The Politics of Blogging

Bismarck noted that politics is the art of the possible. Everything is political. This is the politics of blogging.

Even something as free-form and spontaneous as blogging has its own internal logic, rules, and regulations. This is particularly true for Again? Really? There is an unwritten style book. There are reoccurring characters. There are facts that are fungible and facts that are sacrosanct. Feelings may be explored and expanded, but they can never be faked. And I never, ever, throw the first punch.

Thankfully, I have an entire cadre of volunteers to keep me on the straight and narrow.

Sally is my #1 sounding board and the person assigned to protect me from myself. Since I tend to write these at home, in long hand, while enjoying a cigar, she is normally a couple of feet away watching TV and waiting for me to get some idea on paper. I prefer to have my stuff read aloud. If they ever create a “Blogs on Tape”, I would rush to be one of the firsts. A look from Sally can quickly kill a post.

My daughter Jennifer has also served as editor-in-chief. She is far too busy to fulfill that role now, but I value her input when given. She is about to launch her own blog, The initial posts are terrific.

Jeff, my business partner, and Felicia, our secretary, are the last two members of the home team. Both are very good at letting me know if a little more detail or clarification is needed.

I expect Sally, Jeff, or Felicia to understand the cultural references and to appreciate the humor. If I am too obtuse or fail to entertain any of them, it is time to rework the post.

Since many of my characters are drawn from real life, some of my readers search each post for a reference to them. A couple are capable of finding themselves whether I meant for them to be there or not. This usually sparks a lively exchange of emails and private messages on Facebook. Others, like Beth Bryan, know that just mentioning them by name improves any of my posts.

I am also blessed with kibitzers. Captain Grammar checks me for typos, word usage errors, and other failings. She is very fast. Some of her emails have resulted in immediate changes before any one else has had a chance to notice my mistakes. There are those who might consider having someone standing over their shoulder a nuisance. Not me. I find having an extra editor invaluable. I also appreciate Sergeant Spell-Check. His only problem is that he is sometimes wrong. He is always entertaining, just not always right.

Putting together Again? Really? and Health Insurance Issues With Dave takes a lot of time. All of these posts have numerous links. Having readers suggest topics and issues helps tremendously. The feedback, nudging, and comments, even those that are kept private, significantly contribute to the final product.

Today’s post is designed to thank the people who help bring you Again? Really? and Health Insurance Issues With Dave. I couldn’t do it without them.

I Go, You Go

New readers of this blog may be shocked to learn that I can be a bit of a jerk. The truth is that I can, at times, be a real ass. As previously noted a few months ago, I can be judgmental, self-righteous, and unabashedly opinionated.

I can be rather intolerant when it comes to bad grammar. My mother reflexively corrected my grammar as a child.  It didn’t matter where we were.  No sentence could end with a preposition. Lazy words, such as Like, were not accepted. This is not a complaint. I never resented her interruptions. I didn’t welcome them. I simply understood that these were serious errors that needed to be addressed.

Did my children resent my policing of their language and grammar? I don’t know. I never asked.

I raise this issue because I have the devil of a time restraining myself whenever I hear adults misuse certain words. The biggest offense, the one that drives me nuts, is the substitution of goes for said or says.

There are days when people close to me completely abandon words such as said or says. The entire retelling of a conversation might include a half a dozen or more goes. Some sentences may include two or three offenses. It takes all of my self-control to remain silent.

Worse, this misuse of the word goes is becoming more common. Today, however, may have been the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. I was at a seminar hosted by a major insurance company. The speaker, nationally known and respected, was funny, informative, and capable of ending on time. All three are very important. Unfortunately, his grammar was atrocious. Among other things, he repeatedly substituted goes for said.

Sitting there, working hard to absorb the valuable parts of his message, I was doing my best to ignore the goes. But he wouldn’t stop. My mother might have interrupted his presentation. I simply repositioned myself in my seat. Again and again and again. The people behind me probably speculated that I was suffering from either hemorrhoids or poison ivy.

So, if a professional, a best selling author and educator, stumbles through the difficult terrain of the English language, how can I judge harshly average Americans who trip over the usage of goes vs. said? I promise to grit my teeth, shift my weight, and to work harder at remaining silent.

I’ll still be a jerk. It just won’t be as obvious.