People have inquired on various occasions about things I've included herein, and at times I've been asked about things other people have written elsewhere. The Internet is an excellent tool to convey fact as well as opinion, and very often the line between those two is blurry, if not absent altogether. I've joked that I could erect a very clean-looking, slickly-designed website with a fancy URL and write articles which have the grammatical correctness of the New York Times but the factual validity of a Britney Spears movie. So even if said fictional site claimed the pope wears ladies underwear and Bigfoot was at Bowlmor Lanes last night, neither has any real validity even if it was read on the Internet.
So when I read the entertaining it-only-happens-in-Hollywood saga of Heather Locklear, Richie Sambora and Denise Richards (and Charlie Sheen), I found most of it entertaining but it was also a bit nauseating. How much of it is true from Heather Locklear's perspective (perhaps we can verify that with David Spade), Richie Sambora's and Denise Richards is anyone's guess.
Where this is all going is thus: I got link-dumped to a blog called Action!!! which ostensibly described a meeting between the author of said blog and the author of another blog entitled Charleston Jenerator. I'm not sure what actually occurred, but apparently Craig, the author of Action!!!, was visited by Jen, the author of Charleston Jenerator. His version is that she began flirting with him and he returned the favor; soon after, she became possessive and clingy and he tried extricating himself from the situation, but she persisted and eventually he reluctantly agreed to meet her, so she showed up, but he was disappointed that she looked worse than the pictures she'd sent him, so they spent a tepid weekend together, including some awful sex (all of which she initiated). She asked him to subsequently visit her, and he was ambiguous about it, and by the time the weekend was over he was relieved she was gone. Her version goes a bit differently; apparently, she thought he was sort of nice, but ungentlemanly. She agreed to sex but suggested, apparently, that he had a small weenie and should have performed oral on her to make sure she had real orgasms, not the fake ones she apparently experienced. She admits there was teeth involved in the BJ she administered, but that was, apparently, a result of him gyrating from enjoyment. She also suggested that he should have been more of a gentleman in public (ie holding the door open, wishing her a happy birthday, etc.).
Now I am not quite sure who is more accurate in their depiction of the weekend, but wading through two people's personal take on a weekend gone bad, it's fairly clear that it should have never happened. It sounds to me like she was more interested in meeting him than him meeting her -- at least based on the e-mails and IM's he quotes at his site -- but above and beyond that, it's pretty obvious that none of these details should be made public.
When we as individuals read about celebrities -- actors, musicians, performers, politicians, etc. -- and their trials and tribulations in their public (and private) lives, it's enthralling and entertaining (eg the Denise Richards/Heather Locklear/Richie Sambora clusterfuck). However, when regular people start taking shots at one another -- in mind-numbing detail, replete with quoted exchanges, pictures, names, etc. -- it goes from enthralling and into uncomfortable, unfortunate territory.
Blogs are an offshoot of people's opinions and their chronicles -- aka weBLOGs -- of their lives, and since blogs represent people, it's not a shock that blogs do include petty name-calling, fingerpointing and sordid, over-the-top details. The same applies to things like stupidity, hate, racism, intolerance and other negative traits of the human condition. Blogs reflect our personal experiences, our ideas, our reactions and our biases, pleasures and unhappiness. Personally, at least at the inception of the HoB, I decided to do so so that friends and family had a place to check in with my father's health, which as of November 2004 was finally, after three grueling months, on the mend. The source of the situation that caused all this pain was still focused on me and my life, and due to some mental and/or chemical issues, continued to attempt to remain connected to us, so between reporting and advising on my father's and my family's status, the HoB proved to be very catharctic. At this point, with that irritant deleted and far removed from us, I'm glad to proclaim that since then, despite encountering the problems and issues that we all face from day to day, I haven't experienced anything as negative, repulsive or plainly disgusting as that which inspired me to open these doors. However, I believe that if I did, I wouldn't allow myself to degenerate into the kind of fingerpointing, name-calling, or personal attacks that have consumed the above-cited blogs. I've never included anything herein -- aside from perhaps some language choices -- that I wouldn't be comfortable revealing to friends in person. Assuming this standard applies to most bloggers, it reveals a lot not about us as bloggers but us as people and us as members of a society. Seeing this sort of thing in print -- whether on paper or in pixel form -- is like a wreck during an auto race. As gruesome and difficult to view as it may be, we find our eyes drawn to and locked onto the site with a perverse, almost karmic need. But inasmuch as a confession or admission of events may be therapeutic, there has to be some measure or standard by which we respect the medium if not the object of our derision. That's the standard by which I've attempted to maintain in these pages, and it's not surprising -- even if it is unfortunate -- that this mentality, to govern this space with some measure of decorum, seems rare.
In either case, reading the above-cited blogs made me wonder whether this is an anomaly or typical, and whether this type of discussion -- given the anonymous, keyboard-commando mentality the Internet offers -- will increase or, as accountability grows, whether this type of thing will abate.
We shall see.