Dear Syntagma re: offensive and please decide

Filed as News on September 14, 2006 4:31 am

eGonzo Weekly by Martin Neumann

Dear John,

Firstly, I have respected you for a while, even enjoyed some of your blogs. But my respect for you and your blog network is fast waning. Why?

Your totally offensive post on the death of Steve Irwin at your blog, Celebrity at Work.

First of, the title to your post “Steve Irwin – Hero or Suicide?” Suicide??? WTF!

And then it goes from bad to worse to finally offensive.

… who took his own life as surely as any Jihadist suicide bomber


Are you really comparing the two? Please! If so, I really have to question your state of mind.

You have totally misread 99% of the audience on this one (not good for a wannabe web magazine publisher). People the world over have been using blogs to express their emotions … by the thousands – blog posts and comments.

To bring up suicide and jihadist suicide bomber in the same sentence as Steve Irwin is offensive. It also speaks of your total lack of respect.

You then go on to question the sanity of your potential audience…

In the modern world, people are projecting themselves onto insignificant TV “celebrities� and identifying with them to an extent that puts a question mark over their sanity.

I suspect you have a major chip on your shoulder, are an elitist and you have constantly misread the public emotions and desires. Are you sure you can handle being a “web magazine” publisher with such a poor record?

To be honest with you John, I am totally disgusted with you and what you have written. It’s tough words, but it’s got to be said and I’m saying it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Next I want to question you on your recent (and continuing) anti-blog network stance.

For a network (blog, web magazine … whatever!) who is trying to wash their hands of the too-geeky blogosphere why are you commenting all over the place at … blogs and blog networks?

I don’t get it.

You want to get away from all of us, yet you keep coming back. Sorry, but it just doesn’t make sense.

If you truly believe in where you want to be heading then cut the cord with the blogosphere and get on with business – my bet is you can’t because then no one would be listening. And because at the end of the day, web magazine or not, you will always be thought of as a blog network – unless you radically change your blog (sorry, magazine) layout.

I’ve noticed across the blogosphere (the very same blogosphere you stick you nose up at) many comments you are making lately. It’s strange for me to keep seeing you bring up your “web magaizne” changes – like you are trying to talk yourself into believing it’s a good move. It’s either that or a desperate cry for attention … can you please leave a comment (actually engage in a conversation) without dragging out your own network and trying to sell to us all what you are doing?

Sadly John, I respected you once but this time I just can’t read what you’re on about.

I wonder why you even bothered starting a blog network if you where going to turn on it. I actually don’t mind the “web magazine” theories and ideas you have put forth – but really, it’s time to put up or shut up.

Which is is?

PS. I suspect we will be tutored to in the comments as to the what/why/how of what you’re doing with your network … again!

Martin Neumann blogs at The Blog Columnist and ePublishingDaily

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  1. By John Evans (SYNTAGMA) posted on September 14, 2006 at 5:30 am
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    Sledgehammer to crack a nut, Martin? Definitely a bit over the top.

    If you look at the subtitle of the site, Celebrity at Work, it’s “Influencers of the Zeitgeist”. We look for people who are genuinely making a difference to the world, not just drawing on its emotions to get themselves in the headlines. In my opinion Irwin ruined his credentials when he dangled his baby son under his arm while feeding the crocodiles. Only demented Michael Jackson does that sort of thing.

    In terms of my right to address the blogosphere, when did anyone assume a right to censorship. Careful, Martin, your shoulder-chip is showing.

    If you read my answer to your comment on my blog post: Examining the Counter-Culture, you’ll see that I’m not against blogs or the blogosphere at all.

    As for the reference to “Jihadist suicide bomber”, well, he could well have killed his son in that crazy incident. As for suicide, he managed it in the end, didn’t he.

    Oh, and we aim to improve the zeitgeist not just follow the manipulated crowd.

  2. By Martin Neumann posted on September 14, 2006 at 6:33 am
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    A bit over the top – this coming from “Jihadist suicide bomberâ€? – c’mon John.

    Who’s talking about censorship, John – I’m just questioning your use of “Jihadist suicide bomberâ€? in the same breath as Irwin. Nothing to do with censorship, more to do with … Why? Where’s the link? In other words, I’m questioning your judgement.

    My shoulder-chip is showing – sorry, I need some clarification on that one.

    Though I wouldn’t bring up the “chip on the shoulder” argument, John – cause I think you’ve got that pretty well covered – re: you seem to have a massive chip about being labelled a blog network. And I’m not sure why.

    You’re starting to sound a little like old media who are disdainful of blogs and blogging in general putting yourself above it all. Sorry John, all that screams to me is: elitist.

    You comment everywhere about not being a blog network – yet in your own sidebar you call yourself a … blog network.

    Rather than trying to sell it to the rest of us, why not just go ahead and do it and become a “web magazine”. I’m interested how you go about it – seriously.

    Also, your main argument is that those who have embedded the word “blog” in their blogs and business names are the one’s screaming loudly against you.

    That’s silly because there are hundreds upon hundreds of blogs with the world blog or blogging in them. I don’t think the term blog or blogging is going anywhere soon – no matter what you may wish for.

  3. By John Evans (SYNTAGMA) posted on September 14, 2006 at 6:57 am
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    Martin, the only bit in your scatter-gun attack that meshes with me is that “Jihadist suicide bomber” may have been a bit wide of the mark. But I stand by my argument that the reaction to Irwin’s almost self-inflicted death around the world was grotesque.

    BTW, our sidebar doesn’t mention “blog network” anymore. But why come down on that when you’ve been supportive in the past? The tone of your post seems to have been triggered by my comments on Irwin, but your scatter-gun explosion is a bit like the tactics of … well, a Jihadist suicide bomber. ;-)

    And I don’t wish for blogs and blogging to disappear — we use both in our m******* (Note I’m not being offensive here by using the “M” word).

    I remember when I lived in Oz watching a kangeroo boxing. I hope that wasn’t a foretaste of the new Aussie puritanism.

  4. By Martin Neumann posted on September 14, 2006 at 7:55 am
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    I think you should take a closer look at your own sidebar, John.

    Yes, I have been supportive – I still am. Just that I’ve seen all talk and little changes. I prefer it to be the other way round – but oh well, each to their own.

    A boxing kangaroo / new Aussie puritanism ??? Oh, is that because I”m an Aussie? I kind of get it :-)

  5. By Dave Martin posted on September 14, 2006 at 8:50 am
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    Uhh…. Nice blog… errrr…. I mean magazine article… errr…. I mean – link bait boys…

  6. By Duncan posted on September 14, 2006 at 8:57 am
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    Sorry John but I’ve got to take sides with Martin on this one, I was no huge fan of Steve Irwin, and indeed I did note some of his negatives in my own posts in relation to his death, but seriously the Irwin stuff is beyond the pale…indeed my I make a suggestion on the name of of your network, because if this is indeed representative of the direction you are taking your “online magazine watchimacallit”…consider Aljazeera or similar. Extremism and elitism is a direction which if I was to share the advice of Sir Humphrey Appelby, is a Courageous decision John.

  7. By John Evans (SYNTAGMA) posted on September 14, 2006 at 9:33 am
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    Sir Humphrey is my hero, Duncan.

    As for elitism and extremism : leaving aside the Irwin piece, where is the extremism anywhere in the network? Even on the “magazine” topic I’ve used nuanced arguments. It’s some of the critics who have become narrow-minded.

    “Elitism” is what I call “superdemocracy” — victory for the level of maximum competence. It’s not very politically-correct, but it sure does improve the economy.

    I’ll put down Martin’s post as the opening shots in the upcoming titanic battle for the Ashes (Part 2). Now that really will be Xtreme. :-)

  8. By Aaron Brazell posted on September 14, 2006 at 10:53 am
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    I’ll put down Martin’s post as the opening shots in the upcoming titanic battle for the Ashes (Part 2). Now that really will be Xtreme. :-)

    Not worth my time.

    Elitism may be superdemocracy but it is the tipping point toward collapse.

  9. By Martin Neumann posted on September 14, 2006 at 6:31 pm
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    Okay, so we’re narrowing it down – you’re an elitist?

    Wow! Do you know how out of touch that sounds to the average reader? Oh, but that’s okay … it seems you only want the elite to come to your doors.

    I’m sure you can drop in the word “elite” somewhere in your tagline…

    Syntagma Media operates the top Web Network Magazine in the world.

    The Ashes. You know I’ve got this sneaking feeling it won’t be as titantic of a battle as you may think it is. Don’t know: I think Australia is very hungry for revenge and England has become a little complacent.

  10. By HART (1-800-HART) posted on September 15, 2006 at 4:58 am
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    Yah .. the Steve Irwin issue .. it’s touchy all around no matter what positive or negatives are being said. As a blogger of several pet lover sites .. I didn’t want to touch that story with a 10-foot pole, and left it as news (versus opinion) by others.

  11. By John Evans (SYNTAGMA) posted on September 15, 2006 at 5:09 am
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    Martin, you’re just picking at the edges now. Take a look at the Australian Cricket Academy — probably the most elitist institution in the world outside the British Monarchy. But, pow … it gets great results. ;-)

  12. By Martin Neumann posted on September 15, 2006 at 8:35 am
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    Hey Hart … nothing wrong about having an opinion, on any issue, it’s a free world. we’re an opinionated bunch, us bloggers. What was weird was John’s Jihadist suicide bomber statement. That’s all.

    The rest was all a scatter gun approach on one other issue. ;-)