Monday, May 18, 2009

Things I'm Supposed to Hate, But Don't: Anti-Strib

("Supposed to Hate, But Don't" idea taken from Shot in the Dark.)

Some blog-readers know the Anti-Strib, the long-running Minnesota blog that takes the Minneapolis Star-Tribune to task and covers a variety of other topics. If you know the Anti-Strib, you know that doesn't quite give you a full description.

If I remember right, Mitch at Shot in the Dark affectionately described the Anti-Strib's writers as a bunch of plate-throwers. That's certainly a colorful description, and one that isn't far from the mark. I know... I used to contribute to the Anti-Strib, and I wasn't the only writer who enjoyed poking at targets with a stick. Some of the commenters also enjoyed "plate-throwing"... not all of them on the same political side as the Anti-Strib writers.

Apparently, the Anti-Strib is going dark. That's going to bring a cheer to a number of the writers and employees of the Star-Tribune, Nick Coleman probably the first and the loudest.

A certain number of Anti-Strib "readers" are joyously commenting that the Anti-Strib is coming to an end.

That's all they ever wanted... to silence a voice of opposition.

Yeah, sure... a number of Republican and conservative bloggers consider the Anti-Strib to be a bit charged and vulgar. Tracy, the guy behind the blog and one of the main contributors, considers his original intentions (that you pretty much let anyone comment in almost any way, shape, or form for the sake of encouraging discussion) might be the reason that comments have gone overboard and subjects to vere away from the main topic.

The site is known for writers and commentors to both carry on heated exchanges regardless of the subject at hand. For this reason, folks might sneer if you say you read the Anti-Strib. I suspect we're supposed to dislike the Anti-Strib.

I just can't.

Part of it is that I used to write for and with those guys. To a certain extent, I know some of them personally and find them enjoyable folks.

It isn't that we all come from the same mind, because we clearly didn't... anyone who read a number of posts and comments could find that out.

Too many readers simply didn't get that part of it. They came to the blog with a fairly well cemented opinion that such plate-throwing conservatives were assholes and hate-filled and addressed their own misunderstanding of our posts... and those folks stayed! They often came back... with different names to try to hide that fact.

The original goal of Tracy's blog was to point out the journalistic failings and bias of the Star-Tribune. An easy task. We loved to highlight Nick Coleman's blathering and meandering columns... however, we were quick to point out when he had something we really enjoyed. We did that for other pieces in the Strib, too.

Steering away from that goal allowed the blog to grow, but it seems like that might have been a long-term mistake. It was the reason Anti-Strib stood out from the other local blogs.

Another slightly unique policy... Tracy's "keep your mouth shut when it comes to a commentor's family" stand. Insult the writers and commentors all you want, but if someone said anything about wifes, husbands, kids, etc.... your comment was deleted. I believe that stance was intended to remind visitors and writers that certain topics are off-limits and stray too far from the topic. Maybe that didn't work... but maybe it kept things going as long as they did.

For the most part, Tracy and Sequel and Kermit and Jim have taken a lot of heat for their opinions... as well as for their smart alec methods. Their critics seem to mostly come from the school of thought that believes conservatives are heartless, hate-filled bigots with no education, a mean-spirited attitude, and a desire to destroy.

Yeah, we kill puppies, too.

These critics didn't want a conversation. They didn't like the loyal opposition shooting-from-the-hip and telling beligerant commentors to "Go get your shinebox!" They were offended by the very thought that someone on the Right might disagree.

I'm taking note that this is occurring during the Obama Administration. I certainly don't blame the President... but I blame some of his supporters.