Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » October 2004 » Another interesting assessment....

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10/04/2004: Another interesting assessment....

this time of Memphis blogger in suspension Mike Hollihan by his bete noir and claimed "inspiration", Jackson Baker, in The Memphis Flyer's annual "Best of Memphis" section: Best Temporarily Out-of-Commission Weblog.

The difference between Ward and Hollihan, by the way, is that Jeff is actually in the arena and knows how things work. Politics, with all its deals and leaks and trade-offs and quirks and feuds and cozy relationships, is a machinery that requires some hands-on experience in order to understand. You can't grasp it from your living-room chair, not even with the best how-to manual in your lap.

Or to put that another way, employing a metaphor that I had ready to go when Hollihan not long ago boasted on his site of a wholly imaginary "takedown" he claimed to have done of my coverage, in 2001, of the income-tax fight in Nashville. It reminded me, I was about to say, of those sad old men in rooms at the Y, pants down around their ankles, one hand clutching a copy of the latest
Playboy, the other assuring them they had just made love to Britney Spears.

In truth, though, I don't see Mike that way at all. He is (
was?) a damned fine media critic, by and large, and I didn't turn my polemical guns on him for several reasons -- not least of which was that he did some compelling work in analyzing several local situations and personalities and the coverage of them. The problem was that, as soon as Hollihan stopped trying to figure everything out in his head and made an effort to do some real reporting, he discovered that a variant of Werner Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle governs all true journalism. As the 20th-century German scientist found in looking at sub-atomic matter -- or any variable, for that matter -- the very act of observing something changes it. Among the implications of that, for political journalists, is that no preconception -- count 'em, none -- holds up when you're looking squarely and fairly at your subject.

Hollihan, for example, had City Council member Carol Chumney pegged as a grandstander and ego-tripper -- a case easy enough to make, even for those who watch her closely -- but he made the mistake of actually getting in touch with her and discovered that he'd been charmed. Thereafter, his certainties seemed to fade. Join the club, Mike. Something of the sort happens all the time.
Hey Mike, c'mon back. Can't you see that your loyal fan base misses ya?

Besides, I'm tired of reading the Memphis papers because you aren't doing it for me. :-)

Len on 10.04.04 @ 10:56 AM CST


Replies: 12 comments

on Monday, October 4th, 2004 at 1:33 PM CST, mike hollihan said

It's funny. I didn't even know about Baker's column until I read about it on Darrell Phillips' blog! I haven't picked up or glanced at a Flyer in three weeks, at least. Same for the CA, except for Sundays, where reading the paper is part of my lunch ritual.

What Baker says isn't anything he hasn't said before, so I take no more umbrage than expected.

And isn't it a shame that the "Best Memphis blog" is one that is dormant? Don't they read Rachel? She would've been my pick.

on Monday, October 4th, 2004 at 1:46 PM CST, Len Cleavelin said

Hmmmmmmmmm..... While I read Rachel regularly, I'm not sure I'd have tagged her as "best Memphis blog" if I had a vote in the matter. If you count Brock Sides's contributions as making it a Memphis blog (or what the hell, Chris is still from Memphis, which ought to count for something) I'd go for Signifying Nothing, or if that doesn't qualify, probably Peggy Phillip. Honorable mentions to Lean Left, the Red Blog, and Thursday Night Fever.

I'm inclined to leave dormant and near-dormant blogs out of it, which is as well; if I had to juggle Half-Bakered and Jon Sparks's blogs it'd get to be such a tough decision I'd probably just throw my hands up and abstain.

on Monday, October 4th, 2004 at 3:31 PM CST, mike hollihan said

I appreciate Baker's gesture, but to me Rachel is the best "Memphis" blog in the sense of giving a view of the city as a whole. If someone called her the Queen of Memphis bloggers, I'd probably genuflect. ;-)

I got a copy of the Flyer to verify the article. I have yet to read the whole Best of Memphis stuff, but I noticed the ballot had almost nothing about the Web in Memphis, which is a shame. Memphis music blogs alone deserve a category of their own, no question.

on Monday, October 4th, 2004 at 3:32 PM CST, mike hollihan said

Oops! I meant to say "Memphis music websites deserve...."

on Monday, October 4th, 2004 at 5:38 PM CST, Len Cleavelin said

Well, y'know, we could just arrange another blogger's bash, and if Rachel deigned to honor us with an appearance you could Genuflect In The Presence Herself. :-)

On a more serious note, I see what you mean about thinking her the best; as for me, while I enjoy reading her blog she moves in an entirely different world from me; the folks I mentioned earlier are bloggers I have more "connection" with for more personal reasons. Keep in mind too that I'm really not a "Memphian" yet (if ever); I'm still a St. Louisan in (reasonably comfortable) exile from Paradise On The Mississippi; if I felt more "at home" in Memphis I might acknowledge Rachel's "queendom" more emotionally as well as intellectually.

And I agree 150% or more about Memphis music sites deserving their own category.

on Monday, October 4th, 2004 at 8:46 PM CST, roboto said

Hey, if you guys are debating the best blogs, let me know if me posting sexxier pics would get some votes. I bet it would.

on Monday, October 4th, 2004 at 8:52 PM CST, mike hollihan said

Hmmm, Roboto. Try posting some and let's see what happens. I promise to give any pics posted very serious study.

on Monday, October 4th, 2004 at 9:52 PM CST, Len Cleavelin said

Hmmmmmm...sexier pics... wait a minute! How about.... VIDEOS! And I'm not talking about skin, necessarily (though the more skin exposed, the faster TNF will shoot to the top of *my* charts), but showing a few of those TNF hotties doing their best moves on the dance floors of Memphis and Nashvegas.....

We may be on to something here....

on Monday, October 4th, 2004 at 10:09 PM CST, roboto said

That's funny. My tiny camera *does* have a video option of it. So far, we've only used it randomly. I will sneak that option in soon though, as I bet everybody would like the live action.

So far, seriously, our best video is Cap. T arguing with some girl in Raiford's VIP room that he, in fact, is a FedEx pilot and then her guy friend threatens to fight us after we argued for 15 minutes.

on Monday, October 4th, 2004 at 10:14 PM CST, roboto said

We actually have better pics than we post, but we have to be careful because 9.8 times out of 10, our hotties don't know they'll be featured online. So, when one of them finds us, we like them not to be shocked. Or angry.

on Monday, October 4th, 2004 at 10:25 PM CST, Len Cleavelin said

I can understand; the potential for being party defendant to some kind of lawsuit is a reason for caution.

Not to mention that your western shirt doesn't look like it has many (if any) pockets suitable for carrying around model releases, just in case...

on Tuesday, October 5th, 2004 at 9:00 AM CST, Roboto said

About the only time I have had any problems were when I specifically mention the website to girls, because if they think they'll be posted online, they are hesistant to have their pictures taken (which I understand). I have gotten out of the habit of even telling girls about the website now, because, as much as I like increasing the readership, I prefer to preserve my ability to make fun of them.

As a rule of thumb, I try to post only good pictures and, if a girl does something really naughty, I generally won't post a picture of her or picture her but keep her drunken indiscretions a secret.

What sucks is that I had to take down one of my favorite pictures after a girl requested it be taken down. Since I remain very interested in her, I took it down. It'll probably be back up in a few months though.

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