First of all, have you seen the new Spider-Man movie? It is fantastic. Best one yet. Tom Holland take all of the magical awkwardness of Tobey’s Peter Parker and all of the smooth quippiness of Andrew’s Spidey, and combines them into the best fully developed characterization we’ve had yet on the big screen for my favorite superhero. Seriously. Go see it.
But there is, because this is the internet after all, a kerfuffle. Tony Stark says a line at the end of the movie (oh, sorry, SPOILER ALERT, Tony Stark does not die in this movie) that has gotten some people up in arms. And by people I mean bloggers. And by up in arms I mean doing what bloggers do best, writing angry things at the internet. Zing!
Sorry. Now the bloggers will be mad at me too. But here’s the thing. I am a blogger. I am in blogging groups. I know many bloggers personally. I am in the community. I know what we are. I know the good things, the bad things, and the in-between things. I have been doing this now for seven years. And what bloggers are NOT, are reporters or journalists.
You see, the line that has everyone upset is “Behind this door is a room full of reporters. Real ones, not bloggers.” It is a joke, uttered by Tony Stark: known a-hole, and it has caused many bloggers to feel as though their souls had been eaten by dementors. And I know why, I think, but we’ll get to that in a moment. First, let us consider a few things.
- The line was uttered, as I mentioned above, by Tony Stark. A character who is dismissive, condescending, and a huge jerk to pretty much everyone. If you feel the line is dismissive or condescending, then hooray! The writers did their job! Good character writing, people!
- Bloggers are not reporters. Or journalists. SOME are. But not all. So maybe he instead says, “Behind this door is a room full of squares. Real ones, not rectangles.” And you might say, HEY! Squares ARE rectangles! Why do you hate RECTANGLES?! But you must realize that, while some rectangles are squares, the majority are not, even if they are pretending to be on shapelove.com.
- We all know how much Disney loves bloggers. They take them to premieres, celebrities interviews, cruises, trips, etc. How anyone can not read this as some gentle ribbing I have no idea. Disney clearly loves you.
So now I will say two things. The first is that, again, bloggers are not reporters or journalists. I am a blogger. But I am not a reporter or journalist. There is no oversight for me. I have no editor. I may have some journalistic standards, I may even have six degrees in journalism, but the fact of the matter is you have to take my word for it. And people lie online. All. The. Time. The thing about being an ACTUAL reporter, is that there is (or should be) a guarantee of higher quality and stricter truth. I know there are bad reporters who lie, and there are good bloggers who report important truth. BUT IN GENERAL, a “real” reporter comes with a bit of comfort and security that bloggers do not always provide.
So maybe instead he says, “Behind this door is a room full of meat. Real USDA approved meats, not off the side of the road.” Some meat off the side of the road is fine, and some meat at the store will make you sick. BUT IN GENERAL, isn’t it nice to have some meat that you KNOW has been checked? And again, don’t come at me with your exceptions that prove the rule. I am talking in general here. IN GENERAL, you want a room full of reporters for your press conference, and not bloggers. Because with bloggers, you are taking a bigger chance. The joke holds. It’s funny because it’s true.
And here is the second thing I want to say. I have found in life that the nasty things people say to or about me only really hurt when I know or suspect that they are true. When people growing up called me fat, or stupid, or gay (which really should not be an insult, but it was very big in the insult bracket of high school sports in the 90s), I would laugh it off. I didn’t like that they were being jerks, but the barbs themselves were meaningless. Oh, but when someone would say that I had no friends, that no one liked me, that I was a freak and a misfit and didn’t belong, well it confirmed my suspicions. I knew it! I always knew I was unpopular! And those stung the most. Nothing hurts like a jab that has teeth.
If you are so quick to be defensive about a joke line in a movie spoken by a mean character, maybe take some time to think about why. Is your site held to the same standards as The New York Times? Or is it largely made up of sponsored advertisements and copy-and-pasted press releases? Have you done any real journalism? Or have you regurgitated what the corporations have fed you? Because honestly, the reason people think that bloggers put out self-serving crap all the time, is because a lot of bloggers put out self-serving crap all the time.
Not all bloggers. #notallbloggers
But the fact remains that blogs are platforms available to anyone. The high quality, and the low quality. The truth tellers, and the liars. The reporters and the hacks. The corporate shills, and the independent voices railing against the system. It is awesome, and scary, and democratic, and individualistic, and, as far as I have seen, a wonderful and fulfilling thing for people to do.
But we ain’t reporters, most of us. And we ain’t journalists. And we shouldn’t be.
Of course you should take all of this with a grain of salt. No one fact-checked it. After all, I’m a blogger, and I’m loving it.