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Monday, September 22, 2008

Bloggdacity of Hope...

...members of the blogosphere, please come to order. All rise as the presenter of our closing address steps to the fore.

:::APPLAUSE::APPLAUSE::
::KEY TAPS::KEY TAPS::
::MOUSE CLICKS::MOUSE CLICKS::

Thank you so much…Thank you very much…Thank you, everybody.

To Chairman Ezzie and my great friend Noy G, and to all my fellow posters of this great medium, with profound gratitude and limited humility, I accept your nomination for presidency of the J-Blogosphere. Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest, a champion for working bloggers and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours, (enter favorite female blogger here).

To President Bear, to President Dov Bear, who made last night the case for change as only he can make it...to XGH, who embodies the spirit of service...and to the next vice president of the J-Blogosphere, myself, I thank you. (That’s right, I’m my own running mate, how’s THAT for outside-the-box…besides, the last thing I need is another voice in my head.) I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest posters of our time, a man at ease with everyone from social commentator blogs to the posters on the sports blogs he still checks at home every night. (That’s right again, I’m talking about myself as my own running mate in what I can only figure is like the fourth person.) To the love of my life, our next first lady, ******* ***** [password protected]... and to LeBron and Braylon and Fausto, I love you so much, and I am so proud of you.

Some months ago, I stood before you and told you my story, of the brief conversation between a young man from the mid-west and another young man from the mid-west (now exiled on the eastern seaboard in a city we shall not defile this convention my mentioning) who weren't well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in the Internets they could achieve whatever they put his blog to. [That actually isn’t true at all. A)My story has never been told in these parts, nor will it if certain people know what’s good for them B) I’m still not really sure if anything can be “achieved” around here…but I digress…]

It is that promise that's always set this sphere apart, that through hard work and sacrifice each of us can pursue our individual blogs, but still come together as one J-Blogosphere family (THAT’S RIGHT I SAID FAMILY, YOU HEAR ME GIL…FA-MI-LY!...THAT’S EVEN MORE THAN A COMMUNITY, DEAL WITH IT!!!), to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams, as well. That's why I stand here tonight. Because for 232 years (after all, what is that document in Washington if not just one long blog posting), at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women – left wing and right wing, more religious and less religious, older and younger -- found the courage to keep it alive. ::tear::

We meet at one of those defining moments, a moment when our sphere is at war, our convention is in turmoil, and the Blogging promise has been threatened once more. Tonight, more bloggers are out of posts and more are posting harder for less site traffic. More of you have lost your blogs and even more are watching your SiteMeter values plummet. More of you have cars you can't afford to drive, credit cards, bills you can't afford to pay, and tuition that's beyond your reach (wait a second…that’s from last week’s Orthonomics post, how did that get in here?).

These challenges are not all of the J-Blogosphere’s making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of the failed policies of the current administration. My fellow posters, we are better than these last few years. We are better than this. (At least I think we are, truth is perhaps we are not and this is just who we are… could be… could be.) This sphere is more decent than one where a blogger in Ohio, one on the brink of retirement, find themselves one virus away from disaster after a lifetime (or more likely a few bored months) of hard work (or time filling, whatever). We're a better sphere than one where a man in California has to pack up the blog that he's worked on for 2 long months and watch as it's shipped off to the ether, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news (this is the story as it was relayed to me… hey, I don’t claim to understand all you people out there). We are more compassionate than a medium that lets veterans sleep on our streets (as it were, anybody got a good blog terminology for ‘streets’?) and URLs slide into anonymity... that sits on its hands while a major J-Blogospherian entity drowns before our eyes. Tonight, tonight, I say to the people of the J-Blogosphere, to those who walk the party line wherever it may lead and independent thinkers across this great internet: Enough.

This moment, this election is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the Blogging promise alive. Because next week, in another post, the same party that brought you two terms of the current administration will ask this populace for a third. And we are here -- we are here because we love this sphere too much to let the next few years look just like the last few. On November 4th, we must sit up and type: A few is enough! (Yeah, I know…no wonder they didn’t call the show that.)

Now, now, let there be no doubt. My opponent, has worn the ‘uniform’ of our sphere with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and our respect. (We also ask him to kindly change his clothes, eat a proper meal and for the love of all that is good and pure in this world to take a shower.) And next week, we'll also hear about those occasions when he's broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the posts that we need. But the record's clear: It doesn’t matter because he isn’t one of us and we don’t like him! I don't know about you, but I am not ready to go along with somebody who isn’t one of us and who we don’t like!

And when one of his chief advisers, the man who wrote his “Eilay” post, was talking about the anxieties that J-Bloggers are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a postal recession and that we've become, and I quote, "a community of whiners." A community of whiners? Tell that to the proud bloggers of our most successful carnival who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every month and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the links that they provided. Tell that to the site owners who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their guest posters leave for their third, or fourth, or fifth tour of college or yeshiva. These are not whiners. They work hard, and they give back, and they keep going without complaint. These are the J-Bloggers I know.

Now, I don't believe that my opponent doesn't care what's going on in the lives of J-Bloggers (I shudder to think what such a person places above blogging on his ‘important’ list…honestly!); I just think he doesn't know. It's not because he doesn't care; it's because he just doesn't get it. (For shame…for shaaaaaaaaame) For over two years -- for over two years!, he's subscribed to that old, discredited philosophy: Give more and more site visits to those with the most and hope that blog traffic trickles down to everyone else. (For the un-initiated this is known as ‘clickle down bloggonomics’.) In some corners of the J-Blogosphere, they call this the "Linking Society," but what it really means is that you're on your own. Out of ideas? Tough luck, you're on your own. No interesting posts? The market will fix it. You're on your own. Born boring? Pull yourself up by your own creativity, even if you don't have any creativity. You are on your own. Well, it's time for them to own their failure. It's time for us to change the J-Blogosphere. And that's why I'm running for president of the J-Blogosphere.

We measure the strength of our sphere not by the number of hundred comment posts we have or the profits of the most successful, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new blog, or whether the student who lives on hat-tips can take a day off, a blogosphere that honors the dignity of commenting.The fundamentals we use to measure blogging strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this concept great, a promise that is the only reason I am posting here tonight. What -- what is that promise? It's a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own blogs what we will, but that we also have obligations to treat each other with dignity and respect. (Check me out channeling my inner Bogner!) It's a promise that says the J-Blogosphere should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that blog owners should live up to their responsibilities to create controversy where none exists, to look out for their own personal agendas, and play by the rules of their own definition of fair play and honesty. Our blogosphere should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us (although a little discomfort here and there never killed anybody). It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most talent and influence, but for every blogger who's willing to work. That's the promise of the J-Blogosphere, the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation, the fundamental belief that I am my brother blogger’s keeper, I am my sister blogger’s keeper (however, if I were a sister blogger I wouldn’t be betting my tuition money on assistance from the Y-chromosome crowd… Ezzie excluded… after all, THAT'S NOT TZNIUS!).

That's the sh’vua we need to keep. That's the change we need right now. J-Bloggers, we cannot click ‘go-back’... not with so much work to be done; not with so many children to educate (the kids dammit, what about the kids?!), and so many veterans to care for (this is an interesting question actually…what constitutes a blogging vet: time frame, no. of posts, popularity, impact??) ; not with an economy to fix (I want to make dollars off of this for crying out loud! Bring in some kessef, the moolah, some coin, a little scratch, a bit of dough, some cheddar, some lettuce, a little of the g-old…I’d like to get paid is what I’m saying), and farms to save (just seeing if everyone is paying attention) and so many lives to mend. J-Bloggers, we cannot click ‘go-back’. We cannot type alone.

Thank you. G-d bless you. And G-d bless the J-Blogosphere of America.

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