Arthur Louis's Blog

Arthur Louis

Arthur Louis
February 28
I was a writer and editor for more than forty years with four newspaper and magazine publishers. I am the author of two non-fiction books: "The Tycoons" and "Journalism and Other Atrocities," and one novel, "The Little Champ," all available on


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MAY 4, 2012 6:02PM

My First Year at Open Salon: A Reckoning

Rate: 8 Flag

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.

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Just keep writing, Arthur; there much more nice people on OS than assholes. As far as the EPs, I don't think it is about liberal or conservative; it is about being politically correct. The most popular subject with the Editors is suffering from illness, and your "feeeeeelings" in general. Also, keep reading, there some great writers, columnists and journalists around. Happy Anniversary, Arthur. R
Thanks, Thoth. I appreciate the advice.
This is simply a test comment. This comment is only submitted as a test.
Chris, Are you with Conelrad now?
hey dude. your daughter writes on here huh? bein kinda coy there eh? interesting factoid.
re staph infections. I know the feeling. strangely I have never deleted any comments on my blogs except spam. I think its a test of character. the comments you hate the most, you realize, are part of your "shadow".. a deep jungian concept in psychology. I think you should leave em up, but its your call. sounds like you enjoy swatting the flies. I enjoy your contrarian right view even though I consider some of the ideas on par with staph infections also. :p
btw youve got far more EPs than me in far less time, too. think you're doing quite ok on here.
thanks for your comments, vzn. it's my daughter-in-law, not daughter. her name is so different from mine that nobody will blame her for me, which is just as well.
I got three EP's my first three months here. Never again. They knew they had me hooked.
I for one like having you around whether we agree or not.
Happy Anniversary, Arthur!!!!
When you get views in the thousands, it usually means someone recommended it on Digg It or Stumble Upon.
You describe many people's experiences. The disproportion between reads and rates. The early EP(s) and never again. The rude commenters on political posts - lefty posts get really nasty remarks from righties. So far your experience is pretty much par for the course.
Patrick, So that's how it works!
Seer, I would make an exception for you.
Thanks, Miguela, very nice of you.
STATHI, Many thanks!
Midwest, Thanks for clearing that up.
Myriad, I guess that is reassuring.
They say the 1st year is the hardest, it's all down hill from here!! :D

Happy Blogaversary and yes, keep writing.....
"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."

Unfortunate but true. I've been around here for four years, and I can't recall ever having seen a conservative post selected for the cover. I understand that, like every blog site, OS has a particular point of view. But still, you'd think that every once in a while something on the other side of the issue could be chosen for the cover.

You also have another "disability" -- male gender. Most of the cover posts are written by women, and even when a man's post ends up on the cover, it's often because he has written about an issue of general interest to women. It certainly is possible for a man's post to end up on the cover, but it is harder.

But combining male gender with a conservative perspective, it is extremely unlikely that any of your political posts would ever show up on the cover. That's a fact of life here. It's too bad, because without even the possibility of getting on the cover, it is hard to be inspired to do the work required for a high-quality post. A good post takes a lot of work, and it is hard to justify spending that kind of time on a post when you know that it will never be on the cover even before you hit the "publish" button.

My solution is to rarely post anything. I focus on comments. Even though I'm a social conservative my comments are generally tolerated. Blog owners should like comments, even from a conservative perspective, because comments draw attention to the post, and a comment on the other side of the issue can help to generate good discussion and even more attention.

Even though conservative posts aren't going to show up on the cover, there's still a place for conservatives on OS. And I think most people realize that there is value in having other points of view. A site where everyone agreed with everybody on everything all the time would be pretty boring.
Thanks, Tink, for the classic Tink response.

Mishima, Thank you for the thoughtful analysis. Exactly correct.
A former journo who dresses to the right? How odd, considering the usual criticism of the breed.

That said, one of my earliest (and most interesting) friends on here was a Tea Partier. She left in disgust, to my dismay, over the reactions from some of the more rabid commenters. I seldom agreed with her political stance, but I always appreciated her style, both literary and personal, and I miss her very much. (A shout-out, Sarge, wherever you are.)

As for EPs, well, I've been here since late in 2008. I've had some stuff on the cover, but the selections have been all over the place. Posts about my former job never qualified, as far as I remember, but some of my history and personal stuff has; I've been grateful for that.

Meanwhile, keep writing. It's good to see other points of view.
Boanerges1, Thank you for your nice response!
Seeing you wrote for a Philadelphia paper I read throughout my life in Philly I started to follow your posts. It wasn't so much your political views that are startling or cause that much reaction as this is how it goes today but your inflammatory titles to your posts. "loving some abortions" things of this nature. I find you approach to be rude and hence people have reacted rudely. I don't think it was your intention to be inclusive but and attention seeking and it has worked. Many of your titles contain OS and complaints about OS to gain further reads and rates which obviously you are seeking. The EP awards have been complained about soundly from all around. It is a site that has more woman, more lefties and people who have been effected greatly by this economy if you expected more support and agreement you are in the wrong place. Surely there are places that reward such titles and agree with your political views that are dominated by males. I welcomed you if you remember, and I welcome all views but don't consider people rude if you go out of your way to be offensive on the outset. I reread your titles again this morning to be sure I was correct on this since I lost interest in reading you also, that doesn't mean I think you should leave but what you put out is usually what you get back, so don't be so surprised and naive about it. I see this post as another complaining meta post, it will probably garner you the response you seek.
Don't feel too blue Arthur Lewis.
Sit on top of the Fire House Roof.
I had breakfast at a local Fire Hall.

I saw your name written in the latrine.
On the stall graffiti the scribble reads:
Watch Out.
For Hot Sax?
No call Thoth . . .
Call Salon's editor.
You get staff-itches.
I banter and then off . . .
I miss folk who yodel too.
No feed-off flattery here.
or seek flattery/flatulence.
I never got a EP. I not blue.
I hum a Blue Moon melody.
Ay 'Blue Moon' of Kentucky.
I have 'stuff' to say. I Shush.
Nature entertains. O Yodel.
I feel like staying clear. huh?
O` _hole? There's just one?

Stay clear? Discern Nasties.
Human nature get depraved.
No call names on commodes.
Local Fire Halls serve chowder.
You get delicious maple syrups.
They brew Maple Syrup Wines.
I can sense . . . I best shush asap.
I always get sad if I confront folk.
We happy when in good company.
Congratulations for your good nature.
Canadians (still) believe in some good.
Americans (still) aren't perfect. Who is?
Arthur Lewis
Imagine . . .
Grandpa and grandma
having sex
written on firehouse bathroom stall
call for `free
saxophone lessons
for hot sax
visit @ Salon's Personnel
for itchy lip
I've no doubt
that I best get
and view loons
okay . . . so to

'post this comment'

go read email and try
`gin? No!
Sip two 'Scooner' beers
gulp 'Lunenburg's Wine:
Honeymoon, Kiwi, Peach,
Bear River Cherry, Rhubarb,
and Remember . . . No read:
any bathroom stall scribble at
thee local Fire Hall breakfast.
The even have a Leisure Club.

ay grin

I agree`Happy
Anniversary . . .
*but attention seeking
sorry for typos the site on my end is very slow yet took this comment before I could fix them.
rita, thank you for commenting politely. also for reading me, even though you say you previously lost interest in reading me.

art james, I wish I were better at interpreting poetry.
I've noticed that any site which attracts Liberals tends to attract rudeness. Not all Liberals are rude of course but if something nasty and snarky has been said it's usually not a Conservative.

Also, OS's system comment sucks.

But glad you read your articles and your experience.

And if the Libs can't take a joke... too bad.
Thanks for the encouragement, Harrison.
The way I look at it, every rude and snarky comment just shows how silly they are.