Thursday, January 20, 2005


A number of you have e-mailed regarding an organization called Blogpac and begging that The Common Ills not join it.

Don't worry, we won't. I have no idea what the organization is (again, we're all saved my lack of knowledge).

The organziation may be a strong one and it may be worth supporting.

But we don't take talking points from anyone at this site. We come up with our own. Sometimes that's me introducing a topic, sometimes it's you introducing a topic. (Sometimes, it's me introducing a topic that a reader didn't want to bring up on his or her own. So don't be so quick to credit me with a brilliant topic.)

If they're an organization attempting to weigh in and help the country, good for them. And may they have much success. However, a blogger from another site (and not a community member or anyone we link to) e-mailed (what I'm sure was a mass e-mailing to all left sites) about them that we could "find the way to stay on message."

Who's message?

Thanks for the invitation (it's always nice to be invited) but who's message?

At this site, we determine our own message. We don't need talking points or Katherine Graham rapping the table and telling us to bring the conversation "back to the center." (Graham's deceased but the analogy stands. And in fairness to Grahm, she served a meal first.)

The reason we've been able to build this community is because we've followed our own interests in what to discuss. The idea that suddenly a page of talking points would appear and I'll be building an entry off that leaves me cold and I can't imagine it does much for anyone reading such an entry.

Again, if they're trying to help, more power to them.

But the twenty-seven who wrote to express their concern that we might sign up don't need to worry. I do not have the time to look into the organization and determine what they stand for or where the funding, if any, comes from.

We've got our own concerns in this community and they may overlap with some of the concerns of an organization attempting to get people "on message" but many of them won't.

We'll wish them well, but we'll retain our independence. As Jim pointed out in his e-mail, "The rush to the middle road usually results in road kill." Too true.

And though the e-mail promoting blogpac (again, I think it was a spam e-mail) promises "networking" opportunities, we network with another here.

I'm writing this two days ahead of when it will be posted and more e-mails on this group may have come in. But there's no need to worry that we're going to join it. There are organizations that we will permalink to (NAACP and Code Pink will be going up by the end of the month) and we will permalink to various resources.

However, we haven't joined any organizations and have no intention of. The Air America Radio ads for The Nation usually feature Janeane Garofalo saying, "No one owns The Nation." No one owns our Common Ills community either.

And I think it's great that when something like Blogpac comes up, so many of you care enough to start e-mailing about it.

I'd also like to note that Australia says it's fine to identify him, he's Luke. And he has his own web site if anyone would like to check it out: He warns that he does the use the "f-word" from time to time, so anyone viewing at work has been warned.

[Note, this post was written on Wednesday morning and will post later in the week.]