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April 17th, 2009
An Idle Word: Blogging for fun and prophet

An Idle Word: A column

This is the column I meant to write for my initial foray into the world of online journalism. However, remembering the venerated admonition about not discussing religion in public forums, I of course changed course and wrote about the current mini-controversy over opening prayers at city council meetings which I understand may be expanding since the chief critic has now learned the commissioners court does so as well.

Not only that but as I recall, the Texas legislature opens each day’s session as well with a guest clergyman from around the state, a practice that will certainly continue if our present governor succeeds with his latest solution to addressing the critical needs of Texas’ seceding from the United States.

Like any Texas governor, our “Coif-in-Chief” is not adverse to quoting and thus linking himself to the greatest Texan of them all Sam Houston. Someone ought to point out to him that the hero of San Jacinto had the guts to face being evicting from office because of his opposition to the secessionist-fever that swept the state into the Confederacy. Well at least he’s made himself the star of “Faux News” this week.

Just think, if we secede, we can take on own “Axis of Evil” — say Vermont, California and Iowa — and appoint our own ambassadors to embarrass us globally. The mind boggles. The column digresses. The center will not hold.

So to return to the topic at hand, I yielded to Citizen Rollins (Brad not Henry) to return to journalistic commentary in an on-line format for the simplest of reasons — to hone my own “social networking” skills, a buzz word in my chosen profession of public information and relations.

My state-of-the-art IBM Electric is now preserved as a museum piece much like the old manual typewriter in the window of Serum’s Varsity Shop, my once-impressive Rolodex has yellowed and my fax machine seems to receive nothing but daily vacation getaway offers.

And like many who grew up enjoying the feel of paper in my hand as I drank my morning coffee, I am Googling and Facebooking to gather information. And, of course, distributing my own propaganda in a ready to publish format.

Thus blogging seemed to be the natural course to follow in remaining on the cutting (well maybe the sawing) edge of communications dissemination. And as noted last week, I do enjoy the opportunity of a freewheeling chance to share my views.

I’m not going overboard on new technology. At the risk of sounding like Andy Rooney I refuse to “twitter”, which sounds too much like what Cosmo Topper’s scatterbrained socialite wife did on the old TV sitcom based on Thorne Smith’s novels about the wraiths of George and Marian Kirby and their brandy-swilling St. Bernard, Neal.

Growing up in the era when George Orwell’s “1984″ was considered an ominous foretelling of a future when the government was able to spy on our every thought and movement, it’s ironic that so many people freely disseminate the personal details of their lives a quarter of a century later.

Walk down the aisle of any grocery store and you can who’s having domestic difficulties as shoppers loudly carry on loud cell phone discussions with their spouses. Want to know who’s unhappy with their job? Go to Facebook. As Al Capp said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Perhaps, an opportunity awaits an entrepreneur to start a “Rent Your Own Paparazzi” service to follow you around and snap embarrassing photos.

Of course, just to be on the safe side and honor George’s warning, we did have a late-blooming Orwellian craze in this country until recently.

Anyway that’s how I became a blogger — which is also easier on the knees than being a jogger — and returning to what reader Diana Finlay Hendricks refers to my “random stream of consciousness” and appreciate the initial comments from her and others on my initial “Idle Mind.”

As a final note to Diana, my former editor at The Chautauguan, did you notice that that the Country Music Association Award for song of the year this year went to an actual country song, “In Color.” I already had added it to my IPod playlist of the 300 best country songs of all time and was shocked to hear that it won the award.

It was a moment that ranks right up there with Charlie Rich opening the envelope to announce John Denver as Country Music Performer of the Year and promptly setting it on fire with his cigarette lighter.

BILL CUNNINGHAM is a San Marcos public relations and policy consultant. He is a former chair of the Texas State University System board of regents and San Marcos city council member.

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4 thoughts on “An Idle Word: Blogging for fun and prophet

  1. Bill, I cannot resist adding to an aside you touched on here about the irony of a privacy-conscience people embracing Twitter to announce their every bowel movement. I’ve been amazed in particular with the eagerness of “black helicopter” libertarians — and I am mixing allusion here without caution or regret — to so document the minutia of their lives. It’s a sort of deception deliberately couched deceptively as “transparancy” that by its nature emphasizes the unimportant to the exclusion of the worth mentioning.

    Of course I have to add that I am speaking broadyly here because the Twitter and/or Facebook voices — and voices via whatever mediums replaces these current object of our attention — are sort of a theatre of the mundane that I can’t imagine keeping intelligent people’s imagination for long. Of course, the rather venerable history of bold pronouncements and predictions being proved laughably wrong is a long and rich one.

    By the way, I should point out that Lamar W. Hankins submitted his missives to the city of San Marcos and the Hays Countys goverments pretty much at the same time, about Feb. 16. Hankins tells me that County Judge Elizabeth Sumter responded immediately to his inquiry/instructions and “I treat them differently than the city because they will talk about these matters instead of resorting to threats from their attorney.”

  2. Brad, you finally smoked me out. I just could not stand keeping my mouth shut one more day.

    Bill, It must be sad to grow so old that you can no longer keep up with the latest. “Rent Your Own Paparazzi” Sorry but that service is available right here in River City from our friends in Austin. See Your new electronic column is really too intellectual for me. What happened to great movie reviews. Who but Bill Cunningham could review “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”with the same fervor and credibility as the finest New York Times critic reviewing a Feline flick.

    I would expect much more local government comment from the only person in history to read the City Charter before they were sworn in as a Councilman.

    I am going to hold you to a higher standard with my comments. Think of me as your own personal Charles O’Dell.

  3. Bill, the nitpickers will pick nits. It was Walt Kelly’s Pogo who said, “We have met the enemy and it is us.” Al Capp said a lot of qotable lines, but not that one. Keep up the good work. Perry gets recognized today on the AA-S editorial page.

    And, yes, the feel of real paper and ink stains on your hands make the coffee taste better.


  4. Brad, I think we need special Twitter blasts the minute BC’s columns are posted.
    Fun stuff. Keep it coming.

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