Thursday, March 27, 2008

28 days later

29...30! Most people in the Irish blogosphere will be aware of Damien's cry for help/tirade against Fine Gael last month. Well, here is what they don't know, it wasn't true. I chose not to engage directly at the time in order not to leave myself open to accusations of seeking to deflect attention from the Irish Blog Awards which are primarily Damien's creation and for which he deserves considerable credit and which I can well imagine generates a good degree of stress in the organising.

Put as simply as possible his bald assertion that he was being harassed and stalked on and off line is completely erroneous. Some few people may be aware that I had what could be charitably described as a set-do with Damien back at the turn of the year over his use of a particular piece of terminology and his less than elegant reaction to my making my opinion about it known to him. The back and forth on the whole thing lasted a few days, and since then I've had no direct contact with him. Well after I got to make one comment which he proceeded to modify I reckoned there wasn't much point in bothering.

As regards his even more peculiar reference to being harassed and stalked off line all I can say is that to the best of my knowledge the last time I was even in the same city as Damien Mulley was for the blog awards last year. In fact in the week prior to his post about all this Damien travelled to Limerick twice and on one of those occasions was or so I heard inquiring as to my whereabouts. As it happens I was in Dublin on both occasions. Frankly, if that is stalking it sounds much more like Damien is the one doing it. Or if I really am supposed to be doing it I should think about buying a manual. I would very interested in seeing Damien produce the merest sliver of evidence to back up this ludicrous claim.

As regard his involvement of Fine Gael in all this, I'm further perplexed. In his communications with a number of people and organisations regarding his claims he has mentioned my name and that of Fine Gael. Why? The truth is that it would appear Damien is prone to the odd bout of histrionics going from cheerleading for Eamon Ryan to being his self appointment nemesis in the blink of a political eye. Since this was a disagreement between two individuals over the use of language one would wonder why Damien took issue with my membership of Fine Gael at all, rather than say my being an engineer or a Kerryman. Honestly, I would suggest that his repeated harping on about Fine Gael says more about his own indulgence of his biases when approaching any topic than anything else.

I comment on lots of blogs and I suppose one might say we end up playing in the same sand pits from time to time. Let's face it the Irish blogging township isn't quite that large and I wasn't aware that I was supposed to be banished from interacting with people simply because I had fallen foul of Damien Mulley. So I'm sure there have been a couple of occasions when I've commented on the same post as Damien but what reasonable person could characterise that as harassment or even stalking?

Further to this we had his quite excitable jumping up and down about people making threats of legal action. People who were paying close attention from his first post would have noticed that it was Damien Mulley who first spoke of contacting An Garda Síochána and of seeking recourse to legal advice. To date I've heard nothing, nada, faic from anyone to do with his claims and frankly I strongly expect to never hear anything. Any more than I expect to be contacted about the whereabouts of Shergar or the Irish Crown Jewels. Since there was no harassment or stalking there aren't going to be any legal actions forthcoming from Damien. Simply saying something again and again doesn't make it true.

The one quite serious implication from his remarks in his post was that I, acting with others, was in some way seeking to deliberately impact on his health. This is, just like the rest of his post, completely rubbish. As the state of his health wasn't known to me, how was I supposed to be doing this? Voodoo? Incantations? If he is suffering from some form of paranoia and it is somehow impacting his health then I would really suggest that he seek help for it. Strange to think that a simple thing like a relative nobody in blogging not being cowed by Damien's vitriol three months ago would be an scab he would chose to return to on the eve of the blog awards. Retaining a positive mental outlook is vitally important when a person is dealing with a disease like MS.

As for making threats to radio shows and contacting blog nominees about their eligibility for nomination that did not happen either. Who was contacted and exactly what kind of threats would I be in a position to make to radio shows? Withhold my license? Write to Arthur Murphy on Mailbag?

If people like Damien want to say something about people they should be prepared to be upfront about it. Damien made big play of taking his twitter account private though I suspect the real reason behind that was so he could continue to make snide, sly, underhand comments which are his real modus operandi. It's the web 2.0 version of whispering in class with your hand over your mouth. I'm sure those who do have access to his twitter will know if this is the case. Did he name names? Drop hints? Is he still going on about it?

The really disappointing aspect for me was that so few people looked for any justification for the accusation. Most were simply prepared to take him at his word and instead of calling for habeas corpus, the call went out for a head, any head in fact. I acknowledge that Damien has done tremendous work promoting blogging in Ireland but to suggest that such efforts somehow gives him carte blanche to make accusations about people and then never front up is totally unjustified. I will continue to blog, but as for the Irish Blogging Community I have to wonder who would wish to be a member of a community that reaches so readily for pitch forks at the whim of its leader.

It is worth remembering that a benevolent dictator isn't benevolent to everyone all the time and at the end of the day they really are a just dictator, one more petty tyrant.