This site will look much better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another

10/15/2004

Grownups

[I posted the begining of this as an end to a comment over at the election PoliticsE-Group but found I had more to say.]Kinsella has a rather long history of threatening legal action when people cross lines he arbitrarily draws. A number of Kinsella's threats have been detailed here and in other forums.

It is not a civilized way to behave. It smacks of the schoolyard bullying which he seems so proud of, "but it is said that he can be useful in a stick-swinging, bench-clearing brawl." (from the front page of his website).

Our enviornmentalist friends have a name for this behaviour - slap suits. It is the tactic used by the strong when they want to silence the weak.

What Kinsella is finding out, as Dan Rather did a couple of weeks ago, is that the weak have built networks and those networks even up the odds.

If Ian Scott wants to take down his post, fine. But if he wants to leave it up he has an entire network of people who have his back. Money, research, publicity, media savvy and access - that is all there and waiting.

A little earlier tonight I took a swing through the blogs Kinsella lists at the bottom of his front page. Not one of them has written a thing in support of Kinsella and a couple have suggested he grow up.

Civil societies are run by and for grown ups. There is no room for this sort of over the top, schoolyard bullying.

Kinsella needs to drop his legal silliness and join the grown ups.

(New)The Rather incident taught people who were paying attention a lot about the power of what might be called "distributed commentary". I wrote about it and you can see my piece here. The point was that a completely unorganized, undirected group of bloggers seized on an utterly bogus set of documents and proved, long before MSM (mainstream media) had a clue, that those documents were forged.

This was the first major success for distributed commentary but it is unlikely to be the last. Largely because blogging provides a means, unparalled in history, of gathering, diseminating, correcting and refining information.

As important as the connection function, the swarm of blogs means that each individual blogger is free to chase the part of the story which intrigues him or her. There are no editors deciding how the story should be written; rather there are a bunch of people writing it.

Kinsella is used to operating within the relatively closed, rather cosy, world of big Canadian media. Swimming in that rather small pool there is not much danger of hearing direct contradictions of the Liberal orthodoxy. What I often think of as "The Annex" mind is tolerant of mildly errant children like Naomi Klein - rather proud of her in fact; but cannot imagine that there are people in the provinces - which begin at the 401 who might both disagree and not be troglodites.

For a Kinsella and the rest of the Toronto/Ottawa spinners, the existence of a narrow, orthodox media has been the dominant fact of their entire professional lives. To have that orthodoxy challenged is beyond their comprehension.

Blogging in Canada is in its infancy. There are several hundred bloggers whose readership hovers between a couple of hundred and a couple of thousand a day. This is in stark contrast to the States where readerships of 100,000 a day are not uncommon.

What Kinsella may not realize is that his hissy fit may well be the inflection point where Canadian blogging and online journalism begins to catch fire.