One year ago tomorrow I pulled the trigger on blogging and began my project, Fork & Cork. With nothing really to say that day, I posted a picture of what has become the setting for writing my F&C posts: a glass of wine, an open window and (not pictured) an open mind. My muse has trended toward the products we cook with, fun music, the latest trends and fads, influences, those who are dubious, notorious and famous, cool things to check out, giants in the field, inspiring books and basically anyone or anything that has pissed me off.
So, I was a bit contemplative when I considered what might be the topic of my one year anniversary post.
I've made a habit of reposting stuff that I felt was still relevant. I've done my lists and Top 10s. And, I've employed a weekly post, the "Chef Quote of the Week" to honor the inspiration of those who help me put that apron on each day. What then, do I care to talk about a full calendar year later?
I suppose more of the same.
Several lay-outs later and with more of a focus on opinion (and still no logo), I feel like Fork & Cork is going to morph a lot more along with its author. Yours truly has gone through several changes of his own, and I've always found great pleasure in retiring to my keyboard during it all for solace and therapy. Still the greatest part of having your own blog has to be that you can write about whatever you like and not care what anyone thinks. It's kinda like Fox News. (ZING!) Except, I say right off that F&C is "a biased compendium of cultural artifacts." I'm biased towards fact.
See what I mean? Anything.
I confess when I was a kid I fantasized about having my own newsletter in school. It would have been filled with certifiable gossip and backhanded comments at bullies and meanie teachers. In short, I wanted to spout off with impunity. Now I can! Mind you, I realize it's more like having a magazine with a subscription of only a couple dozen people- kind of a legend in your own mind. But, sometimes pet theories are healthy to espouse when there's no harm to be done.
It's a writer's code not to impugn someone's character and to police the blogosphere for comments that do. When I read a blog that does delve into these murky waters, I'm usually less likely to return. I mean, I'm all about the "freedom" part of speech, but that doesn't mean I have to read it. That's my freedom. Just like it's yours not to read mine. Maybe it's just me, but within all the opinions out there, there has to be a degree of level reasoning, a healthy dose of the truth and a little bit of self-deprecation. If you talk the talk, then walk the walk- and know when it's time to be humble. "Pursuit of information is not a license for arrogance", as the site cyberjournalist.net lists on their "Bloggers' Code of Ethics". Of the 20 or so caveats they offer, I would say most fall into the categories of "common sense" and "reasonable logic" I mentioned earlier. Now if they could only write one for the people who leave comments.
With each and every site that has commentable content, there is the option of identifying yourself or choosing a screen name, even if anonymous. Oh, the tremendous "muscles" that develop from the anonymous commenter. Their bravery is surpassed only by the malicious name calling and cracked sidewalk philosophy, like taunting a circus lion from the other side of the bars of the cage. Basically- it's the opposite of the journalists' or bloggers' code. It's about character assassination, finger pointing, idle threats and challenges, puffed-up bravado and childish topic derailment. The best thing to do in those situations is do not feed the trolls. Still it's hard. I know I've left my fair share of anonymous comments, haughty and snarky, but usually in defense of a friend or cause attacked by one of the aforementioned turds. Now I try to live by my own words, and I leave my true identity. You want everyone to play by the rules, but then that's the appeal of the internet for many. There aren't really any.
Maybe one day we'll look back on this period of the internet as our caveman era. There's not a whole lot of finesse, just a natural instinct to survive and evolve. As magazines and newspapers are replaced by blogs, maybe then the good ones will rise to the top, and actually become a trusted and respected source of fact and information, and dare I say it, opinion, too.