Tiger on Hiatus

Tiger has removed his blog and in its place posted a long letter explaining the situation:

I have heard that there is some local discussion among residents of my local area about things that I or other people, including Ph.Ds, prominent attorneys, and law professors, with whom I communicate, worldwide, might have written on a weblog that was formerly a part of this website. I was unaware that these discussions were being read locally. I did not advertise the existence of this website locally. However, as anything, including what you believe to be your private email, if it is on the internet and found by your enemies and detractors, it is thought to be in the public domain for any and all purposes.

I am currently running for political office, and there are those who think some of the comments that may be attributed to me have shown something distasteful about my character. An admission I had made about an isolated and very frightening incident that I had personally experienced when I was 13 years old, which I openly shared in the context of a broader discussion about age and sexuality, was established as the major factor for this belief that I may lack an appropriate moral character. People remain free in our country to possess whatever opinion they may, whether they have a valid basis for such or not. I only regret that some remain so close-minded when an attempt to have a truly open discussion is made. In the instant case it was so readily apparent that the person had already reached an irrefutable conclusion prior to even approaching me on the matter. A deaf ear was turned to anything I had to say about the matter. It was also mentioned that it was alarming and unbecoming for me to have used some coarse and colorful language in the course of my weblogging efforts. If one would had taken the time to look through the entire history of my weblog posting, they would have seen that such developed over a course of several months as I developed a certain persona in response to comments from some of my regular readers. I was thoroughly chastised by someone who admitted to possessing absolutely no knowledge whatsoever of the size, scale, popularity and purposes of the weblogging community. It continues to grow exponentially as a greater forum for the exchange of ideas among intellectuals of all walks of life on a truly worldwide scale. The readers of my weblog come from all states in the US as well as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, all areas of Europe as well as soldiers, civilians and citizens in Iraq, Iran, Israel, and other hotspot countries. Webloggers continue to provide a truer view of the news of the world than any of the traditional sources.

It is my belief that the conversations I was having with weblogging community about issues that do not immediately concern my local community, or the functions of the local office for which I am seeking to be elected, are improperly made topics of local discussion and any use as fodder against myself and my campaign is ethically repugnant. I shall continue my weblogging efforts, but I have disconnected such efforts from my local law practice site and I have already taken steps and will take such additional future steps as are necessary to remove such from the view of local highly-opinionated close-minded individuals.

An awkward and unfortunate situation, to be sure. Still, weblogs are a public forum. With the possible exceptions of bloggers who operate under a pseduonym–who always face the prospect of being “outed”–comments posted on the web are going to be read by people. Indeed, as many bloggers have found to their amusement, the silliest thing that one writes will be revisited again and again, even months later, by people who stumble upon it via a search engine.

People who are public intellectuals will almost certainly have their words thrown back at them if they enter the political arena. Pat Buchanan had his columns quoted back to him to back up charges that he was anti-Semitic, for example. Certainly, any law professor who has published journal articles will have them scrutinized–often by people without the intellectual capacity to actually understand them–if they’re ever nominated to the bench. Of course, the situation is worse for bloggers, in that we’ve generally posted much more material and, because of the nature of the enterprise, do so without benefit of an editor or a cooling off period.

The down side of this is obvious, in that the alternatives seem to be 1) causing people who would otherwise contribute to the public discourse to shy away from doing so lest it interfere with ambitions, including those they don’t yet realize they harbor or 2) winnowing the field of candidates for public office to those without anything interesting or controversial to say. Still, I’m not sure what the solution is. How do we set boundaries in political campaigns so that only “the relevant issues” are discussed? And who says what those are? Is it fair, for example, for every vote that John Kerry ever cast in the Senate to be fodder for campaign advertisements? How about the actions of George W. Bush as a young man who didn’t realize he was going to be president one day? One could certainly argue either way. The best option still seems to be to let the people sort it all out and hope that they’ll decide that spurious issues are just that.

And if the people of Somervell County decide they can’t abide a rantin’, ravin’ Tiger who uses some “R” rated language and the occasional f***, well, that’s their prerogative. But maybe they’ll read the blog and decide they like him, too. That’s lots of campaign material.

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Paul says:

    MAN! Tiger, Kornheiser, Invisible Adjunct, Bob Edwards, Yassin and The Brawny man…. The times, they are a changin’

  2. jen says:

    He’s actually hiding with the munus. Read My Lips.