North Western Winds

Contemplating it all from the great Pacific Northwest

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The Ballad of Nick and Theresa

The tempest between Nick Packwood (the Flea) and Theresa Zolner got me to thinking, which is always dangerous.

I have also had disagreements with bloggers. The Raving Atheist comes to mind (funny, I’ve never actually heard from him directly). Ben and I appear to disagree about everything, but do like and respect him, and I know that there is a great deal of common ground. Andrew and I have also had a civil disagreement, one that has proven to be quite entertaining (for me, anyway). On my own blog I think that the back and forth of opinion is one of the best things going on. That’s what I made it for. I respect that other bloggers may have different goals for their blogs, and there’s no reason why those shouldn’t be valid.

The facts in this particular case, as near as I can tell, are that Theresa tried to engage Nick on the subject of his not infrequent posting of various female models on his site. Nick did not want to talk about it, and now both of them are steamed at the other. From the sidelines, I’d say there is nothing amiss here. As far as I can tell, Theresa hasn’t told him what to post, except that she dislikes one aspect of his site. That would seem to be fair game if it is done civilly. I think she went too far in taking exception to having her comments deleted. Theresa, after all, has her own vehicle from which to speak, and a blog is not a democracy unless the owner(s) make it one, and one shouldn’t presume otherwise. As Nick wrote:

If you spot something here and choose to write about it please have the common courtesy to offer a link in recognition of my work. If you are an argumentative soul regularly outraged at my ramblings I suggest you vent your feelings at your own expense elsewhere.

I am probably a rarity among the Red Ensign group in that I don’t care for the girlie pictures leading the Flea’s entries. I like Flea’s site and I like my co-Red Ensigns. I really like Nick’s Winston Review and I do take a look at some of the other things he posts. But the girlie stuff is so cheap that anybody could post it. And aren’t those pictures copyrighted? Nick’s a good writer and I suspect that he doesn’t need that gimmick in order to get people to visit. None of the other Red Ensign blogs that I’m aware of posts that kind of imagery, so I’ll bet I’m not the only one who thinks we might get more respect without it, however independent we’d like think we are.

Ghost of a Flea is Nick’s site, however, and he can do as he wishes there, although copyright does come into play. Furthermore, since Nick’s the closest thing the Red Ensign has to a captain, I had to weigh my objections to those images before I signed on to his blogroll. In the end, I decided I could live with them, if not love them. It’s one of the facts of life that you have to get along with people. If you only associate with those who mirror yourself, you’re going to be lonely and you’re not going to get a lot done. And the Red Ensign as a group seems to be a group in which you can stand apart without being torn down. It’s that whole freedom thing. It’s true I’m offended, but I’m not that offended. I could stop visiting. I could drop the Red Ensign group. I could stand in the corner all by myself. I prefer to try and work it out.

I also think that Theresa’s holding Nick to account because of what his job is (he teaches at a Canadian university) is unfair, and it reminds me of a very ugly case here in B.C. (I think it was B.C.). In that case, a Christian man who was a public school teacher was hounded out of the teacher’s union and I think out of a job, for writing letters to the editor that were critical of homosexuality. He did not bring his views to the classroom. This is an issue that is at play in our society and it is highly unfair to tell this man that he can’t speak to it because of the job that he holds. There is a reason we distinguish between public and private lives. Privacy is not sacrosanct, but I would tread more cautiously than Theresa is advocating.

I would not describe my exception to the pictures as an objection to sexism, rather I think it is simply coarse. Not everything that passes between my ears is fit to speak, never mind publish, and so I filter what appears here.

I’ll also respond to the Monger’s comment that:

The women whom Flea features in his daily posts are not pornographic “starlets” or centerfold “models”. They are invariably (I believe) musicians and actors who happen to be physically attractive to most men

This is a distinction without a difference. It might matter if the topic was the women’s acting or music, but it’s not. And since it’s not, you might as well Post Jenna Jameson for all the merit it’ll do you.

Blogging is a new activity and it blurs the traditional lines of public and private space, so I’d be interested in hearing feedback on this. I think it’ll be some time yet before public attitudes settle on issues such as these.

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Written by Curt

November 24, 2004 at 8:07 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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