3-23-2007 A fake man with real opinions (?)

I remember when one of the more responsible local bloggers, Gort 42 , said something to the effect that he didnít argue with other internet users, preferring instead to save his harsher words for the politicians. Thatís a sound policy, but itís akin to an English teacher saying nothing while his American-born students stammer away in Eubonics. Thatís not meant as a criticism of him, itís more of a blanket statement about the mediocrity that surrounds us all on the internet.

I understand why some choose to write on the internet using fake names. More often than not, itís done so as to not annoy employers, purveyors and what have you. And I have made reference to the undeniable fact that some choose to do as much as a way of avoiding retribution. While I understand that approach, I in no way agree with it, or condone it. As far as Iím concerned, blogging anonymously amounts to little more than sounding off at a city council meeting while wearing a ski mask. And if itís inherently pussy-whipped at city hall, why then is it not likewise pussy-whipped in cyberspace?

Yesterday I responded to a posting from an upstart blog primarily because itís author had the unmitigated audacity to try to impose his/her/itís self-styled censorship on what I do on these pages. It was very ill-advised, somewhat surprising and doomed to failure from the get-go. In this city, numerous upstart political bloggers have come and gone, and very many of them have chosen to chastise me at one time or another. The smart thing to do would be to ignore said chastising, but thatís no fun. If somebody fires a shot directly over my bow, Iím going to respond by slamming a torpedo right through their forecastle. At the very least, it probably makes for an interesting read for those watching from the distant electronic shoreline. And I guess the best thing about going toe-to-toe on the internet is that nobody ends up waiting their turn in the emergency room for hours on end. Well, thatís assuming that not all of the hospitals are on diversion, but thatís a whole other topic.

I see that my response to the latest chastising has been responded to, and I must point out to Mr. Blogman (or whatever his/her/itís name is) that a few retractions, or corrections are in order.

First of all, never did I say that I had accepted any money from any political candidate. Never. Never have I been on anybodyís payroll, so to speak. I have accepted some gifts, as in 3 Wilkes-Barre hat pins. So, somebody needs to set the record straight. Because, as we are currently being told, anonymous bloggers are no different than bloggers who take ownership of their comments.

Secondly, never did I say that Virgil Argenta had thrown any mud in the direction of any other District E city council candidate. Never. I did not imply as much, I did not suggest as much nor did I provide any clue as to whom I said was throwing mud right out of the starting gate. And for anyone to say that I did is a gross factual error, and suggests that some of us are posting on the internet somewhat irresponsibly. So, somebody needs to set the record straight.

Thirdly, as far as ďfilthĒ being posted on the internet is concerned, I fail to understand why you felt that comment was pointed in your direction. In my mind, internet filth is repeating unsubstantiated tripe as if itís carved in ancient stone tablets. Filth is offering anecdotal evidence and then calling for the heads of politicians. Filth is rushing to post hearsay or second-hand rumors to get some sort of internet scoop. Filth is the type of swill the self-appointed ďactivistsĒ typically spew, .i.e., it snowed, the streets were not plowed to my liking, so the mayor is filling his pockets rather than serving his constituents. See the incessant ramblings of Tim Grier or Walter Griffith for more on that. Anyway, never did I mean to suggest that your site should be included in that mix, so somebody needs to get that straight.

If you cannot see the folly of an anonymous blogger demanding transparency from a person not hiding behind a mask, IĎm not going to waste any time trying to explain it to you.

You wrote: ďI am not smearing anyone, simply referring to facts that can be found in any Google search. You have said far worse about candidates in the past,ÖĒ

I sure have, but I always have one or two things in my possession when I get to doing so. I have documentation in the form of public records sitting on my desk. Or an undeniable grasp of the facts in question. As a matter of fact, as of this very moment I am looking at a copy of a Luzerne County court docket from 1992. It seems that one of our current city council hopefuls was arrested way back in 1992 and charged with aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy. Although, the charges were dropped in the Court of Common Pleas in 1993.

Now, if I type the candidateís name right now, they can chase me and they can curse me and they can threaten to sue me, but they basically canít do a damn thing about it. Why? Because itís true and itís documented. Thatís responsible blogging. If youíre going to accuse, you had better have your facts straight and your ass covered.

With that said, I have seen numerous examples over the years of anonymous bloggers posting complete untruths, probably believing that their anonymity would protect them from any retribution and, or legal recourse. And quite often, their libelous posts were offered as ďscoops.Ē I do not rush to get the scoops. I verify. So if I post it, bank on it.

I hope you amused yourself with that ďthe peopleís bloggerĒ quip. I really do. Never did I ever refer to myself as such. Somebody that didnít like me coined that one, so as to amuse his or her anonymous self, but not me. Iíve been called much better and much worse. ďThe Rush Limbaugh of Wilkes-BarreĒ comes to mind. Then there was ďThe Jonathon Swift Of NEPA.Ē ďThat asshole on the internetĒ comes and goes. But, no matter what I ever did on the internet, the only name I ever attached to anything was Mark Cour.

I didnít support Tom McGroarty and they hated me. I do support Tom Leighton and still they hate me. Once they hated me for ripping too much, and now they chastise me for not ripping enough. What that says to me is that the electorate always comes up to speed way too late. Thatís not debatable, is it?

You wrote: ďThe name Fielding Mellish means as much as Mark Cour. One is a fake man with real opinions. The other is a real man with fake opinions.Ē

That has got to be the most convoluted illogic I have ever been saddled with. I threw that by my wife and she burst out laughing. Iíll spare you her commentary. If you honesty think youíre a man, what she had to say was very neutering.

I really hate to rain on your sparsely-attended parade, but the great majority of the people that do not blog but faithfully read blogs would find that statement to be laughable and then some. A ďfake man with real opinions?Ē Again, if you donít get it, weíll never be able to explain it to you. Armed with your fake persona, in your opinion, your opinions are real, and my opinions are fake. Sez you.

Youíre fake, but real.

Must be me.

I want to share something with, not only with you, but all of the folks considering sniping from behind the curtain of anonymity. Ready? Nobody of note takes any of the anonymous sniping seriously. And they very rarely look at any of it unless somebody gives them a heads-up about how they were slandered by it. If you want to get the attention of local politicians, youíre never going to do it by taking them to task by way of a pseudonym.

And itís much the same thing with local talk radio. The movers and shakers ignore it, unless they are being slandered for no good reason by the king of all known slanderers--Kevin Lynn. The way they see it, any idiot can call WILK, give a fake name to the call-taker, and then, rightly or wrongly, rip into anyone they want. Plus, while WILK may or may not have a vast listening audience, the local talk shows are dominated by the same two dozen or so callers every day. And who should take seriously what can, in most cases, never be documented?

Think of me what you will, call me what you will and disparage me in any way you will that serves to prop up that ďreal manĒ image of you have of yourself, but Iíve got a newsflash for you. You donít generate 400,000 hits and counting and a couple million page views and counting by hiding behind the curtain. No matter how you may want to justify your obvious lack of gonads, if your internet forays are of the anonymous variety, they are awarded with far less credibility by the curious onlookers than those of the up-front variety. While you may not like it, thatís the way it is.

You wrote: ďUnlike you, I let anyone comment on my postings, I do not handpick only select emails and post snippets of them on my site Ė and you have attacked me for that very reason in the past, though I have chosen to ignore it until now.Ē

Um, I attacked you? Know what, I really think youíre too completely thin-skinned to be writing on the internet. Up until yesterday, never once did I find anything on your site even remotely objectionable. I have absolutely no idea what youíre going on about.

Actually, I think you need to bring yourself up to speed whereas allowing comments on my site is concerned. This site once featured a forum page where anyone at all could post whatever they wanted. All I asked of itís users was that they use their real e-mail names, refrain from using vulgarities and try to keep things topical. In an instant, it devolved into complete idiocy. I reworked it, reminded the users of the rules and it then went far beyond being utter idiocy.

You see, there was one constant, one thing you could bet your newtís life on: The people that had the most scurrilous things to say outright refused to use their real e-mail names. The most libelous and slanderous of the bunch were only emboldened by their anonymity. I begged for civility one more time, only to have a nasty divorce play itself out on the forum page. SoÖI pulled the plug on the whole misadventure. What could have been and should have been a great addition to the site was ruined by the multitudinous amount of anonymous assassins. And I was greatly disappointed as a result.

These days, if you wonít clearly identify yourself, your comments are not going to appear on these pages. And you can spin that anyway that you see fit, but I see it as this site having higher standards than the sites built at Blogging for Dummies. And if you canít see as much, you are the very last person that should be lecturing anyone about journalistic standards, or journalistic integrity, or whatever it is you think holds you in such high esteem.

As a matter of fact, I have posted many e-mails from people that were taking me to task. In fact, I reprinted an e-mail from Tim Grier 2 days ago, and true to form, he was tossing insults at me like a nuclear-powered pitching machine stuck in overdrive. So, donít mistakenly presume to be the owner of an open forum, when nobody really knows who anybody is on your site. The only reader comments on any blog in this area worth taking seriously come from the one and only guy willing to attach his name to his words--Tom Carten. Kudos to him. After that, itís a veritable Whoís Who in Whoville?

Anyway, a responsible blogger would retract the statements they made in error. And as far as Iím concerned, you had better get busy.

From the e-mail inbox Hi Mark, (interestingly I got your name from your site)

What the heck is going on! I didn't realize that blogging was about being objective. I guess I should not have blogged on my campaign site when I was running for office. Some folks may have been misled into thinking I was opposed to Congressman Kanjorski.

Then there is my current site, I hope people don't think I dislike the NeoCon movement or that I am a Reagan Conservative. The fact that I come right out and say it may be misleading.

Oh and the fact that my name is in the web address: www.joeleonardi.wordpress.com is that a bad idea? Actually I understand why some people choose to remain anonymous and I don't have an issue with that. I was just working in a free plug for my site The Independent, Conservative, Common Sense Oasis. Thank you for mentioning it in an earlier post.

I am baffled my much of what ????'s disagreements are with you. Considering ?????? wrote in an earlier post "I shall start with the crŤme de la crŤme, Wilkes-Barre Online. This guy writes longer posts than my ADD-addled mind allows me to read, but I have been scanning through his stuff for a few months now, and it seems to be very good." If ??????? actually read and not scanned your site, unbiased would not be the word used to describe you.

"We are not aligned with a candidate. We write our own opinions, not party line chatter. " This one I don't get at all, so if your opinions aligns you with a candidate you shouldn't post them? Well my DD, the Huffington Post, The Daily KOS, SavetheGop (probably a pro Clinton site) etc... better cease operations right now.

But your attacker's position about censorship "If the blogosphere has any credibility, or integrity, it is that we are unfiltered and uncensored" and then stating " For the sake of our unfettered future, I kindly ask you to stop writing about District E" Isn't when someone stops you from voicing opinion censorship?

"I will no longer turn to your site for news about District E. I believe that you are now too biased." As much as I enjoy your posts, please don't take this the wrong way, but I'm not going there for the news.Ē

Keep posting.
Joe Leonardi


Now I know why I only got 28% of the vote. It didn't have anything to do with being underfunded, running a truly independent campaign or taking on a 22 year democratic incumbent in a predominate democratic district. Nope, because of your far reaching influence over the electorate, my loss was caused by the fact that YOU openly endorsed me.

I know I don't have to say this for you, but just to be safe for those who may not get it, that was sarcasm.

Feel free to use my name.

You tell me, Joe.

Heís fake, but real. And us real people are fake. Itís enough to make you want to urinate on the keyboard, isnít it? Iíve been treated to many attacks from upstart, but now defunct bloggers over the years, but this one had me scratching my dandruff with an oversized rake. I did respond to it, but please donít ask me to explain it, as illogic is extremely difficult to work with.

By the way, what the hell is a starf*cker?


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