Perez Hilton

To the extent that I care, I have to ride with Perez Hilton on the recent punching incident involving him and the Black Eye Peas. Of course you know, any brother who dresses like Peter Pan is going to be sensitive to any questions about his manhood. So Perez was wrong for calling Will. I Am. a "fag." On that level, it makes sense that one of Will. I. Am.’s sycophants might pick up his offense. It was all initially about something Perez wrote on his blog. Even still, it’s really a ‘sticks and stones” thing, in the end. Will’s people really had no right to slug Hilton, not matter how much he may have had it coming, on principle. What the Peas' manager is alleged to have done was deplorable and low-class. If you don’t want people writing about you or criticizing your work, go work at Wendy’s. Otherwise, know that the only reason you put your work in the public sphere is to have it criticized. Perez Hilton is a habitual line-stepper, but that’s just his job. Will and his cronies should have been on their job and been somewhere selling out their artistic integrity. Again.

This was a blog beef that spilled over into the real world. I know something about blog beef.

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This will come as a surprise to many of you, but not everyone agrees with everything—or anything—I write and often they protest by way of the Internets. Sometimes, they do the smart thing and attack my ideas, which can make for good reading. More often, they attack me ad hominem, which is how you know I am almost always right. When people can’t deconstruct your ideas or the validity of your thesis, they often try to deconstruct you. Believe me, I get the business. I’ve been attacked online by people from all walks of life: blacks, whites, trannies, feminists, work-wives, conservatives, liberals, The King of All Blacks, "public intellectuals" and the like. I don’t care. All is fair in love and blogging. This is a contact sport: Chess, not checkers. But no one has ever tried to get at me in a physical way, and some of these nuts I’ve met in real life. They may just make a circus, but they don’t try to fight me. Because we are all bigger than that.

Blogging is set-up for rhetorical beefing. Beef is the whole reason you blog: you are pushing your worldview into a zeitgeist where it will rise, fall, be soaked into the ether or actually push the conversation in a different direction based on the merit of your argument. There are rules to this ish to assure you won’t get your chin checked in the street. So, as a public service, I present to you:

The Ten Laws of Blog Beef:

1. Even when it’s personal, it’s not personal — People say all kinds of wacky things about you on the internet.  Nine out of ten times, these are people that don’t know you, have never met you and couldn’t identify you in a line-up. People get at me personally, professionally and in all kinds of ways in between. I keep my blood pressure down by giving all of it short shrift.

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2. Weigh the argument – Sometimes when people go hard at you, they have a point. They are making a valid criticism about your work, your worldview or whatever. I find the best, most constructive thing to do is engage people and challenge their challenge. This makes for an entertaining read.

3. Respond in kind – Why get all Mike Tyson with it? Either respond in a post or ignore them completely.

4. Words are just words – There are fighting words, but very few.

5. On the internet, everyone’s a gangster – Half of these people talking tough on the Internets are certified punks. None of them would see you in the street, so don’t take it there.

6. Let people prove their point – Very often, people will mount an argument within their constituency buoyed by potshots and insults that has no validity whatsoever. Let them do it – who cares?

7. It's a small world after all — I f you are selling wolf tickets, you better know it will just be a matter of time before someone puts you in a place where you have to make good on a threat.

8. Kids are generally off limits – Why are you snapping on somebody’s kids anyway?

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9. You are not on the playground anymore – If you see someone in the street and engage them in fisticuffs, you are going to jail. So, what’s the point?

10. Keep your weight up — Just in case someone wants to get cute.

While it may be hard to sympathize with him, Perez Hilton is a professional writer doing his job. Do you think he had a lump coming? Why or why not? What kind of blog beefs have you seen?

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Single Father, Author, Screenwriter, Award-Winning Journalist, NPR Moderator, Lecturer and College Professor. Habitual Line-Stepper