Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sometimes after Sox, there are Regrets

I don't have a blog where people actually comment, I guess I haven't been a good host. Google tells me over a hundred people regularly come to read - but only occasionally do I get, 'Interesting blog. Publish/Reject'. I'm busy with many other things so I have never seen a 'live comment'. I have to conclude I'm not much of a raconteur.

As such I don't know what it's like vetting a torrent of comments. Deleting spam and linkbait, shoo-ing away crippled broken beggars at the gates who are bothering guests for spare smiles.

So I was a little out of my element when I came across Allan Wood's Joy of Sox blog, through one of Wood's tantalizing headlines, Giving Ortiz A Chance - Being Reactionary Is The Media's Job.

One of the comments on that post talked about over reacting to early season win/loss records: so, with the Toronto Blue Jays off to a good start (6 - 2) and Boston Red Sox, not so much, I posted this self effacing comment intended to make fun of the bandwagon jumping, hockey fans of winning baseball you come across so much here in Toronto. Fans not of the game but of the tone of their own voices, egoists who vision of the world comes through what the world does for them - every minute of every game they watch - every day they exist.

Not fans of baseball, but fans of themselves watching sport.

The next morning I was delighted to see that my comment had been turned into a blog post by Allan (Redsock). "Blue Jays Fans Giddy With Success". Although the piece picked on a typo (naw, spelling - my spelling sucks) and purposely choose not to read between the lines, I took it in the same sense that my comment intended - making fun of knee jerk reactionaries.
So I left a comment on the new post as a thank you, and a link to the story I'd written about the Red Sox that talked about the use of spectacle in reactionary corporate media (like MLB). It was my first time at "Joy of Sox", I didn't know connecting relevant content was against the rules.

Responded to by Redsock,

I had no intention of responding further, but reading that I think I've been cast into an underclass of sport fans, and even worse, a subcategory of that class, the profiteering sport fan - in with the gamblers and the fraudster search engine optimizers. Everything said wasn't after all, in jest, were not references to the way people often act according to their 'default setting' - that self centred reactionary in us all.

So now, I am not a worthy contributor, not a fellow student of anthropology who's comment enabled a blog post- now I am an affirmation of the darker angles of our nature - the greedy ad-man, the linkbaiter, the phisher or worse, a troll. A symbol now, of our worst fears about the nature of human beings - that paranoid notion that tugs at our faiths through all our lives.

Allan himself points to author David Foster Wallace (1962 – 2008) whom I will quote to make clear my point - from Wallace's Commencement speech at Kenyon University (2005):

"...everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute center of the universe; the realist, most vivid and important person in existence. We rarely think about this sort of natural, basic self-centeredness because it's so socially repulsive. But it's pretty much the same for all of us. It is our default setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth. Think about it: there is no experience you have had that you are not the absolute center of. "

(Thank you Allan for the link to David Foster Wallace, I have never heard anyone use the allusion 'hardwired' before - the way I have been using it (Charles Darwin, Social Networking & Punctuated Equilibrium) to describe environmental influences as opposed to genetic ones.)

As a person who loves baseball on more levels then I have yet been able to express through my writing, and as a writer working to sustain the enlightenment - these two slags could not stand with-out retort.

I kept my hurt to myself and laid out the history as I saw it. "Joy of Sox" is after all, exactly the kind of blog I would build if I had Allan Woods talent. I wanted in, I wanted to exchange witty repartee, learn the Joy of Sox 'great code', learn to write Allan Woodian sentence structures - just like everyone else! I thought that was the end of it, I didn't want to alienate myself here.

Then, late that night, right after I'd finished a link-back piece: "The Ghost of Babe Ruth whispering in the ears of these many Boston Red Sox's General Managers", a bloggers thank you, no hard feelings - post...

..a nuclear bomb from Jersey landed:

That hurt. Even more so because L-girl (Laura Kaminker) used the voice of Leela. It felt like I just got Futurama 'Fry'ed. :)

(hey, I think I'm getting the hang of this!)

Allan Wood and Laura Kaminker have created a nation with Joy of Sox; it has it's own religion (Red Sox), it's own language (Glossary), a set of laws (Ground Rules) and a unique history (Babe Ruth and the 1918 Red Sox) . Sometimes "core networks" can get a little xenophobic. At times the impulse to reinforce a nations' identity can lead to the demonization of the "other".

From the PEW Internet & American Life Project (2009) "Social Isolation and New Technology"
Part 3: Network Diversity and Community: The Role of the Internet and Mobile Phones


"Core networks provide access to a broad range of social support [2, 12-14]. However, the small number of social ties that make up a core network are also likely to be densely connected and the people to be highly similar – a trend that scholars call “homophily” [18]. Core network members are likely to share many social characteristics, including interests, beliefs, and opinions. This type of network is ideal for access to broad social support and opinion validation, but generally is less than ideal for access to unique information or diversity of opinion "

I think 'We Are the Same' though; I haven't learned the language or laws yet and our religions differ slightly - but our history is the same... I'm just over here a bit.



  1. This is a lovely post. Thanks for the explanation.

    Thank you also for giving me co-credit in creating Joy Nation. It's completely Allan's blog, but I am a presence there, as he is on my blog. And I am not, and have never been, from New Jersey.

    I don't think any demonization of the other was going on - just a dislike for pop-in gloating and self-promotion.

    PS If you do want to comment at JoS, here's Rule #1: Spell Allan's name correctly!! :)

  2. Michael, you can certainly "have in" at JoS.

    But I don't react well to people who seem to comment only to either trash talk or draw attention to their own work. That's what it seemed like you were doing.

  3. L-girl, redsock,

    Thank you both for commenting, you've made my day. A big happy smile won't come off my face this morning. :)

    Laura, Well -- It felt like it was from Jersey!! :\

    Allan, excuse my spelling - my cognition of spelling sucks. I thought I had it right - but instead - Wrong. I've correted them all. (Makes a BIG difference in search.)

    Thank you for the invite, see you there soon.