Friday, March 21, 2008

Information: How Much Is Too Much

Generally speaking, the Situation Desk at the Pop Culture Institute is - like everything else at the Pop Culture Institute - dusty and covered in crap.

Despite my every effort to drum up controversy and thereby make myself famous (or at least Internet famous) my own good nature often gets the better of me. Oh, I've been known to be mouthy on occasion, and since my readers also tend to be mouthy there have been little scraps here and there along the way; since I am also famously touchy, though, I don't care to have my delicate sensibilities wounded any more than simply being awake in the 21st Century already wounds them, so I generally do what I must to avoid trouble. It's a fine line I walk, not unlike the famous Blondin, although I better resemble one of the hippos in Fantasia than a pillar of French muscles when I'm doing it.

So it is with a heavy heart that I clear away the crap and flick the feather duster at the Situation Desk to deal with the first genuine situation I've encountered since I called San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom a spoiled rotten pretty boy 13 months ago (a opinion, by the way, I still hold, despite the insistence of others to the contrary).

It seems in a recent post celebrating the birthday of Queen Latifah I included some biographical detail which may have inadvertantly provided the dreaded TMI (too much information) for a regular commenter, The Question Man. Now, knowing him as I do, my first reaction to this was that he likened the post to reading about a sibling's sex life - a perennial and, in my opinion, valid case of TMI; he left a comment to this effect.

I responded to that comment in my typical fashion - that is, with a pithy if pompous bit of boilerplate about how there was no such thing as too much information, seeing as we are, after all, living in The Information Age; I mean, did neolithic Europeans ever complain about Too Much Bronze? I doubt it. Anyway, I thought that was the end of the story. Well, I've been wrong before, but never wronger than now.

Mr. Gagne - occasional commenter and sometime contributor - proceeded to get his boxers in a wad and go off on a wacko jag. Now, I have no doubt in my mind this was a good natured jag, as he only wants for me what I want - which is a million readers and money by the bushel - but often his efforts to drum up controversy are met with a hollow echo and the chirping of crickets.

Having made a study of scandal my whole life the one thing I know for sure about the subject is that it can't be forced - it has to happen organically. I have every faith that I will, before my career is out, be called to testify before a Commons committee for having called the Prime Minister a neo-fascist thug. Hell, I'll even buy a new suit, and nothing would give me more pleasure than repeating those words into a microphone, where they will be transcribed into Hansard and lovingly stored at the Library of Parliament for all time.

In the meantime, though, I simply cannot allow even humourous animosity to exist between the few readers I have, sniping at each other in the comment roll. What do you think this is, Joe.My.God or something?

In summation, I can only say that I hope I've clarified the misunderstanding; either that or muddied it beyond the point of apathy. Mr. Gagne's witty and literate post about dealing with conversational homophobia (written in over-reaction to Question Man's original comment) is to follow - not because it's relevant in this instance, but merely because it's relevant generally, and thus needs to be said. That, and everything he writes takes a tiny bit of the burden off me to continually have to come up with this stuff.
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michael sean morris said...

Unfortunately, the promised article by Mr. Gagne was removed by him; too bad, too, because it was both funny and pertinent. Rest assured, its ideas are percolating in my head as we speak, and should the need arise, I may spring it (or at least something like it) on you yet.

Seumas Gagne said...

Apologies to all! After due consideration I deemed the post I wrote to be too far off the topic of pop culture. Unintended homophobia being neither popular nor cultural (in the artistic sense).