BILOXI, Miss. - Kerry Graham, a former high-ranking official with the LPGA, recently wrote us an e-mail concerning a blog about Annika Sorenstam.
The blog, by our Las Vegas Golf Guru, hinted strongly that Sorenstam broke up with her husband at least in part because she's a lesbian. Only he never uses the word.
It starts off: "The queen ... if you'll pardon the pun ... of women's golf, Annika Sorenstam ..."
It goes on from there, and you'll pardon my saying it doesn't get any better. It's as if the blog was written by an adolescent who's mad because his sister stole his Playboy. Well, it so happens the Las Vegas Golf Guru, Dennis Silvers, is actually a radio talk show host, which is basically the same thing.
Anyway, Graham asked that the offending blog be removed from the site and wrote, in part: "It is rude and libelous. And I highly recommend that the Las Vegas Blogger be terminated from your site ... That writer is taking golf and your site into the gutter. I would think you would want to disassociate yourself with that type of journalism."
Sorry, Kerry, I have news for you: blogging is the"future" of journalism, if you can believe ... well, the bloggers. Blogging is HUGE, MAMOTH, MILLIONS of people are doing it. So it MUST be the next, next big thing.
In his book, "Blog," Hugh Hewitt - another radio talk show host - wrote: "Change isn't coming. It's here. Information is being absorbed in new and startling ways from new and, until recently, unknown sources."
The book has some interesting information, if you can get past the rest of it, which basically consists of self-serving rants by a right-wing Nazi against anything liberal or - God forbid - having anything to do with the Democratic party.
For example, did you know that in the four years after 1999, there have been 4.2 million blogs? That's an amazing stat, and it's also true bloggers have had a major influence on current events, helping to bring down Trent Lott and Dan Rather, among others.
Anything that popular must have something going for it, and blogging does. It's a democratic way for people tohave a voice, to vent pent-up frustrations that have been simmering for years. Blogs can be hilarious, entertaining and even enlightening. Bloggers have proven to be effective watchdogs of the mainstream media, which seems stodgy and out of touch these days - I can't remember the last time I watched a prime-time, major network news telecast, for example.
Of course, they can also be vituperative, vindictive and downright lies. There's no filter or, for that matter,accountability, for the most part. Blogs can also be misleading, intentionally and unintentionally.
Yes, I too, am a blogger.
I wrote a recent blog about Biloxi, Miss., where I'm visiting and writing about the area's golf. On my first day here, a guy tried to sell me fake diamond rings in a parking lot. I thought it was hilarious and did a short blog on it. Now, this wasn't Hemingway, it was just intended as a harmless, short "slice of life" sketch.
But, the people in Biloxi took it the wrong way. Not only did they take it the wrong way, they misread serious malice into it. The public relations man who set up the trip said he got 40 e-mails from people insisting there is a conspiracy to do a rip job on Biloxi. One guy, the PR man said, had "inside information" that this was indeed our insidious plan.
One aside here: Always be wary of people claiming to have "inside information." It usually isn't.
The PR man, who said he himself didn't believe in these conspiracy theories, pointed out that Mississippians tend to be a little paranoid about their state's image: you know, with all the Ku Klux Klan trials going on, not to mention ... well, let's not exacerbate their paranoia.
In any case, my advice to Graham and anyone else offended by Silvers' adolescent rumor-mongering is this: Who cares? He's just a blogger - and a radio talk show host at that.
Is Sorenstam a lesbian? Who cares? It's her business.Is there a higher percentage of lesbians in the LPGA or women's professional tennis circuit than the general population? Probably - since they're all women! Who cares?
Hey Silvers, call up Lott for support, he's your kind of guy. Maybe Silvers should move to Biloxi - radio talk show-types love conspiracy theories.
March 16, 2005