This weekend I bore witness to a series of local blog posts that (a) made me ashamed to be considered a "Middle Tennessee blogger" (actually, let's scratch that. Henceforth, regard me as nothing more than a "garden-variety" blogger who is independent of geographic location); and (b) gave me perfect clarity as to why I have avoided all Nashville blogger "meet-ups" thus far.
What you are about to read could, and does, take place on most American middle-school playgrounds. This is the stuff of 'in-groups' and 'out-groups'; hateful "I got your back!" pile-ons and spiteful individuals who evidently would rather be 'right' than happy.
Here is the blog post stream. We'll be referring to most, if not all, of these articles in this piece:
- (1) Terryfrank.net: "EXCLUSIVE!! SADDAM HUSSEIN HAD OVER 1 MILLION POUNDS OF URANIUM!!"
- (2) Terryfrank.net: "Follow up"
- (3) Nashvilleistalking.com: "Ad Hominem Attacks Out the Ying Yang"
- (4) Nashvilleistalking.com: "As Best I Understand"
- (5) Sparkwood & 21: "A Peek into my World of Nuts" (cached)
- (6) Nashvilleistalking.com: "WATE Plays (Soft)Ball"
There are other Middle Tennessee bloggers in on this Terry Frank action. However, the previous six post entries provide us with more than adequate information.
The core back story is this: In Oak Ridge, Tennessee (a small city about 25 miles northwest of Knoxville), a "right-wing political blogger" named Terry Frank put up a post supposedly "breaking" a news story concerning heretofore unknown uranium stores in Iraq. You are perfectly free to check out her original story (article #1); for our purposes here at MTA, we are not concerned with Frank's news article proper.
What galled me so tremendously, at least initially, was the horrendous (verily, horrendous!) manner in which Mrs. Frank treated a representative of one of our local news stations in Nashville, a fellow named Christian Grantham.
Following are some of the lowlights of Mrs. Frank's revolting post:
You are lazy and rude and lacking in any personal skills.
...you are the norm in a media world filled with incompetent boobs like yourself who couldn’t debate your way out of a paper sack.
You are a ewe, led by the nose by your liberal shepards at bigger media outlets.
You are a stain, as is Brittney Gilbert, on a station that claims that they want to lead a new frontier in media.
History is filled with the likes of you…knaves who do the bidding for their failed ideologies…fools who are blind to reality.
My, my, my. Brittney Gilbert is an associate of Mr. Grantham's at WKRN-TV in Nashville. Predictably and somewhat understandably, Brittney posted her own reply (since removed) on her personal weblog, Sparkwood & 21:
I think that Terry Frank has aspirations to be a right-wing pundit. She already has a column in some local rag and a radio show, I think. She wants, it seems, to be the next Michelle Malkin or Anne Coulter. This throwing out of wild claims without any evidence to back them up is a good start, and the litany of insults she hurled at those who demanded actual facts doesn't hurt much either.
You're on your way, Terry Frank. Look out, Fox News. She's not that young or cute, but she's got fire in her belly.
Unfortunately, this is where things really get ugly. Sure, Mrs. Frank was dead wrong for reacting to snarky criticism with blind rage. However, the resulting gang-up and thinly veiled smear campaign at the Nashville is Talking Web site, in my opinion, contributed nothing at all to sane, intelligent, and respectful discourse. Again, what we have here are adults acting like adolescent children. Sad.
A particularly disrespectful commenter at Terryfrank.net named "Malcolm Tent" undertook a vicious attack at Brittney Gilbert:
Brittney Gilbert is particualrly [sic] appalling. Here is her comment on Terry: “You’re on your way, Terry Frank. Look out, Fox News. She’s not that young or cute, but she’s got fire in her belly.” Young and cute? Apparently we all know how Brittney got her job. I think what Brittney has got in her belly is the same thing that was on Lewinski’s [sic] dress.
From the "doing a friend a solid" files, another Tennessee blogger named Lynnster stepped into the fray, evidently attempting to defend Brittney's honor:
You, sir, are a disgusting sexist pig...
I sincerely hope that you’ll prove that you’re not a disgusting sexist pig...
Any moron would realize...idiot.
Mr. Tent also focused his ire on another frequent commenter at Terryfrank.net, one Jeffraham Prestonian:
Without anyone to answer his witless banter, J.P. will have to go back to playing World of Warcraft.
Then Aunt B., another local blogger, adds:
Far be it from me to interrupt the mocking of Terry Frank. (I’ll admit that, after watching her insult my friends, it’s good fun to see her get a little of what she gives out.)
In sum, these comments all arise from the kind of people whom I don't want to spend time with. Some individuals are simply toxic, friends. To slightly alter the lyrics to one of my favorite Elvis Costello songs:
Whatever happened to peace, love, and understanding?
UPDATE: I do want to clarify my earlier sentence by stating that I believe that some individuals are toxic to me and me only. I in no way, shape, or manner intend for that sentence to represent other people globally or in a 'blanket' manner.