I know you, you know me
I’m the black sheep of the family,
I’m in an’ out of trouble
I’m the talk of the town
I get wild in the street
When the sun goes down
I steal around, like a thief in the night
Dancing ’til the break of day
I don’t know who was following the blogosphere over the weekend, but there was a fight taking place on TMM’s blog. TMM felt that someone had taken a lead/idea from one of his blog posts and then repackaged the idea several months later without giving him credit. (Edit: See the story in question here. For the record, I do think TMM was the first to find it.) TMM and I spoke by phone today. For right now he has taken everything down in deference to the contributions that all of his colleagues have made towards Asian American culture. Hopefully all parties can be happy.
I don’t know the details, so I won’t go into specifics of the incident this weekend. What I will say is this: It’s hard to be one of the black sheep of the blogosphere. Those of us who don’t post on pop culture or mainstream politics don’t and will never pull in the traffic of those who do. I just wanted to give TMM a shoutout of support. Again, this is not related to the specifics of the incident in question.
I do feel TMM’s pain. I can express black sheepdom in one sentence: no one ever links to you because they don’t want to be associated with your so-called craziness or anti-socialness, yet people read you and like you. It’s kind of like being that uncle or aunt or cousin who embarrasses the family. The key difference is that people would kick that uncle or aunt or cousin out of the family if they could. When you’re a black sheep of the AA blogosphere, on the other hand, people read you and like you; they just don’t always acknowledge you. I mean, really, look at TMM’s traffic on his sidebar. His audience is NOT small. People are reading him. I think it’s fair for him to ask for some occasional love, even if he’s not mainstream. I understand that we live with the normal rules of association, where it’s normal and expected that popular culture bloggers would be more likely to promote other popular culture bloggers, but think about how much more powerful the movement is when everyone’s voice is included. Frank Chin is a great example of this. He’s considered less marketable that Hong Kingston and Amy Tan, but look at how much the man has contributed. The mainstream doesn’t promote him enough.
Anyway, I don’t have much else to say about this topic, other than the AA blogosphere is like a small family. There’s a Jewish phrase, Shalom Ba’yit, which means “peace in the house.” I hope we can have peace in the house, with a place at the table for all of us, big sheep and small sheep, white sheep and black sheep, and all other contributors together.