I had intended to write something in honor of my first anniversary on Open Salon, but I have let a little more than a week slip by, mainly because I was on the road, and writing a blog is even tougher than texting when one is driving. I hope that no one suffered an anxiety attack waiting for my report.
I had never heard of Open Salon until I was told about it early last year by my daughter-in-law, who also writes here. I spent most of my life in journalism, and having been retired some time, I welcomed the opportunity to give people the pleasure of reading me again. The thing I like most about Open Salon is that one can write pretty much anything one wishes. This I have done an average of seven times a month since I joined.
The thing I like least about Open Salon is that its members include some of the rudest people I have ever come across, and they sometimes have a tendency to leave comments on my blog that I find as welcome as a staph infection.
Most of the rude comments are made on my political blogs. I write a fair amount about politics – close to one in every three OS pieces, I find in retrospect. Most of my political blogs are in a satiric vein. While I consider myself politically independent, I do lean toward the conservative side and the Republican party. Today’s Democrats, I feel, are too eager to wipe out many of the social and political values that I cherish. They don’t even seem willing to grant that the GOP is a legitimate other party. They equate Republicanism with fascism. They can be quite irrational about this.
Unfortunately, the OS format makes it impossible to block people from one’s blog, or even from commenting on it. Fortunately, it is possible to delete comments, or to simply close off comments. I have never closed comments on anything I have written here, mainly because I don’t want to prevent rational people from commenting. But I have deleted quite a few comments. The comments I have deleted are mainly those that I consider rude or just plain crazy. I also routinely delete comments from certain individuals whom I have come to dislike intensely. I send them packing even in those rare instances when they say something unobjectionable. OS makes it possible for me to do this, and I take advantage of the privilege.
There seem to be quite a few OS writers who rarely write blogs themselves, but spend most of their waking hours – and maybe even some sleeping hours – sniping at other writers. It takes all kinds. Maybe, like college instructors, they should be denied tenure if they don’t publish enough themselves.
One of my earliest pieces, about the American Indian heroine Sacagawea, was honored with an Editor’s Pick, but I have received only two other EPs since, and never when writing on a political issue. If you want a political EP on OS, you have to follow the Democratic party line. Just log onto the Democratic National Committee Web site and find out what DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz thinks you should say. It will coincide with what the OS editors think you should say.
I seem to have a steady following here, though not a very large one. Almost all my posts receive at least 200 reads, but only about one out of seven has surpassed 1,000. My most-read piece ever, in which I whined about how badly oldtimers like myself are treated by young people, received 11,000 hits, and I have no idea why. I have somewhat more than forty followers at present, although at one point there were more – until they started closely reading my political essays.
One fascinating statistic: Although all my posts get at least hundreds of views, and some get into the thousand-plus range, I average fewer than four ratings per post. This seems to suggest that most of my readers regard me as a guilty pleasure. I picture them sitting in their dens, long after the rest of the family goes to sleep, hunched in the dark over their screens, but terrified to go on record as approving what I wrote. From me they move on to Internet porno clips, or so I imagine.