Tag Archives: blogging


FOR THE LAST TIME! Blogs are blogs, posts are posts. Got it? GOOD.

I know that writing this, I’m running the risk of becoming Old Man Natural, shaking my liver-spotted fist at those pesky young-uns ruining the English language.

But I’m willing to take that risk.

So let me issue the following PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:

The word “blog” — short for “weblog,” remember? — is a noun that refers to a whole collection of articles.

If you read an article on someone’s website, and it’s a few paragraphs (or even a few sentences) long and it’s stamped with the time and date, that is not a blog. That is a post.

(Or, if you’re in Facebook, it’s a Note.)

The whole thing is the blog.

As with many social ills, I blame Myspace for this confusion, because they were the first major social networking site to confuse these meanings. In Myspace parlance, a “blog” is both the weblog as a whole AND the various posts that make up the blog.

Not only is that generally annoying and nonsensical for those among us still maintaining a tenuous grip on internet literacy in the age of Web 2.0, but it generally dilutes the meaning of the word.

This is the reason why we have words, so that people can understand and know what the hell we’re talking about.

If I say to my friend Chris Johnson, “hey, nice grapefruit!” he’s not going to know that by “grapefruit” I mean “blog post” and so he’ll be confused and not understand that I’m actually giving him a compliment on a well-reasoned post concerning civility amongst Christians in politics.

This is why I reserve the word “grapefruit” for softball-sized citrus fruits with pink insides and a tart aftertaste. Because that’s what everyone knows the word “grapefruit” to mean.

When someone sends me an email or makes a comment in passing over the phone or in person and says, “hey, I read your blog the other day, nice work!” I’m not really sure what they mean. Are they telling me that they enjoy my work overall, or was there a particular thing that I wrote that they liked that they’re complimenting me about?

And it’s all because lazy people decided to expand the use of the word “blog” into places where it doesn’t belong.

You know what it’s like?

Back in the early eighties, there was a really annoying cartoon called The Smurfs.

They were little purple people with saccharine storylines and dopey mannerisms. And their most annoying trait was their liberal use of the word “smurf” in their everyday conversations. Everything was smurfing this and smurfing that. The word “smurf” became their all-purpose, sentence-filling expletive.

Because of this, the word “smurf” had no meaning.

Not coincidentally, the show had little meaning either. Eventually it was canceled, and now it’s relived only in 80’s nostalgia T-shirts.

I love to blog. Obviously, I do it a lot.

And I like the word “blog” because it’s simple, and up until recently, everyone knew what it meant.

If you’ve made it to the end of this post, then please… I beg you:

Don’t let blogging go the way of the Smurfs.

Let blogs be blogs, and posts be posts.

Thank you for your time.


“A Little Cereal With Some Friends”

[Insert standard disclaimer about being busy to explain more than two weeks of time passing between posts.]

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I just wanted to take a quick minute to point out a new TunePak on ReverbNation that I designed. It features a new internet only joint about social networking (entitled, shockingly, “Social Networking”) and another one of our why haven’t we recorded this song already joints called “Kingdom Livin’ (I Go to Work).”

The whole chorus of “Social Networking” is asking people to post our music (in the form of this tunepak) on their blogs. It’s a desperate bid for attention promotional opportunity, I know, but people keep bugging us about making our recordings available.

Baby steps, people… baby steps.

I know it’s a little ridiculous to post the link to the TunePak when I have the official Iccsters tune widget embedded right into my blog, but there are several other aggregators that this blog feeds, and those aggregators don’t have the RN tune widget (including those of you reading this through Facebook).

What would it look like if I’m begging everyone else to post this song to their blog and I don’t have the nerve to post it to my own blog?

Anyway… Iccsters fans, unite.

And put this on your blog. =)

(By the way if you’re wondering what the top image is for, it’ll be the top slide of the presentation that I’ll eventually put together the next time we put on a concert.)

(What, you’ve never seen hip-hop concerts with Powerpoint before?)


Entertain? Sure. But Be Accountable. (Yes, Deadspin, Yes, Jim Rome — I’m Talking to You.)

That seems to be the message that I’ve distilled from the saga of H.G. “Buzz” Bissinger, Will Leitch, and the snarkiest sports blog ever, Deadspin.

(By the way, I’ve grown weary of hyperlinking to all of the wikipedia entries of all of these entities. If you want to know more, it’s called Google. Click away.)

If these names don’t mean anything to you, then I quote Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride:

“Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.”

Buzz Bissinger is an acclaimed sports writer, who wrote the seminal small-town football chronicle Friday Night Lights, which much later spawned a feature film, and then a hit TV show.

Will Leitch is the former (then current) editor of Deadspin, a sports blog in the Gawker media family, that doesn’t pull any punches in exposing the folly of modern athletes and their sometimes just-as-ridiculous sports media counterparts. Deadspin’s motto is “Sports Without Access, Favor, or Discretion.”

Now recently, both Bissinger and Leitch appeared on an HBO sports panel with Bob Costas, and the topic of internet media came up. During this segment Bissinger blew up at Leitch, making a fool of himself in the process. (R-rated language in the clip… after all, this is HBO.)

Recently, Bissinger had a series of email exchanges with Leitch to clear the air, presumably because Leitch is leaving Deadspin to work for New York Magazine and doesn’t want the legacy of the blog that he built remembered by an HBO segment gone horribly awry.

The whole conversation is a fascinating read. And there are some great lessons to be mined from it, which of course, is why I’m writing about it. These lessons are the tale of the tape, so to speak.

So let the tape roll…

First lesson:

The blogosphere is NOT kind to cranky old men, even if they’re speaking truth.

Ironically, I score this for a point FOR Bissinger and AGAINST Deadspin.

See, this is a classic case of style over substance, of the medium becoming the message. Bissinger later admitted regret over the tenor of his remarks during his HBO appearance, because he was clearly angry and clearly venting all of his frustration on sports blogs in general on Leitch and Deadspin specifically. This made him look out of touch and somewhat senile (see: Cosby, Bill).

But I read a lot of the comments after the initial Deadspin post that covered the controversy, and most of them were exactly as Bissinger described: sophomoric, cheap T&A jokes with the occasional decent point thrown in.

Yet, the only thing most of the commenters took from Bissinger’s appearance was “hey look, some angry old man made an arse of himself on TV,” only they were all much nastier about it.

This, to me, speaks not only about the lack of civility in our public discourse, but specifically to our lack of honor for elders in American sports culture. And that’s jacked, because there’s so much that we can learn from our elders. And Leitch even said so himself, that he felt bad that seemed to be what most of his readers were getting out of the exchange. That’s mostly his fault, in my opinion, even though toward the end he tried to compensate. Too little, too late; the damage was done.

There’s a hilarious Old Testament story that illustrates the inherent danger of mocking your elders. Let that be an object lesson… bloggers, snark at thy own risk.

Bissinger, 1
Deadspin, 0

Lesson two:
If you’re going to talk about something, know what you’re talking about.

This is where Deadspin evens the score, because it was immediately clear that Bissinger had not spent any significant amount of time reading any sports blogs, trying to get a feel for the nuance of the genre.

My evidence of this was that neither he nor Costas himself had a clear understanding of the differences between posts and comments. This confusion is partially due to the lack of standardization in terminology across the web, but mostly due to people who haven’t taken the time to figure out what the words mean before they use them.

So allow me to just set the record straight, in case anyone reading this is still confused.

Mixin’ It Up is the name of my blog (short for weblog). The whole thing is the blog. Most websites have blog components to them — as a matter of fact, with the proliferation of Blogger and WordPress and Typepad, I would venture to say that most websites are blogs.

A blog is not the same as a post. A post is a post. This long body of text and links — with maybe a picture for good measure — is a post. (I blame Myspace for this confusion, because they refer to posts as blogs. As in, ‘click here to write a new blog.’) One can choose to “blog” as a verb, but the output of such blogging is blog posts.

Comments are what come after the posts. They are the feedback. The blogger writes the posts (or posts posts, or even blogs posts, or blogs blog-posts) and then random netizens get the option and/or freedom to comment on whatever was said. These are comments.

Got it?

Blogs, posts, comments.

All separate concepts.

Being a fifty year old man and not being “hip” to all of the latest trends does not absolve Buzz Bissinger of his ignorance. You would think common sense would’ve required that he figure this out before he run his mouth on national television.

But you, like Buzz, would be wrong.

Bissinger, 1
Deadspin, 1

Lesson three:

The rise of Deadspin proves that A) impartiality is overrated, and B) access doesn’t ensure good writing.

I loved the clip of Leitch they showed to open the Costas Now segment, because he challenged the assertion that being a good sports journalist requires you to abandon any sense of fandom… isn’t that how you got into sports in the first place?

The few times I’ve read Deadspin, I have been genuinely entertained, by both the posts and the comments. Even if the crass nature of the language gets to me from time to time, there is insight to be mined in the assailing of the establishment that is Deadspin’s essential raison d’être.

And being so anti-establishment would lend itself, certainly, to a healthy amount of distance from the subjects in the crosshairs. This is Leitch’s comeback to the typical sportswriter’s knee-jerk disdain for bloggers — what do you guys know, you don’t get the inside access that we do.

Leitch has said repeatedly that, in his view, the elite sportswriters that get to hang out with famous people all the time tend to write from a perspective that is alien to the average sports fan. Thus, the success of Deadspin frames in stark contrast the insular nature of the unofficial sportswriter’s fraternity.

Leitch and his cronies (well, now former cronies) don’t care that they’re not in the club. They’ve started their own club, and instead of needing a journalism degree and a press pass, you just need a computer, a camera phone, and a willingness to shine a spotlight on bad behavior at any time, for any reason, using any language, so long as it’s entertaining and promotes traffic to the site.

Which is pretty much what the big boys do, anyway. That’s why Leitch is being picked up to write for a “real” magazine.

Bissinger 1,
Deadspin 2

Lesson four:

The difference between a good body of work and a great body of work is accountability.

This, to me, is the fundamental error that many bloggers miss, and it’s part of the point that I think Bissinger was trying — and failing badly — to articulate.

While it’s true that inside access doesn’t automatically make for good writing, the best writers translate the inner sanctum of their sports beat, in an accessible format, to the average guy reading at home. They write with the fan in mind, but with the insight and nuance that you can’t get just by reading box scores and watching highlights. And most importantly, they have the privilege — or, in some cases, the burden — of talking to their subjects face to face about the things that they write.

(Well, except for Jay Mariotti and Ozzie Guillen, but that’s another story altgother.)

This is where Deadspin gets it wrong. Because Will Leitch wants the big boys of media to respect the form of sports blogging, but by avoiding insider access, Leitch avoids the accountability he needs to really sharpen his craft.

Which is ironic, because only a blogger as good and as dedicated as Leitch would warrant enough attention from the big boys in the first place. The imitators (they know who they are) don’t normally incite responses from the likes of Bob Costas, because, well… who the hell are they?

You have to write well to really irritate the likes of Bissinger and Costas. And whether or not he knows it, part of the reason why they’re reaching out (I’m using that term loosely) to Leitch is because they sense that sites like Deadspin are the future of sports journalism, and they’re trying to get Leitch and others to step their game up — by preserving a modicum of respect in the public arena. This is why Buzz kept hammering away at his idea that the comments influence the posts:

We are simply never going to come to common ground on the issue of comments versus posts. I sincerely believe that the comments do guide the posts, and the whole tone of Deadspin sets up [comments] that are with virtually no exception a collection of one-liners that are malicious, stupid, profane, sexually pathetic, and I will agree with you here, about a hundred times nastier than the posts themselves. But still, you and the other commentators set the tone, in effect giving people a license to kill under the cowardly cloak of anonymity. I have said several times that I behaved like the worst kind of blogger on Costas, but with one major difference—I did not hide behind some silly-sounding pseudonym. People knew exactly who I was. And the apology I made to you was sincere—you should never have been treated that way.

I edited his word “posts” to “comments” because it’s clear from the context which he meant. And I agree with him, mostly. The extent to which I disagree is the extent to which I find many of both the posts and the comments to be hilarious. In unquestionably bad taste sometimes, but funny nonetheless. Maybe that’s indicative of my own conformity to the culture, I don’t know.

But I understand where Bissinger is coming from. Which is why, in the title of this epic post, I referenced Jim Rome.

Rome has the same problem that Leitch has with Deadspin. He wants to provide a forum for his fans — many of whom behave like boorish frat boys — to express themselves, but he distances himself from his fans, so as to avoid being accountable for the times when those fans cross the line.

If you listen to the show, you know what I’m talking about… Rome will read an email or text message, or take a call, and then spend all this time detailing just how unfunny or immature or dumb that person’s idea was. But clearly he must have found something good about it — otherwise, it wouldn’t have made it on the air.

Rome wants to have it both ways; he wants to be able to enjoy the sophomoric humor inherent in the many cheap shots that his fans take, but he wants to be able to stand above the fray and adopt a posture of vague disapproval, like a third grade teacher trying to rein in a trio of class clowns.

All of this is, in my opinion, a way of avoiding accountability. Anonymity is the great allure of today’s media age. When people comment on blogs, or when call in to radio shows, they mostly use pseudonyms. You’re Jason in Modesto, or LickMyBalls345. Nobody knows if you’re the guy who is posting on Deadspin on company time while working as a manager for Corporation X, or the guy talking on his cell phone while driving like a maniac on the freeway.

I like to write satire, and my last three fake stories have gotten a little attention from folks. But I also sent links to representatives of my targets, because I want them to feel free to talk to me about it directly. I’m not hiding behind the shield of anonymity. Anything I say on this blog I would say in person.

And I’m hoping that will help me to become a better writer.

More importantly, it’s part of what God requires of me. I can’t talk to people at my church about honesty and dealing with division in the body of Christ (as I just did last Sunday) if I’m sowing division with my blog and hiding behind a low profile.

So for understanding this truth — even though he looked like an idiot trying to communicate it — I give Buzz Bissinger the nod. With two points for the money ball, the final score becomes:

Bissinger 3,
Deadspin 2

Speaking as someone who always acted like an old person even when I was in my early twenties, it’s nice to chalk one up for the old school.

But the next time some Myspacer asks me when I’m going to write a new “blog” for my site… I’m gonna punch somebody.

I’m Jelani Greenidge, and thanks for mixin’ it up with me.


Blazers’ Edge Dave: Draft Analyst and … Youth Pastor?

So now Dave is my favorite columnist.

Okay, fine. He’s not a columnist, he’s a blogger. But he should be a columnist, because he is very insightful.

And now I can see part of the reason why I’ve been drawn to his writing. Because he thinks like I do… as a budding young minister of the gospel.

Consider a recent post, where, amidst the trade talk surrounding talented young Blazers players Jarrett Jack, Martell Webster, and Channing Frye, he gives a great analogy about the role of a young minister having to trust God and make decisions regarding his future:

I am not slighting the players’ loyalty here, nor their love for, passion for, or commitment to their team. But the reality is their perspective is different–and has to be different–than ours. To us the Blazers equal basketball. Our loyalty, love, and tunnel vision will last as long as we and the team occupy the same planet. The time scale is different for the players. Their experience of basketball at this level lasts ten, maybe fifteen years at most. They don’t have the luxury of thinking in terms of a lifetime commitment. They were not in the same relationship with the Blazers before they came here. They will not be after they leave either. For them, basketball goes beyond just Portland. They can play for the Blazers, love the Blazers, and give their all for the Blazers, but the Blazers are still part of their professional career arc. It’s their job to be prepared to play for, love, and give their all to another team if that ends up being their path. In the context of their brief careers they have to do what’s best for their success when they have the chance–even if that’s playing for another team–just as the organization will do what’s best for it’s success…including trading them if advantageous.

I am not an NBA player by any means, but I think I understand a little bit of this from my own non-blogging profession. As a pastor I end up being a prominent, visible, integral part of a community-based organization which has a long history, with which people identify strongly, and about which people are very passionate. At the same time I come from outside that organization. I have not grown up in the area. I have not spent multiple decades in the organization itself. My church experience is not localized in the same way theirs is. In many ways I am more deeply immersed than even the most seasoned community member, just as a player is more involved in the team than even the longest-term fan. In other ways I belong the least of anybody, as I will never have the same roots or all-encompassing relationship with the organization that the community does.

What this ends up looking like is me throwing my entire heart and soul into the community for as long as I am there. In this way I am very much like the community members. On the other hand when it’s time for me to go then I can rightfully, and with a clear conscience, move along to do the same in another community. This doesn’t mean I love the first less or that I am disloyal. Rather it means I am being called elsewhere in order to do other good things. The measure of my success and integrity isn’t really staying in one place my whole life, it’s how much and how fully I give in each place to which I am called.

And then he goes on to describe his impending free agency (if you can call it that). Very insightful.

For his sake, I hope God gives him the wisdom and revelation to go where he is called, and that wherever that is he’ll have enough flexibility to continue blogging like this. What a witness to believer and non-believers alike. Propers to Blazer Dave.


A brief explanation of my return to blogging

Okay, so my pattern in life has been to get excited about things, do them for awhile, have my enthusiasm stall, get excited about something else, and then start doing that.

This is partially to explain for why I went almost a year without posting anything to this blog, because I started getting into other stuff. (Among them, other people’s blogs.)

But it’s not a particularly accurate explanation. The truth is that even before I ever started this blog, when I became enthralled at just the concept of blogging and I saw that Google had made their own free blogging software, I asked myself a critically important question:

Why, when there are thousands, yea millions of blogs out there in blogosphere (okay, I probably didn’t say blogosphere as that word hadn’t been popularized yet) would people want to read MY blog? What is going to cause this blog to stand out from all the others?

I decided the answer to that question would be: SUBSTANCE. Other blogs would be light and fluffy and consist mostly of links and funny quips, but MY blog would be deep, philosophical, fraught with the moral, ethical and theological quandaries of the day.

Naturally since I wasn’t getting paid for this I couldn’t do it every day or even every week. But I figured I could do it about twice a month. I came up with the concept of “Mixing It Up” as a way to congeal all my opinions and interests into one skein of continuity. And I think initially, it was a hit to all the people I forwarded links and emailed stories to.

But as I alluded to in my perfectionism post, I just couldn’t keep that up anymore. So since I couldn’t come up with an effective answer to the question in my mind of why people would want to read my blog, I stopped. It just stopped being important to me.

But now I have another answer, and I think it’s a more honest answer.

Why do I think people would want to read my blog?

Because dammit, it’s mine.

There are people who know me and like me, and for most of the people in that category, that’s reason enough to stop by. I know it sounds soft and most certainly not gangsta to say, but I’m secure enough to say that. Not like my name is Corban and I’m God’s gift to the blogosphere. But I do have a few things to say and I think folks who read my stuff will get to know me somewhat, and like what they see or here.

So there you have it.