My post(s) about the Gay Blogger Summit and the Gay Blogger Clique seems to have made me a bit unpopular.
I’ve actually been accused of secretly talking about people behind their backs.
On my blog.
Which is read by an average of over 400 people per day.
If I want to keep something a secret, I try to avoid posting it here.
So I’m going to use this post to put the whole thing to bed. I was going to respond directly to Chad’s comments on Another Update for The Week via email, but since I’ve received a couple of emails from other parties, and since I’ve been oh-so-subtly called out by Nathan, I decided that a post on my own site is less likely to be misquoted or missed.
You can call it whatever you like, a group of friends, a collection of bloggers who know and like each other… paint the picture how you like, it’s a clique.
From Merriam-Webster: clique: a narrow exclusive circle or group of persons; especially : one held together by common interests, views, or purposes.
As I said in my original post, No Fatties Allowed, about stumbling into the midst of the clique, I tried over a period of weeks to engage members of this group. I commented on posts. I sent email to some. I added blogs to my blogroll.
I got no response.
How could I have stumbled into a group of anywhere from 7-12 bloggers all of whom know each other, all of whom share the same exact policy of non-response to comments or contact from outsiders and not thought that it was some exclusive group?
How many contact attempts should I make before coming to the conclusion that the bloggers in question have no desire to respond, interact, or otherwise communicate with me?
A single comment, email, or visit to my blog by any of the clique members might have given me a different outlook.
However, don’t get me wrong, when it really comes down to it, I don’t care. I found the experience to be interesting from a social view point… that people who were presumably discriminated against, or were excluded as youth (as I would posit most gay people were) would grow up to become people who would exclude others. It was interesting in that I could make a parallel between the blog world and the world of gay clubs and even the high school cafeteria.
I wasn’t intentionally calling anyone out. Not Dan, not Chad, not Chris, or anyone else that lives in that circular blogroll. If I had meant to name names, I would have made it quite clear who I was talking about. And until now, I’d say that none of my readers had any idea who I was referring to. The who wasn’t important.
I made no statements about their characters, or writing abilities. Actually, that’s not true. I said that I enjoyed the blogs, I enjoyed Chad’s artistry and sense of humor. I found Dan’s stories about experiences in and around the city entertaining. If I didn’t enjoy the personality or characters, I wouldn’t have bothered trying to engage the bloggers in conversation.
As far as my take on the one and only podcast I listened to, I realize the distinction between saying that the featured clique members “came across as vapid, screeching queens” and “the clique members are vapid, screeching queens” is subtle, there is a distinction nonetheless.
Having met Dan and Jimmi, I can assure everyone that neither of them are vapid or screechy.
I stand by my assessment of the clique as being exclusive, whether intentional or not. And that brings me to
“The Gay Blogger Summit.”
Lest anyone get the wrong idea, my friends and I had a great time at the party on Friday night. Read my recap. Look at the pictures. Do you see the smiles? Do you see dancing, and nudity, and alcoholic beverages galore? Do you see nipple licking, hugging, and groups of people making silly faces and otherwise engaging in frivolity?
Yes you do.
That’s because it was a good party.
I’m sure that it took a bit of finesse and effort to put the event together. I don’t doubt that.
Here’s where it gets a bit icky for me… it’s obvious to me that the expectation was that all (or nearly all) of the participants knew each other already. I don’t think anyone can argue that the core group were friends. There was little thought or attention paid to people who did not fit into that group.
Several weeks ago I asked Dan if it would be possible to get a list of all the participant’s blog addresses so that I could become familiar with the blogs and the writers before meeting them. I didn’t want to spend the whole evening saying, “Gosh, I’m sorry I haven’t read your blog, I’ll check it out when I get home.”
Dan responded that he had been thinking about that, that he thought it was a good idea, and he would put it together but that a good place to start would be his blogroll.
Dan has a large blogroll, and the names on the Evite don’t match up with it. And many of the bloggers who had RSVP’d the Evite aren’t on his blogroll, including UMB, my friend Dan, or myself. (That’s not a blogroll beg, just an observation.)
A week before the event Dan published the list and I spent as much time as I could reading everyone’s site and commenting.
When the day arrived, parking was indeed a bitch. Yes, I know it is San Francisco. I’m well aware of the parking situation in San Francisco. It was a particularly hard day to find a spot, as a ballgame was scheduled and the bar was within walking distance to the ballpark.
Being a typical sports-hating homo, I know nothing of major league baseball’s schedule. And really, I didn’t even give a single thought to the fact that there might be a game. A heads up would have been greatly appreciated.
It wasn’t anything that ruined the evening. It was a minor frustration that was alleviated immediately upon the purchase of my first Grey Goose martini. I even walked in and loudly asked the question, “Ok, who the hell scheduled a ball game at the same time as our party?” Funny, right?
And then there’s the lack of nametags. I realize it’s a really silly thing when you think about it, however, I have a tendency to try very hard to accommodate people who might feel a bit nervous in social situations. I realize that not everyone has the ability to strike up a conversation with a stranger. I’ve been to several gatherings of people who have met through online forums, and I know that there are many of us geek-types are shy or somewhat socially awkward. Approaching someone who has a nametag on with their blog listed is a little touch that could have made others feel included and identifiable.
Did it ruin the party? Nope. Not at all. At least not for me.
I don’t harbor any ill feelings toward anyone. I didn’t before the event. I truly enjoyed meeting everyone. It was a bit frustrating in that I didn’t know a single person there, despite making a sincere effort to befriend many of the people in attendance prior to the party.
So I hope that this horse can now be considered exhaustively beaten. I think I do a fine job of speaking my mind without others having to put words into my mouth or read between the lines to get at some hidden message that isn’t intended.
If you’re still not convinced, then ask yourself if you really give a shit what *I* think anyway. You all have a great group of friends that love and support you and I invite you all to tell me to go to hell.
I’m sure there’s ample parking.*