Tuesday December 11, 2007
So, I’m a little bummed that many readers of Stuck on the Palmetto are going to think I had a hand in Rick’s threatened retirement/hiatus from blogging. Here’s what happened: Rick did a post with some stupid, pretty offensive shit in it (nothing new there). Bob Norman posted a response, the gist of which was, not only is this politically incorrect, it commits the even worse offense of not being funny. In the ensuing discussion, Bob said the following:
Otherwise, he’s a decent blogger — works his ass off on SotP, that’s for sure. By the way, Rick, who pays your salary to blog all day?
Having always wondered about this, I seconded the question. And here’s where it gets interesting: through some presumably long-ago private conversation, Bob actually knows who pays Rick’s salary. This caused Rick to interpret Bob’s question as a Threat to Out him. He promptly put up this post, and hasn’t been heard from since. It reads, in part:
The Daily Pulp’s Bob Norman, who knows exactly what I do for a living, has made, what I perceive to be a threat to that anonymity and today, Critical Miami’s Alesh Houdek piled on.
Now, I don’t doubt Rick’s sincerity — he seems genuinely spooked. But isn’t this a little of adding 1 + 1 and getting 4? Why in the name of the lord would Bob want to out Rick’s identity? And if he did, why would he threaten to do it, first? And even if he did want to make the threat, is simply asking the question, even winkingly, a threat? Frankly, I just don’t see it.
Many of the commenters at SotP seem to see it (or maybe they’re just empathizing with Rick’s alarm). Nobody has been able to really explain it but whatever. Listen up! Bob hasn’t outed anyone, not even close. All he’s done is made a remark that, were it not for the subsequent drama, would be transparently seen as off-handed. Also: I did not, do not, and have never known what Rick does, so the statement that I “piled on” just baffles me. Rick recently had a feature where he invited his readers to ask him personal questions, and now he’s freaked out by a personal question? And I’m being fingered as a secondary cause of his temporary (and make no mistake, it is temporary) quitting from blogging? Go figure.
Someone relatively new to all this asked me today about the beginning of the “arch-rivalry” between me and Rick. The truth is I don’t know. I think we both just enjoy arguing, and can find the few requisite things we disagree about. But honestly I’ve never felt anything like malice or hatred towards him; frustration is about as far as it ever goes, and my real reason for sparring with him is that it’s usually fun. The first blogger get-together was after one of the first of these apparently “vicious” exchanges, and we got along great then, so I’ve generally assumed that he feels the same. I’m bummed that he seems genuinely upset now, and I hope he realizes he just mis-read the situation, and hops back in the saddle soon.
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