Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Note to Our Readers

Hey --

Another Sunday. Ginger e-mailed if we were becoming a Sunday evening site? Not by intention. Here's who worked on this edition:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,
and Wally of The Daily Jot

And of course Dallas. We thank them all.

What happened? A number of snafus and a number of very real problems.

Truest statement of the week -- caused no problems other than C.I. noting it's "IPA" not "IPS" (and wondering if it was billed wrongly at The Common Ills?).

Editorial: Re-selling the illegal war -- Last thing we wrote and we weren't sure we'd have an editorial. This was worked on by Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava, C.I. and me, Jim. Dona and Ty note this is chiefly C.I. and me with them largely just doing corrections and smoothing out a sentence here or there. We are all tired. I wanted an editorial and I thank everyone for participating but especially C.I. who, even when tired and probably wanting to tell me to let it go, always presses on.

TV: The Wall St. Journal's Entertainment Program -- This wasn't the review that ran in the print edition. (The print edition had no editorial.) Ava and C.I. reviewed another series. But there was a huge breakdown/stoppage during this edition. As the talk went round and round, Ava and C.I. walked off. They ended up watching a video a friend had sent them and since I was already worried about the scope of this edition and since we were still discussing a feature, they went back off and wrote this up quickly. It may be the strongest thing about the edition and we all thank them.

Save the Country: Nyro's passion -- This wasn't our first problem but it became a big problem. Laura Nyro? We all love her music. No problem. Dona read a book on Nyro (as did Jess) and they were contributing from that. C.I. was iffy about this from the start. When they began contributing, C.I. asked (repeatedly), "Where are you getting that?" What followed was C.I. going to a large closet and pulling down countless journals. For the problems with the promotion of Nyro's last studio album, C.I.'s relying on notes in the journal from three phone conversations with Nyro, from a letter Nyro wrote during the recording and from a note she wrote when presented with the official and finalized promotion 'plan.' Nyro was not happy with it and apparently a book (which C.I. says is probably "brilliant" in every other regard) got that wrong. She wasn't happy with the recording of the last studio album released by Columbia either. (She's very clear on that in the letter.) This was a long piece and we raided C.I.'s journals going back several decades freely. Digging through the journals meant we had to let everyone else go (the hour was so late -- none of us have been to sleep since Saturday morning and it's now 4:56 p.m. Sunday as we write). After we were done, C.I. vetted everything we were planning to include with other people who knew Nyro (vetted over the phone) leading to more deletions. There is a strong chance that the original version will run in Friday's gina & krista round-robin.

Mumia -- This feature is self-explanatory and except for some editing surgery by Dona, done quickly compared to other features.

Mailbag -- This was the problem. No one was happy with it. C.I. and Ava pulled nothing from the discussion. (C.I. did and does note, "I was tired and it shows.") This really was a roundtable and had others not pulled statements we might have dropped the mailbag and billed it as a roundtable. Even after people had pulled comments they were uncomfortable with, it was the biggest problem. There were some who didn't want it to run. (And Jess points out Dona -- who never called for abandoing it -- went through almost a half of a carton during this writing session -- half a carton of cigarettes.) We spent hours after the deletions discussing whether or not to run it. In the end, all participating agreed to run it. This is neither a pro-porn or anti-porn piece. That was one of the issues discussions after repeatedly noted. (For the record, we aren't anti-porn.) A comment by one participant (Dona says to note it was a woman) that got deleted was, "Pornography really isn't part of my life because I refuse to allow it to be." Which was deleted by the speaker because everyone is effected by porn. While that is true, it was a valid opinion and when it was removed other comments had to be eliminated because they expanded upon a point that was no longer present. We've never had so much frustration over one piece. (Frustration over the piece. No one was frustrated with anyone participating. All disagreements, even when heated, were friendly.) C.I., who did not make the comment I just referenced, wants it noted, "I could have. I have never had anything to do with porn and I refuse to now. If others do, that's their business. Visuals -- photos or videos of people nude or having sex -- don't stimulate me and never have. I understood the point being made and I understood the reason it was pulled. While it is true that porn's so ingrained in our society that we're all touched by it on some level, it's also true that many people take great strides to minimize the impact. Some may or may not succeed. But I did understand the point being made."

As long as you're dipping into the vaults . . . -- A friend of C.I.'s came over for an agreed upon late lunch that was cancelled due to the fact that we were still working on the edition. The friend ended up going over several volumes of journals to help us pick out bits for the Nyro article and, at the end, stated, "As long as you're dipping in to things, why not note Susan Faldui's interview with The Progressive." Dona asked what interview, C.I. offered that quote and Dona exclaimed, "Short feature! Thank goodness!"

Dear Canada: Let US War Resisters Stay -- Contrary to what two e-mails have already wondered, this was not a filler but something that was always planned to run. It ran in the print version. Also in the print version was a look at yesterday's rallies and the peace movement. We were so exhausted from debating the mailbag that Dona wisely suggested we kill both features from the online version or we'd be up until midnight tonight debating.

Highlights -- Kat, Rebecca, Betty, Elaine, Cedric, Wally and Mike wrote this (and did so quickly) we thank them for it.

Are we an evening or night time site? We may decide to become that. We knew we would be behind due to Ava, Kat and C.I. returning from the road Saturday and due to the Saturday protest against the illegal war. We had no idea we'd be this far behind. C.I. didn't do a morning entry at The Common Ills (C.I. did post Isaiah's comic this morning) due to all of our problems here. We're now going to try to grab some sleep (a nap for some -- I've told C.I. I'm napping only so I can help go through the e-mails from community members to The Common Ills. Since The Common Ills has already suffered due to this site, it seems the least I can do.)

We'll see you next week, early or late.

-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

P.S. A bonus feature was added after the note went up. "Ty's Corner" notes one more e-mail (at length) and gives an overview of the "Mailbag" process. As the title indicates, Ty wrote this feature.

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