I noted Smitty’s rebuke on The Other McCain today to my none too gentle post here yesterday labeling CPAC in general and BlogBash in particular as lamentable money wasting, serving no purpose save that of egostroking. Smitty is a good man and a good blogger, but I fear in this case he is somewhat off target. To wit:
Noting Jerry Wilson’s disdain for BlogBash, “An event such as BlogBash could prove valuable if it led to greater networking, encouragement and support for all bloggers, not solely those in attendance,” I don’t think Jerry is fully briefed on the goals of The National Blogger’s Club, which really aren’t bad at all.
Actually, I am fully briefed on the NBC’s goals. To quote: “The National Bloggers Club will work to give educate, provide access, and further equip citizen-journalists without robbing them of their independence for those who advocate for economic and individual freedom.” The club’s original goal was to provide independent bloggers with accreditation that could be used to be accepted as legitimate media when covering news events. A very good idea.
The problem is the NBC has not only never delivered on this promise, it has abandoned its founding principle in favor of fundraising for whoever is crying victim and, well, throwing parties. Hey, parties are great fun when you’re invited — I’m not — and offering financial assistance to bloggers who have incurred the wrath of evildoers is a noble cause, never mind how doing so while naming names of the aforementioned evildoers does nothing but urge them forward. But to date there has been nothing done about making the NBC’s original purpose come to fruition. There was a promised website to register NBC membership cards. It has never happened. There is no form with which to apply for membership, no posted rules, no list of members or requirement for membership, and as others have discovered no one responsible for providing media credentials knows the NBC exists, let alone recognizes it as something worth considering when deciding who gets what access where. So yes, I do know the NBC’s goals. Apparently far better than the NBC.
I had gone to the President’s Dinner with Allen West, and then popped in to Blog Bash for about an hour with Da Tech Guy. Then it was time to get home, as (a) really loud music and (b) heavy partying (I drank an O’Doul’s) are done for me in that time. I did catch the awards portion. It was jolly good and quick.
An even more strident criticism, of CPAC in general, is from Richard Mgrdechian:
I have one simple question for the organizers (and the profiteers) of this political farce: how does anything being done at this event help promote American values of hard work, integrity and gratitude in any way? The answer is, it doesn’t. There is no take away whatsoever.
Two points, gents:
Failure doesn’t age well. Forty years of steady growth in CPAC attendance belie the notion that it is a ‘farce.’ BlogBash/The National Bloggers Club is an order of magnitude younger, but it’s still a growing concern, as noted by the increasing harassment received.
The Democratic party has been around a couple of centuries, but that doesn’t make it any less of a farce, Smitty. Snark aside, longevity does not automatically impart legitimacy. No enterprise is judged on last year’s batting average. And harassment because people can’t stop playing the victim long enough to stop donating their own blood to recognition vampires isn’t true harassment. It’s stupidity.
People don’t scale. With growth and success come the critics. And I’ll point you to the Man in the Arena speech and suggest that, in a capitalist society, competition is the ultimate rebuttal. That is, I’m not sure any of the proffered criticisms don’t apply to many large gatherings of people, but I’d sure like to see a rounder wheel if you can spin one.
Ah, the old “if you don’t like it do it better yourself” approach. More on this later.
Ronald Reagan’s mug dominates the wall behind the main CPAC stage, not that hero-worship excites me. What does excite me is having a concentrated place for the ideas that Reagan embraced and promoted, in that one eight year pause amidst our Progressive decline, to get transmitted from the establishment fogies decried by Wilson and Mgrdechian, to the college generation.
We need CPAC for that? Really?
Is CPAC enough? Let’s call it necessary, but not sufficient. The ditch on the other side of the road is say “They should just let CPAC die because they haven’t done enough to fix. . .” which forms a non-falsifiable, moving goal line. The more criticism heads that way, the less constructive it is.
The notion that criticism is counterproductive is ludicrous. It does nothing to address the issues raised, instead attempting to sweep it all under the rug. CPAC is pay to play, to borrow a music industry term. BlogBash is a circle jerk. And this is advancing conservatism?
I like going to CPAC and trying to make the speeches a little more accessible than just a 20 minute shot of YouTube. I guess that’s my criticism of it. The bandwidth at National Harbor is also wretched, though, I guess if I was sponsoring the event I may have better joy. That many people at once is always just a drain for me.
Here’s the deal. We say we’re a family. We say we’re all together. We say everyone great and small matters and is important for the cause. So where does the inclusiveness come into play? When does it start? Did anyone do a conference call or video conference with those not in attendance? No. Unless you count an Ustream of BlogBash as inclusiveness, which would be an interesting interpretation of the word to say the least.
Did anyone at CPAC call or write anyone not there saying wish you were here? I’m sure someone did; I never heard from anyone. Did anyone at CPAC stop to actually make so much as a jab, let alone stab, at getting people not in the room involved? You say you rubbed shoulders with Allen West and Rand Paul. Great. Very good. Nice. I’m happy for you. Did you put anyone on the phone with them? Did you pass along the contact information for anyone not there at the time who has skills that they could use? Do you genuinely give a flying freak about anyone other than your immediate crew and anything other than your next photo op? Evidence, please.
As a suggestion, guys, why not organize a Christian music concert nearby, for one of the CPAC evenings? National Harbor is crawling with dogs & cats, goldfish & clownfish from all over. CPAC has gathered a great audience for you. You could leverage that for a jolly good, edifying outing of your own. Just sayin’.
Okay, time to address the “if you don’t like how it’s done you do it” bit.
Let’s say I decided to put on a concert nearby. Let’s further say I collaborated with Mgrdechian to make it a double bill with Madison Rising and someone from my corner of the music world. Now, since this isn’t a Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland movie, the option of staging it at any given individual’s uncle’s barn is off the table. This means renting a venue for the evening, which means things like insurance, employee salaries for venue workers and security, and the like.
Next, you have to supply certain pieces of equipment to have a concert: PA, lights, possibly instruments such as drum sets and amplification if the artist can’t bring his or her own. You’ll need to rent this equipment plus pay a crew to set them up before the concert and take them down afterwards.
Now, let’s provide the artists who will play the concert. We already have Madison Rising booked for this hypothetical show, so it’s up to me to find someone of my preferred genre who is available to perform that evening. I’m now on the hook for their concert fee, plus in almost all cases transportation cost, meals, lodging and all that. And also Madison Rising’s.
Now, if you want anyone to come you can’t charge admission. The house keeps all revenues from food and beverage sales, which will be minimal since as a rule Christians don’t drink much. (And are terrible tippers to boot. But I digress.) The bands keep their merchandise sale revenue. And, since by the time you’re done counting the cost you are looking at five figures easy — like I have that kind of money, answer being nowhere near it — you’re looking at a not inconsiderable sum that cannot be recouped. All to say, “There. I did something.” Know anyone willing and able to cut a check and cover all that? Me neither.
Well, I do in fact do something. Hardly with the flash of a CPAC, but it is there every Sunday at 11 AM and 11 PM Eastern. And you don’t have to go anywhere or be part of the in crowd to participate. Plus, it’s free for everyone who wants to join in. Best I can do right now.
Which is far more than can be said for CPAC and BlogBash.
ADDENDUM: Thanks to The Pirates Cove for the link.