE IN ALL CAPS, PREFACE IT WITH LOL, USE POOR GRAMER, & UR GOLD. Words to live by if you ever have to deal with popularity. Which we don’t, thankfully. Thank God.
But today we did. And it was rather revealing, for me at least. Today we saw Andrew Sullivan’s audience at our dinner tables, and did they get a joke? Did they investigate the author of the article they were responding to? No. No. They went bananas and called us names. Then we made fun of them, and then a few saner ones showed up telling everyone else to CHILL, and then a few more of those came preaching the same, and in the end it was about fifty-fifty, I’d say. Just about around fifty-fifty. But it was an uphill battle the whole way.
I understand, with an audience like Sullivan’s, the mechanism by which he believes what he believes. What I don’t understand is why he gives equal credence to nutters and nominally sane people. Never will.
To those of you who are nominally sane, welcome to Brutish & Short dot com, we welcome your patriotism and stick-to-it-ed-ness, and we wish you nothing but the best in your Internet livelihoods. To those of you who are nutters, plz gtfo. Thx.