When I quit the newspaper racket in 1985, the information highway was a pipe dream. The only way we received feedback from our readers was an occasional letter and a handful of telephone calls. Most were negative. Considering the paper's circulation was about 180,000, the interaction was barely a blip on the radar screen.
When I created The Remmers Report, my Google-driven blogsite in September 2007, I was not only a virgin in cyberspace but a fossil still clinging to the only means of communications I knew about -- writing stories for a family newspaper.
The only difference of what I write now and what I would have written 25 years ago is an occasional damn or hell and the advancement of an opinion that may have gotten me fired by my old publisher.
In the beginning, writing political stories and explaining complex government gobbledegook was as shooting an airball. The silence of all those sweated out words making scintillating prose was deafening. Oh, a brother or two would feel guilty and write a comment to an occasional post.
As the months went by, a reader from out of no where stumbled on my blog and actually took the time to comment and stroke my vanity. What an ego trip. You see, unlike a few writers I know, I enjoy the give and take of a good debate as long as it remains civil. Writers are the same as little children, they love to be flattered and have developed a thick enough skin to accept the arrows.
The only time I promoted my blog to anyone was Joe Gandelman and only because I knew of him as a former reporter on the San Diego Union-Tribune where I worked for 18 of my 24+ years in the newspaper business.
Joe invited me to co-blog on The Moderate Voice and six months later at my request handed me the title of columnist. I've tried to live up to that self-imposed honor with every column I post.
In the beginning writing for TMV was nirvana. I had died and gone to heaven. Some columns sparked 30 comments. Unheard of from my newspaper experience before Al Gore invented the Internet.
Little did I know that Dr. Clarrisa Pinkola Estes, who over the past year has become a trusted pen pal, was moderating the comments as much as we all have learned the past 24 hours.
My first reaction, now that I am a seasoned veteran in this we're-in-it-only-for-the-love trade, was winning the lottery and finding out I cannot spend a dime of it. As a loyal contributor, I support the ban on comments for a three-month trial.
But, I am too new at this game to understand if the loss of interaction between we authors and you commenters is a death sentence for what has become a respected, civil, political Web site that I am proud to have played a part. I have read the more than 100 comments to Pete Abel's announcement and appreciate the opinions and valid points in each and every one.
What will happen will happen.
I have made friends I never would have met otherwise, particularly Joe and Dr.E, the most compassionate person on the face of the earth in my book. I have communicated with the always helpful Joe Windish and learned to appreciate the candor of such regular commenters as DSL, JS Spencer, Dorian (the great) and scores more.
As a writer, I have endeavored to find a style niche comfortable to me that sometimes defies the purpose of these Web sites. For instance, I don't give a damn what other bloggers say and that is why you seldom see a cut and paste column under my byline unless lifted from actual news stories. It's my column and not the opinions of others that's important.
Meanwhile, if the TMV people still want me, I plan to write as often as my health permits. While the self-publishing ban is in effect, I will end my TMV posts with a reefer to my blogsite for comments. At the end of each of my posts on The Remmers Report you will find this attachment:
Readers comments are welcome as long as they remain civil. We reserve the right to delete any comments that are vulgar, libelous and totally irrelevant to this posting. -- Jer
I could be wrong, but I don't think comments on Google's blogsite can be internally edited which means the entire comment will be deleted if it violates my simple rules. I will reply to the comments if asked or consider it appropriate.
For those who appreciate my offerings -- even to those who miss my efforts at humor and witticisms -- I hope you will continue visiting TMV.