It’s not you, it’s me. I’m just not cut out for this gig. I was honored and thrilled to be asked to front a blog for a local t.v. station two or so years ago after having written my own for so long. I’d desperately tried to think of ways to parlay my love for self-publishing online into a paying job when one landed in my lap. I have Mike Sechrist, Steve Sabato and Terry Heaton to thank for that. The four of us forged ahead into a wild and woolly internet in the only way we knew how: with transparency, with gusto and with good intentions. I wouldn’t have signed on for the job if I thought NIT wouldn’t be true to what I thought blogging on the internet was, which is different from anything else that has come before it.
In taking on this position I was asked to maintain the voice I had established at Sparkwood & 21. That voice is irreverent, brash, sarcastic and opinionated. I was asked to highlight other bloggers in the Nashville area and to praise them, debate them, engage them, just the same as you would on any blog. WKRN really wanted to immerse themselves in the blogging community in a genuine and authentic way that would not scare smart bloggers into thinking we were out to make money off their content. I mean, in the end we wanted to, but not without the explicit consent of those involved. We wanted to reach out and create a real online community populated by real Nashvillians. I think we succeeded.
But by being me, by putting myself out there–with the ABC logo adorned to my sweater at all times–I became the target of some really hateful people. Being a professional blogger paid by a local news affiliate put me in a different category than everyone else. I became “the MSM.” It became okay to ask for my job. And hey, maybe that’s how it should be. Perhaps by being the beneficiary of a full-time blogging gig that a lot of people would love to have it means that I am a “pseudo-quasi-celebrity” who has to take the insults and criticisms and constant job threatening with the territory. But, I’m not cut out for it. I thought I was, but I’m not.
The internet is a mean place. I know, because I’ve contributed to the mean plenty. I think it’s even safe to say that some of the hatred displayed toward me was brought on by me. I readily admit to being snarky when I should have been thoughtful. I was dismissive and sarcastic, when I should have been more open-minded. But, posting all day, every day will do that to you. Blogging isn’t meant to be done that way, on the clock, 9-6. Feeling pressure to constantly update will make you do stupid, careless things, like link to a screed I find abhorrent without making it abundantly clear to anyone who passed by what I meant. It was a lazy post, and it’s my own fault that people misunderstood me. It’s because I’m burned out. It sounds lame, but blogging all day every day can wear you down pretty quick. Especially when you have thin skin, as I do.
See, I thought it would get thicker. And, in a way, I guess it did some. But it seemed as though people just got more and more vicious. For instance, in the past 24 hours alone the following things have been said about me:
- “[I] truly am surprised that there’s anybody out there trying to be an even halfway serious blogger who so badly fails to understand the limitations and inherent biases of their chosen medium.”
- “Brittney, Brittney, Brittney: What are we going to do with you kitten?”
- “Brittney is just plain f*cking stupid.”
- “In Canada, Brittney and her colleagues could be considered criminals under the Criminal Code of Canada as it states that ‘anyone who incites hatred of an identifiable group or promotes hatred is guilty of a criminal offense and will be imprisoned for two to five years.’
- “I do hope Steve’s family are unaware of your indefensible lack of journalistic ethics.”
- “You are a liar.”
- “…you are so f*cking retarded…”
- “Just wanted to let you know. I’ve copied this post and forwarded it to your advertisers with a few comments. Perhaps you will receive a lesson of your own.”
- “I’m writing to the station director and every advertiser can find - mocking the tragic death of a young man is inexcusable. And in this particular case, viciously racist as well…Brittney should be fired.”
- “If Brittney truly aspires to be a “journalist”, she should consider employment at FOX or possibly try to get a job interning with Coulter, Limbaugh or O’Reilly. There she will learn how to get away with saying hateful things all by herself (instead of recycling someone else’s screed) and then deny their meaning and intent.”
- “Given the headline she gave it there can be little doubt that Brittney and WKRN share the bigoted opinion of this article, their protests to the contrary. No person of integrity or faith should shop with their advertisers.”
- “What, Brittney can’t defend herself? Is she at the local Klan meeting or is she dropping the kids off at Nazi Youth Camp?”
- “Brittney, what a monster you are.”
- “[A]ny racist, sexist, sociopath should feel free to set up shop here in Nashville, and Brittney will lay down the Welcome Mat and reprint their stuff here. Your boss must be so proud!!!”
- “F*ck a whole bunch of Brittney.”
- “You’re a bigot, there are millions like you, everybody knows it, case closed.”
- “Your right-wing take on the world based on your blog is totally consistent with the vile racist bastard you linked to. If the bigot-lite shoe fits you should really own up to it.”
- “Either Brittany is an idiot or she’s got a serious racism jones. Well, actually the two are not mutually exclusive. There are far too many people with Brittney’s skill set currently working in media and government, perhaps she should consider a different career path.”
And there you have it, the reason I turned in my resignation this morning. I do not want to be seen as a victim here, I only want to honestly tell you why I will no longer be authoring NIT. Your host is simply not cut from strong enough cloth. This is the internet. People are vicious. They are even more vicious when they fail to make any distinction between you and a feelingless, faceless media company. It’s easier to justify the venom that way. And while some people may get off on feeding those frenzies of hate, I do not. I tried to not let it affect me but it does. Every day. The tears and the stress are just not worth it.
I’ve been thinking about this decision for a long, long time, so don’t go thinking that anyone in particular won here. Nobody specifically pushed me out. This decision is the culmination of lots of long hours of pondering, checking myself, and wondering if I’ve got what it takes. I decided I don’t.
I cannot adequately express how much I’ve learned and loved and been inspired by the bloggers featured here at NIT. Much of what you gave me–in terms of support, laughter and wisdom–is invaluable. I am a better person for having taken on this job, and I’ll be forever grateful. It’s jut time for me to move on.