La Russophobe is proudly awaiting the day, several weeks hence, when she records the 100,000th page view at this blog (we're now at 90,000). A "page view" is not the same as a visit, one visit can generate more than one page view depending on the interest level of the visitor, so it's a more general indication of how the blog is being received by its audience. But it's still a really big number for a little specialist blog like this, and it's going to come before we're even one year old. Readers should be just as pleased as LR, since they are responsible for the number as much as LR is. When this day arrives, it'll be the biggest milestone in the history of this blog to date, so naturally we are on pins and needles. Perhaps it's because any hopeful sign where Russia is concerned, in the midst of so very much darkness, is so valuable.
Thankfully, the charming fellows over at the eXile tabloid have stepped in to fill the void, providing us with yet another milestone to tide us over whilst we patiently wait for the big one to arrive, like little kids waiting for Santa Claus (it's as if there were a National Enquirer in America written in Russian by Russians; here's how the earthshaking lead item in the most recent issue begins: "For years Moscow has been known as the cultural Cheese Capital of Eastern Europe, a hotbed of sh**ty disco pop music and style so shamelessly lame that it made Milan or the Castro District seem like grimy punk zones by comparison." Heavy stuff there, heavy.) . They've said they don't like us! In fact, they've devoted a whole article to a typically scatalogical personal attack on us! There really couldn't be any more convincing proof of what we've achieved in the short amount of time we've existed so far than the eXile's disapproval, so we humbly thank them for it. We're very proud to be now keeping company with other vile villains hated by the eXile, such as the Moscow Times and Yevgenia Albats. And the free publicity can't hurt either (yup, we can hardly believe that all nine of the eXile's readers have now been clued in to our existence! is that cool or what? we're looking to see a major surge in visitation over the next few days).
To thank the (very little) boys over at the eXile for their charming and most welcome recognition, we've consulted a journalism professor and are pleased to offer them a series of free lessons in the finer points of their craft, which will hopefully lead to even more brilliant success for them in the future, maybe even Russia's version of the Pulitzer Prize (if such there be).
We know it probably sounds like a bizarre notion to the boys, but when you want to know about somebody (David Johnson and Kim Zigfeld are mentioned in the eXile's screed by name), our professor says one of the first things an actual journalist will do is speak to them. If, for instance, the eXile had interviewed David Johnson before going to print, they'd have found out that, far from being the recipient of "crazed" letters from Ms. Zigfeld, he recently wrote to her and asked permission to run our translation of the Novaya Gazeta piece "Spare Organs," which she was happy to grant. Ms. Zigfeld herself has never received any inquiry from the eXile about, well, anything. Maybe they'll try this technique one day, a whole new world might open up for them! For instance, instead of asking readers "Who is this freakish ghoul who haunts the blog world with her Russophobia, and what is his/her/their purpose?" they could have asked us, and then they could have printed the answer. Journalism at this sophisticated level is really amazing, isn't it?
Often times, the professor says, it's considered a good idea to check out one's sources of information before going to press. The mention by the eXile of the name "Oliver Bronsen" is a sure tipoff that information has been fed by them by the wacko Russophile pair of Kiril Pankratov and Mike Averko. Relying on these keystone cops for information is like relying on Vladimir Putin for the milk of human kindness. Perhaps not such a good idea, especially not when making statements about "one of those psychos who writes obsessive letters to their local newspaper complaining about 'big government.'" Those who have read LR's post about Mr. Averko will understand why (that's quite a large number, as you will see if you Google Mr. Averko's name). Little wonder the eXile chose not to name their sources, but the professor says that conscientious journalists frown on the use of anonymity in such cases. It's the sure tipoff of quackery.
According to the professor, one of the most important features of journalism, and the single most important feature of editing, is consistency. If, for instance, you at one point say "La Russophobe is an NGO project run by an angry, fat-assed Anglo/American chick who hates Sharapova" and you then post the picture at left, well, people are bound to be confused. Even by anorexic standards, that ass isn't fat. And if you then go on to say that Ms. Zigfeld is actually a guy named Oliver Bronsen, your readers are bound to drift away to . . . oh . . . let's just say the Moscow Times. Also, you might then notice that it's just a bit odd to refer to the source of your story about LR anonymously as "a reader" and to publish the story itself without a byline whilst simultaneously screeching about how odd it is that LR might be anonymous. You might notice that if you say you're about to list "two theories" and then list (a) and (b) and (c), that's not actually two. Likewise, it might have occurred to somebody that expressing hatred of all things La Russophobe (to say nothing of all things George Bush and, indeed, all things America) while attacking LR for expressing hatred of all things Russian is bound to be a bit confusing for many. And lastly, you might realize that if you pontificate about LR being obsessed with attention and then give her some, you're kind of undermining your own theory (or at least showing a pretty childish lack of self control -- then again, maybe that's a point of pride over at the eXile).
4. Conflict of interest
Granted, journalistic ethics is an advanced topic, and it's probably way too early to mention it. But we can dream, can't we? If you're going to write a critique of somebody (let's say something thoughtful and reasonable like: "La Russophobe is a compulsively unironic, humorless hate blog, with said hatred directed at All Things Russian. Sort of like one of those psychos who writes obsessive letters to their local newspaper complaining about 'big government.'"), the professor says, it's considered standard operating procedure to disclose the fact that the person has previously written such things about you. You know, as La Russophobe did five months ago about eXile editor Mark Ames. The same thing holds true for the rather sharp attacks LR has launched against the eXile's sources, Averko and Pankratov. What's more, in the blogosphere it's considered basic to post a link to those comments, so readers can see them for themselves. This not only follows good ethics, but it avoids the appearance that you're scared of what was said about you and don't want anybody to read it. LR must say she was a bit disappointed, but not surprised, that the eXile didn't do so.
Last, but certainly not least, the professor points out the many benefits of actually doing research, instead of just blowing smoke out of your butt, which is amusing for a while but gets old pretty fast. If, for instance, the eXile had done any research about this blog they would have learned. just for instance, that:
- Far from being "obsessed" with Maria Sharapova as they claim, only 25 posts out of 1,250 that have been published so far over the course of ten months had Maria as a topic. In other words, 98% of our posts are not about Sharapova, only 2% are. Given that she's the most famous Russian in the world (and the wealthiest female athlete of any nation), we hardly think that's overkill. Now, we understand that the little horny boys over at the eXile are annoyed that we've dared to mess with their wet dreams (they refer to Maria as "tennis-babe" in the article), but come on guys. There's lots of fish in the sea! And anyway, Russia is full of cheap prostitutes and vodka to ply them with.
- Maybe it's not such a good idea to say "just about every non-cash-earning blog is totally f**ked up." They might have found out, you see, that La Russophobe has more links from blogs and more traffic than any "cash-earning" Russia blog of its kind in existence. A little more research might have revealed that a "non-cash-earning" educational/political blog can make freer use of source material than can one which operates for revenue. Still more research might have led to the realization of how many people feel using profanity isn't really very impressive. In fact, often, quite the opposite. Especially when you follow it up with childish and incomprehensible analogies like "a Scooby Doo situation." Plus which, no matter how jaded and cynical you might be, is it really such a good idea to trash volunteerism, particularly in a country like Russia where 1 million people are lost from the population every year? Is even the eXile capable of being THAT evil? Maybe. Maybe they revile Gandhi because he didn't keep on being a tax lawyer and raking in the big bucks. Perhaps they're just that sick. But if so, it's rather odd that they spend so much time screeching about the establishment and the Bush adminstration, isn't it?
- Probably could have done better than to say that LR "hates all things Russian." After all, everybody within earshot knows how much LR loves Anna Politkovskaya, Yulia Yusupova, Yevgenia Albats, Marina Litvinovich and Svetlana Gannushkina -- to say nothing of Stanislav Dmitreivsky. They're about as Russian as you can get! The tribute in our sidebar and our special piece on Publius Pundit clearly show our awestruck admiration for them, and many other Russians who struggle to stop the rise of the neo-Soviet Union in Russia. This blog was created for one purpose: to support them!
And here's a little personal advice, just because we're feeling so good.
Guys, if you really wanted to "get" us, you would have praised us to the sky. Had you done so, we would have (a) felt a bit guilty about trashing you as incompetent loons who crashed and burned in America and then went to the one place in the world where you could actually feel superior and started pimping Russian women to foreigners for profit as mail-order brides under the guise of "journalism" and we would have (b) had to reevaluate our whole existence, since your approval would be the same as getting a letter from a hero like Yulia Latynina saying we suck. So, as far as can be seen, you accomplished the exact opposite of your purpose. That is unless you actually do like us, and know how we think, and wanted to throw us a bone. But since we don't want you to like us, we prefer to think you're not remotely close to being that clever.
Love and Kisses,