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01: May 17, 2008

You Talking to Me?

Welcome to the rebooted Josh Muggins website. Ifm Josh, and Ifll be your blogger this evening. Actually, I prefer columnist. Ifm old-fashioned that way.

One thing that youfll notice soon, if you havenft already, is the absence of a mechanism for posting messages on this blog?or column?or what you will. This is not a design flaw or oversight, although I freely admit that the prospect of leafing through manuals (written in my second language, mind you) to figure out how to add a comments function to the site makes me want to curl up and take a nap. Ifm in my fifties, dammit, and itfs high time I started taking a cranky and slipshod stance toward new-fangled technology.

Anyway, it is by design that nowhere on this site can you find a box that allows you to air your opinions for the public to see.

Itfs not that I donft care about the opinions of visitors and/or readers. I just
prefer to absorb the fire and the fury privately
, not in a public forum, where the temptation to grandstand is apt to overcome the best of us.

Ifm writing this in the spring of 2008, at the height of what appears to be a significant backlash against the whole get-it-off-your-chest, dive-into-the-fray, interactive-website boom of the last decade. The first indication I saw of this backlash was a long,
thoughtful piece by Gary Kamiya on Salon.com. In it, Kamiya recalls the era of an gimplicit contract between writer and reader, one characterized by at least a modicum of idealization and respect on both sides.h

He goes on to lament the trashing of that contract in an era when giving feedback is as easy as typing a few lines and clicking Send. gThe percentage of letter writers who are fools, knaves, blowhards and nuts has exponentially increased,h he notes, tempting me to post a message to point out that the force of that sentence would be magnified if he moved the adverb exponentially to the end of the sentence, after the verb that it modifies. But my doing so would only serve to bolster his point, I suppose.

And bolstering his point, I think, would be unnecessary, since it is so very valid. In my opinion, therefs just a wee bit too much opinionatinf going on out there in the world today.

Take the following utterly random example: a pleasant little gossip item from AP that showed up on a website called
OMG [Note: the actual story is long gone] in February of this year. The 230-word item noted that actress Lindsay Lohan had struck up a perhaps more than casual friendship with an obscure small-town singer-songwriter whom she had met while filming a reality TV program. Thatfs all it said.

I must pause here to explain that Lindsay Lohan rocketed to fame in the early 2000s as the teen starlet of such wholesome fare as Freaky Friday, which I enjoyed on an otherwise dreary trans-Pacific flight some years back. This delightful young ingenue subsequently blossomed into a delightful young lady with delightfully contoured
sacs of protoplasm hanging from either side of her sternum, so it was not in any way surprising that I would find my interest in her deepening to the point where I would seek out and absorb gossip items related to her.

[You should know that my first book was criticized for including references to such pop-culture personalities as
Dr. Phil [a disembodied scrotum in humanoid form, unaccountably rich and famous here in 2008], the rationale for said criticism being that a book of this type could expect to endure and continue to be read long after the flickering flame of Dr. Philfs fame had expired. Perhaps my wordy introduction of Lindsay Lohan here is an overreaction to that criticism, but as of this writing there is evidence that Lindsayfs career may already have gone sacs-of-protoplasm up so Ifm erring on the side of caution.]

Anyway, back to the gossip item about Lindsay. A quick scroll-down from this innocuous piece, these comments headed a list of some three hundred such:

gLinday I hope the next celeberity death is you.h (Id-Hit-It-And-Run)

gwow, i just wasted a minute of sleep reading this garbage, good night yfall.h (Amanda)

gJust who hasn't she screwed? My guess, its only a handfull of Iranians. . ...she's certainly screwed the entire male population of North America. . .can't really say she's any good, eitherch (harold h)

gthis is lameh (mexi0501)

gummmmm, if ur postin then obviously u read it too.h (mike w)

gid do her.h (crazy)

gShe's still hawt. nyuk nyuk.h (D Bag)

gHey KIM- First off you little smart a@!, I don't have a drug addiction problem do you? Kind of sounds like it if you are sticking up for her. Do I know what an 8 ball is? Sure do honey. Have I ever snorted one, ran my car in to a tree? Ended up in REHAB? Been nicknamed efire crotchf because I eFf anything that walks by me. NOPE, To smart.h (Sarah)

gI dont care id put it in her butt. lol.h (that zany, irrepressible chap "crazy," again)


At the end of each of these posts is a link labeled gReport abuse,h which begs the question: Couldnft I save time and just report whatfs not?

Sorry, but count me out. If the savages will seek to lay waste to so excellent a human specimen as Lindsay in this way (not to mention what they've done to English orthography), then what might they have in store for one of my ilk? I'm not keen to find out.

I know some will say that Ifm a coward, that I canft take the heat, that Ifm afraid to face to wrath of the liberated-by-the-internet public. Lies, I say! Lies!

Lies...

My friends, if I had any, would tell you I'm just afraid that nobody would post any comments at allc No, not even that needy young lad, "crazy."

Bonus points:

Can you say gthe flickering flame of Dr. Philfs fameh three times real fast? I bet you can!