I thought about titling this post about all things CPAC Good Enough for CPAC, Probably Not Good Enough for the Bloggers Lounge, Definitely Not Good Enough for BlogBash. Since, in fact, this is how it worked out.
I applied for, and received, bloggers credentials for CPAC. Unfortunately, financial constraints prevented me from going. I wasn’t happy about it, but I grew to accept the situation with the hope that somewhere along the line there will be something of a make-up call. Given how CPAC has announced there will be three regional conferences this year, the hope is I will be able to attend one of these, again credentialed as a blogger and covering the convention as best I can. Since CPAC has as of yet not announced the locations and dates for these regional conferences, we shall see.
As I recall, my confirmation letter from CPAC about being credential as a blogger stressed that credentials did not guarantee I would be permitted access to the Bloggers Lounge. Based on what I’ve read from bloggers who did attend, I wouldn’t have been permitted within a mile of the place. This does lead to the question as to where I would have worked. Propped up against a wall in the hallway? Somewhere out in the lobby? Holed up in my hotel room, wheresoever that might have been? Questions that shall forever remain unanswered.
I got quite the unintended chuckle from Joy McCann’s comments about the lack of room for bloggers:
As I understand it, this was the first year that we had two tiers of blogging, and in a way that’s really unfortunate. Perhaps next year there should be a sort of “media overflow lounge” where we can meet with some of the boutique bloggers and the up-and-comers. (I’m very small-time, myself, but I’m connected enough that barely I made it in [and, no, not by showing skin or flirting].)
Ed Morrissey and I talked a bit at BlogBash about how odd it is that New Media at CPAC has grown as big as it has, and although I know that this makes some people wistful, all-in-all it’s likely a good thing: information is good, and avenues for its dissemination are to be desired in the conservative movement (and in a democratic republic at large).
But I’m not crazy about it forcing a tiered system on us, wherein there are two classes of bloggers. With 500 bloggers, however, and fire codes preventing us all cramming ourselves into that one room, I’m not sure what can be done . . . unless we get a different room that doesn’t feature access to the main ballroom. It could be that that is the next step.
Ed Morrissey, concerned about a tiered caste bloggers society? Actually, as I read Joy’s post it says nothing about Morrissey being concerned about the situation. But of course. What else can one expect from Mr. I’m Only Here To Pick Up My Award (And Don’t You Dare Ask Me To Answer My Email)?
While I know Joy means well — she expands on the idea here — I’m not crazy about the idea of a media overflow lounge where those of us on the bottom rung can be stuffed into with the hope that maybe, just maybe one of the bloggers from on high will wander by to possibly acknowledge our presence with a royal wave before being escorted back to the bloggers lounge we dare not besmirch with our loathsome lowly putrid persons. Blogging is supposed to be about citizen journalists, no one above anyone else and all with something worth considering.
This leads to the question as to whether professional bloggers, which I define as bloggers paid by a corporation to write, are bloggers at all. I don’t believe they are. Case in point would be Hot Air, which is now owned by Salem Communications. Its writers write on behalf of Salem. Their primary function is creating content that entices readers to the site, thus enabling Salem to sell advertising on it at a maximum profit. That’s not blogging. That’s paid column writing that should be judged – and treated – accordingly. Go hang out with the regular media, for that is precisely what you are — conservative (sometimes) Maureen Dowds.
As to BlogBash… still waiting for an invitation. Maybe it became lost in the email. I’m sure it will arrive right after my invitation to BlogCon in Charlotte this May. (File that under “Never.”) Speaking of which, I confess to a perverse hope that CPAC will announce a regional event in California to be held the same weekend as BlogCon.
Another topic that has come out of CPAC is the ongoing brouhaha over how some attendees to the conference dressed and carried themselves. Or, to be more precise, didn’t quite dress themselves and had to be carried out of the bar after one too many shots, preferably carried into the hotel room of which ever member of the opposite sex they had decided to do some pipelaying with that evening. Erick Erickson and Melissa Clouthier (in her case, twice) have been quite pointed in their criticisms, with other pundits such as Stacy McCain (twice), Dan Collins, DaTechGuy, Dan Riehl, Joy McCann, Lisa Graas, Katie Pavlich, and Jenny Erikson, to name but a few, jumping into the fray.
As I stated last year, a Tina Korbe fan I am not; in my opinion she is a mediocre writer. And I don’t believe it’s picking on her to suggest that she should have dressed more modestly for the interview with Rick Santorum, the video of which you can see here.
There is obviously only one solution – a National Review swimsuit issue! I’m sure there are other conservative magazines out there, but NR was the first one that came to mind. That way, you could have the theoretical best of both worlds: profound intellectual discussions on conservative matters by S.E. Cupp et al accompanied by a photo shoot of said attractive young female pundits modeling itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny yellow polka dot bikinis. Or any given female FOX News anchor. You get the idea.
Let us return to being serious. Trying to dictate how people behave at a conference is rather like trying to dictate that everybody on a road trip spend their entire time devoted to quiet Bible study and prayer. Not gonna happen. Ever.
My proposed solution is twofold. One, provide alternatives during the evening to cocktail parties, be they organized or not. Concerts, one featuring someone for the baby boomers and another an artist attuned to a younger crowd, would help. Organized large meet and greets, perhaps Q&A autograph sessions with various authors and such might help cut down on the T&A. Second, throughout the process encourage everyone in attendance to treat an event like CPAC as though it was a workplace, dressing accordingly. The best line I ever heard about how to approach this came from a female coworker, who is a stunningly beautiful woman yet never flaunted her looks. She relayed a story about how, at a previous workplace, one of her female coworkers was fond of dressing in a manner that revealed a tad too much of said female coworker. Rather than the usual thundering lecture on proper workplace attire, her supervisor pulled her aside and quietly informed her, “You’re a terrific employee… but your outfit is a bit distracting.” She got the hint and started dressing modestly. Refer back to the beginning of this lengthy ramble, and my mom’s advice on how it is far easier to catch flies with honey than vinegar. Be positive with the message.
Anyway, those are my thoughts on the conference I wish I could have attended. Ah well. Perhaps next year.
And can we get back to stuff that’s just a wee bit more important now?
P.S. A warning from those who over imbibe at CPAC… or anywhere else, for that matter: