They Weren't, But We Are... A Reader's Reaction

UPDATE: Thanks to everyone who contributed to this thread today and to the mods for tolerating it (with generally good humor). I hadn't really expected this to get bumped and was even thinking about just taking it down. As I say somewhere in the comments, I stand by the points, but don't want to foment disagreement.

I've closed the poll, as I think the messages are pretty clear: BSDers, try to cut the mods some slack. They've got an impossible and time-consuming job that they do very, very well. We are in their debt. Mods, please just think about the reaction here and on the Guest Column thread when reviewing material for the front page and consider how what is posted there can be perceived by the audience. This is a great website with a great fan community, even if we all probably need to 'pull a speedomike' from time to time.

I am leaving the post live for posterity's sake, I guess, but mostly for the argyle jorts picture.

re: today's post, "Guest Column: They Weren't, But We Are..."

An open letter to the editorial staff of Black Shoes Diaries:

Please stop doing this.

I respect the hell out of you guys for the tremendous job you do, the countless hours of thankless grunt work you put in, and the obvious passion you have for Dear Old State, the Penn State community and the collection of sundry Penn Staters and others who have come to deeply value this little corner of the internets. So I am not demanding, ok? I am asking - politely, respectfully. Please stop.

Please stop using the front page of this site to parade out Penn State alumni to sermonize in a quasi-philosophical way about how awful this is. We know. We get it. This is the second column this week from someone whose underlying message is, "this is confusing and sad, but we have to keep on keeping on," accompanied by the requisite, reputation-insulating dismissal of Joe Paterno demanded of those with the guts to publish under their real, Google-searchable names. The first one was, for me at least, one too many. The preachiness has become mentally exhausting. The repetition of it has been even worse.

Equally tiresome is the implied suggestion that, alone and on its face, the gravitas of being a professional writer should be sufficient to command respect from the undiscerning audience of "just a blog," even if the actual content is a virtually substance-free, pedantic rehash that ultimately amounts to a long (too long) string of cliches and platitudes strung together like something written for Brent Musberger to read over the soundtrack of the latest Transformers movie to intro the ABC Saturday night game.

It is your world, guys (and gals), and I am a happy camper just living in it. If my frustration is spilling over into this writing, please understand that it is not meant to insult, offend or disrespect in any way. I employ the strident tone only to communicate the depth of my simmering dissatisfaction and suspect I may not be alone. I know you guys work hard to both please and challenge the community here (much appreciated), and I think the alchemical formula is just a bit off right now.

I would rather read a probably less polished, but almost certainly more original post from Reading Rambler, 87Townie or joefromboalsburg. Heck, I'd rather even watch M1EK and aurabass locked in an endless, 300-comment struggle like the two half-black/half-white guys from Star Trek. Those things, if nothing else, would read like something I haven't heard said a hundred times before (albeit rarely as pretentiously) and could find a dozen other places. So here's my suggestion:

The next time someone approaches you with the idea for a ponderous guest column about how this is confusing and hurtful and Penn Staters now need to set an example of all the good that exists here despite four awful men, please consider responding, "Great. The 'New Fanpost' button is on the upper right-hand corner, and I'm sure the community will reward good writing with a strong response."

I had originally written this up as a comment on the post's thread, but I thought it better to move it here, where I could attach a poll, and let the community speak for itself. This is just my opinion, and if the majority wants to disagree, then I think it's worth seeing that.

In publishing this, I may be earning your respect for my willingness to offer constructive criticism, or I may be earning your ire for acting like a p**ck (far more likely I suppose). I hope for the former and expect the latter, and yet I am hitting publish anyway. I hope you take in the spirit in which it is intended and that I don't regret it.

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