Posted by Amanda Chapel
Mea Culpa Sorta
In light of Dezenhall's excellent post about no apologies, I'd like to make an exception. This has been eating at me for about a week. We here at Strumpette would like to extend a sincere apology to Jeff Jarvis. Well... sorta.
Why? We've been called out for something by someone we deeply respect. A member of our staff here had a chat with Cluetrain author David Weinberger last week. David was insightful and also quite candid. The latter gave us pause. Frankly, to a person here, we were/are embarrassed. Not so much for what we had done; but rather, because we have disappointed someone whose favor and respect we value.
See... David is a white hat. He's an out-there theorist and likely card-carrying communist sympathizer but hell... he's a poor Harvard fellow. He may be all wrong, Cluetrain just might be the center of the biggest theoretical refutation in a decade, but his motives are absolutely pure. Sure, he'd love to sell a couple books, but so what. At the end of the day he's a philosopher with a deep passion for how the Internet is changing human relationships, communication, and society. No more, no less.
Anyway, we had called David last week to ask a few questions as to the subject of his new book "Everything is Miscellaneous." The subject soon became Strumpette and our often not so kosher tactics. Without mentioning any names, it was clear that we had played a little too rough with his buddy Jeff.
Okay, here’s our confession: With regard to Jeff (and others frankly)... we've been totally distasteful. We've been relentless and often heartless. As to Jeff specifically, we've called him a demagogue. We've accused him of being the Antichrist for Christ's sake. We've called him a former TV critic. We even referred to him as a U.S. Senator. In retrospect, the TV critic and Senator jabs might have gone just a little too far.
Seriously, this is Strumpette! That's what we do. We are a female Denise Rodman banging the boards of PR Blogging. If you're coming to the hoop in our house, you'd better come strong or you're gonna get mugged.
And that's exactly the point. David isn't coming to the hoop. He has no ulterior motive where 98 percent of what's out there does. Jeff does. This potential social transition is a big opportunity and he's seeing dollar signs.
Here's a little more perspective:
1. David's perspective comes from the venerated halls of academia. PR on the other hand was born under the big top. It's a circus of lions, tigers, elephants, Rubel on stilts and Gomes in the little fire truck. As such, we very much understand why David has a problem with PT Barnum interrupting his lectures (so to speak).
2. Strumpette is the dissident voice in a four-part harmony. We are the heckler in the midst of the junior-varsity cheerleading squad. That's our MO. We absolutely want to disturb people out from the trance of the lofty and false PR choir to pay attention to and examine the words.
3. We absolutely use ridicule as a tool to point out that the king has no clothes. And why not? It is in the fine and important tradition of satire. It's powerful and most effective. Proof is in the pudding.
THAT SAID... We absolutely recognize and respect: what's on the field is on the field and what's off is off. We certainly admit to trash talk. Our very aim is to take people out of their game. BUT, it's not personal.
Jeff understands this. In a recent article he said, "In other words, on our blogs, we all say things that might offend someone." Exactly.
Anyway... Jeff... if we've said ANYTHING that at all tweaked your feelings off the field, we are truly and deeply sorry.
END NOTE: Due out this May, "Everything is Miscellaneous" promises to be and interesting extension of Cluetrain. The book will deal with what happens when you lose the constraints of the physical on how you organize knowledge. David argues that in virtual world, it's much better to have giant pile of miscellaneous stuff tagged by users. The consequence is that ultimately this breaks hold on authority of idea-based institutions. The book is about the organizing principle of the "long tale."
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A mea culpa from Strumpette? Seems out of character. But, then again Jeff is a important ally for Strumpette.
Jeff's BuzzMachine is a must read for me, but I have to admit he does get tangled up when it comes to covering companies that he is an investor or adviser. Sometimes, he seems a little too thin skinned about these startups. Case in point, DayLife, which got some heavy criticism, that he addressed point by point in his blog.
I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for being born. Since that unfortunate event it seems that I have been insulting people. Most recently, I would like to apologize to Richard Edelman for saying that his "blog has devolve(d) into a backslapping, self-congratulatory, self-promotional vehicle," and that Steve Rubel "has no credibility." I have not insulted Phil Gomes yet but I hardly know him. There's still time. How can a business that puts a blowup of King Kong on top of the Empire State Building for a photo-op take itself seriously - or anybody else? It's Valentines Day, Amanda. Love means never having to say you're sorry. Or, in the world you try to rattle, he not busy being offended or offending is busy dying. Even highfalutin theorists.
At some point we all apologize for offending the thin-skinned and the humorless. Don't you hate it? Jeff Jarvis, of all people, should understand the nuances of Strumpette. He is the world's biggest Howard Stern fan, isn't he?
It's a pity you felt compelled to explain yourself so overtly to him and to all of us. But worse, it's a pity that so many in our business don't appreciate what a wonderful distraction Strumpette provides -- along with a much-needed dose of reality here and there. I'm one PR blogger who's not ashamed to share the blogosphere with my beloved Amanda. I said so here -- but don't tell my wife!
YEAH Bill! These are my favorite lines: Seriously, this is Strumpette! That's what we do. We are a female Denise Rodman banging the boards of PR Blogging. If you're coming to the hoop in our house, you'd better come strong or you're gonna get mugged.
OR, as we used to say in Brooklyn: Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke.