Category Archives: Alan Jacobs

Blog tag–It's my turn

I’ve been blog tagged. Don’t know what that is? I didn’t either until Google Alerts brought me to Shel Holtz’s blog “A Shel of My Former Self.” There I discovered I and four others had been tagged. Seems back on December 10 a blogger by the name of Jeff Pulver had the idea that it would be good to use blogs to get to know each other better. Actually, from his blog this game of blog tagging is not new, but he was the one that started this particular string. Tagging involves telling five things about yourself that others may not know, and then tagging five other bloggers to do the same.

Somewhere along the line, Shel Holtz got tagged, gave up his five secrets, and then tagged me. So, it is my turn. And for those of you on the bottom of this–now it will be your turn.

1) I’m a proud Dutchman. My father immigrated from the province of Friesland in the Netherlands in 1948 and all my grandparents are from the old country. I am also very proud of the role my grandparents and my dad played in helping the Dutch underground during the war by sheltering those running away from the Nazis–activity that put all their lives at risk and that has been beautifully told about in my dad’s book called “The Way It Was: Growing Up in Wartime Holland.”

2) My family is my great pride and joy–my wife Lynne to whom I have been married for 33 years, my son Chris and his wife Deborah (expecting their first baby in March), my son Geoff and his wife Amy with their two children, Emily and Ethan (and expecting their third later in 07), and daughter Ashley and her husband Gabe and their son Baron.

3) Although now in the crisis management business and founder of a crisis communication technology company, my roots are in the arts. I was a fine arts and drama major and taught fine arts, communication and drama at the university level for four years before getting into business. I still love to visit museums (the Getty is among my favorites) and also enjoy painting–our house is overloaded with my paintings.

4) Given the last item, some might find it surprising that I also greatly enjoy outdoor activities including gardening, hunting, fishing, (and even paintball!) In fact, I hope to finish out the old year spending some time tromping around some local woods with my bow and arrow in search of venison.

5) Finally, faith has always been a driving force in my life. It is an interesting time as the world struggles with the issues of truth, meaning and purpose–in ways that are sometimes inspiring and full of hope and at other times with bitterness, hatred and violence.

I now hereby tag the following:

 Brian Sibley

Jonathan Bernstein

Phillipe Borremans 

Patricia Goldschmid

Alan Jacobs

Ann Coulter, Al Franken and the use of language

I commented earlier about the anger of bloggers referencing an article in Books and Culture by Alan Jacobs. As company leaders get into the blogging world and respond to those who may be attacking them in the blogging world, they will confront the issue of rhetorical styles.

While there is a great variation in styles in the blogosphere, much comment mirrors the rhetorical style that has become far too common in our political discussion. Admittedly, it can make for entertaining reading. And that’s part of the problem. The likes of Rush Limbaugh, Al Franken, Ann Coulter, Hannity and Colmes and the whole pundit menagerie have learned that they way they get the gigs and then make the money they do is by being outrageous, over the top. The need to entertain and the commercial nature of our political discussion has pushed us into a mode of talking to each other that is rude, angry, disrespectful, and downright ugly.

My point here is not to call for an end to it, as much as I would like to. It is to raise the question about the style and tone to adopt in a blog or in a response to those who are writing blogs against you. On the one hand, the bland, legalese, pr-polished corporate speak will get your groans and no credibility among those far too accustomed to overheated rhetoric. On the other hand, to jump full tilt into the gritty and ugly language of the blog world just doesn’t feel right either. Reminds me of the old saying I keep repeating: when you wrestle in the mud with a pig, you both get dirty but the pig enjoys it.

Any thoughts?