Thursday, May 20, 2010

The silence of the LAMBs

I just finished listening to the latest podcast of The Large Association of Movie Blogs, in which the nominations for the 2010 LAMMY Awards were announced—and since Thrilling Days of Yesteryear was nominated for bupkis, you LAMB devotees can sleep a little easier knowing that the process is on the up-and-up. I suppose I could have engaged in a little pimpage and heavily promoted TDOY—and I need to stress that campaigning for one’s blog is not a bad thing, lest someone get that impression from my use of the word “pimpage”—but in retrospect I’m kind of glad I didn’t. (Besides, I like to think TDOY sort of transcends the traditional movie blog—after all, I cover classic television and old-time radio, too.)

I have nothing but the highest praise for the LAMB administrator—the hardest working man in the movie blog bidness, Dylan “Fletch” Fields—but at the risk of being defriended on Facebook, I’ve always been a bit put off by the cliquishness of the whole organization. There’s a tendency on the part of many of the LAMB movie blogs to sort of look upon classic film blogs as the mutts of the cinema blogging bidness (the horror/sci-fi/B-movie blogs are considered mongrels as well); Fields even admitted that he doesn’t read any classic film blogs, and one of the podcast participants, Rachel Truro of Rachel’s Reel Reviews, questioned the need to have as LAMMY categories Best Classic Film Blog or Best Horror/Sci-Fi Blog (equivocating them with Oscar categories like Best Animated Film and Best Foreign Language Film).

Well, I’ll tell ya, Rach—they are there so that I might congratulate longtime TDOY friends like She Blogged by Night (Stacia also got a nom for Best Design), Ed Howard’s Only the Cinema (also nominated—and well deserved—for the Brainiac Award) and Raquelle’s Out of the Past: A Classic Film Blog—all three of which were nominated for Best Classic Film Blog, and The Lightning Bug’s Lair, which scored a nod in the Best Horror/Sci-Fi Blog category. Best wishes also go out to Facebook chum Marilyn Ferdinand of Ferdy on Films for a Brainiac nomination (also well deserved) and to blogroll newcomer Where Danger Lives, which racked up noms as Best Classic Film Blog, Best Design and Best Random LAMB Banner. I tell you, it’s going to be tough choosing between four superlative classic film blogs come voting time—and I’d just like to say that although my vote cannot be bought, I’m certainly not opposed to renting it.

Kudos also go to Chuck Norris Ate My Baby, a nominee for the most important of the LAMMYs: Best Blog Name. If CNAMB doesn’t win this one you'll know the fix is in.

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13 comments:

Stacia said...

OK, what in the dingdang HECK is going on over there? It's absolutely inconceivable to me that TDOY doesn't get nominated for anything. Also, I have noticed the lack of classic blog love over there, and I know others have as well, because the subject gets brought up every so often.

The rest of my thoughts I will keep to myself for once.

Stacia said...

P.S. Your check is in the mail.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

P.S. Your check is in the mail.

Hot diggity! Criterion Stagecoach, here I come!

KC said...

I voted for you in several categories. That you would not get at least a nomination for most prolific is beyond wrong!

Fletch said...

You knew I was going to come here and comment on this, right? ;)

First off, I should say that I'm not particularly bothered by your comments, Ivan, save for your intimation that I (or the LAMB in general) think of genre blogs as mongrels. Are they a minority? Sure (see more below on this). But I'm thrilled to see you cheering on your fellow blogger.

I can only apologize so much for my lack of love for classic films (and horror ones while we're at it), but I like to think that I've made great strides to include classic and horror bloggers as much as possible at the LAMB. It's discouraging to hear the thoughts from both of you, really. (I was thrilled to have the new genre-specific awards in the LAMMYs, and was pleased with the turnout in voters, but Stacia, please remember that it's the votes of 80+ people that determined the nominations. Hard to point fingers at anyone in particular.) And, at the risk of drawing ire, I might suggest that genre blogs are pretty darn cliquish themselves. With an organization such as the LAMB (with soooo many sites from so many authors interested in different things), I feel like you get what you give. The clique, if there is one, is made up of the people that participate the most, and therefore get to know each other the best.

And while I know genre blogs aren't my bag, I know that they are the respective bags of so many others. Even within some of our existing features (and especially with new ones), I'm constantly trying to draw in bloggers from all walks. Differing opinions are welcome, as is contributing. If you'd like to see more of a classic film blogger presence, by all means, become one and start up a feature directed towards them. I've put out the call many a time, but if it goes unanswered, who then is left to blame?

Raquelle said...

Thanks Ivan for letting me know about my
nomination and for mentioning me. I just want to point out that I bake, a lot. As is demonstrated on my food blog. Cookies, cupcakes, etc. Just sayin ::wink::.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

You knew I was going to come here and comment on this, right? ;)

Fletch old sock—I’d have been disappointed if you hadn’t. ;-)

First off, I should say that I'm not particularly bothered by your comments, Ivan, save for your intimation that I (or the LAMB in general) think of genre blogs as mongrels.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. I quote Bill Murray from Stripes: “We are the wretched refuse. We're the underdog. We're mutts! Here's proof: his nose is cold! But there's no animal that's more faithful, that's more loyal, more loveable than the mutt.”

I can only apologize so much for my lack of love for classic films (and horror ones while we're at it), but I like to think that I've made great strides to include classic and horror bloggers as much as possible at the LAMB. It's discouraging to hear the thoughts from both of you, really. (I was thrilled to have the new genre-specific awards in the LAMMYs, and was pleased with the turnout in voters, but Stacia, please remember that it's the votes of 80+ people that determined the nominations. Hard to point fingers at anyone in particular.)

And this is why you are beloved by so many LAMBs, my friend. (I’m serious about this.) Also, I realize and take into consideration that with 500+ blogs in the organization…there are going to be some lost in the shuffle. So the steps you have taken to recognize, to use your excellent choice of words, “genre-specific” blogs are most appreciated—and speaking only for myself, I’d like to issue a major maxima mea culpa for not making this statement in the post.

But let’s look at it from my side of the fence. If I’m listening to the LAMBcast and some wisenheimer disparagingly pops off about the classic movie and horror/sci-fi blog awards, relegating them to a comparison of the Academy Awards’ efforts to recognize animated and foreign films—well, can you blame me for wanting to blow off a little steam?

And, at the risk of drawing ire, I might suggest that genre blogs are pretty darn cliquish themselves. With an organization such as the LAMB (with soooo many sites from so many authors interested in different things), I feel like you get what you give.

I’m not going to speak on behalf of any genre blog other than my own—but I’d strongly disagree that I engage in any kind of cliquishness. If that were the case, that LAMB scroll box would be out of here…in fact, it wouldn’t even be here in the first place.

The clique, if there is one, is made up of the people that participate the most, and therefore get to know each other the best.

Which is pretty much the dictionary definition of “clique.” Should I participate more? Maybe. (I’m kind of shy.) Actually, I do seem to recall trying to contribute something to LAMB Chops on at least one occasion (a review I wrote of One Potato, Two Potato [1964]) that I thought was pretty darn well-written (and I’m my own worst critic) and was soundly rebuffed. (Though thankfully I did not receive a reply to the point of “What is this crap?”)

And while I know genre blogs aren't my bag, I know that they are the respective bags of so many others. Even within some of our existing features (and especially with new ones), I'm constantly trying to draw in bloggers from all walks. Differing opinions are welcome, as is contributing. If you'd like to see more of a classic film blogger presence, by all means, become one and start up a feature directed towards them. I've put out the call many a time, but if it goes unanswered, who then is left to blame?

Well, you know the old saying: “Be careful what you wish for.” I propose that you add a feature in the same line as LAMB Chops and Bloody Chops—to be called Classic Chops. If you’re looking for someone to spearhead this project, I’m your boy.

Thanks for having this conversation with me, Fletch – you are truly one of nature’s noblemen.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

KC wrote:

I voted for you in several categories. That you would not get at least a nomination for most prolific is beyond wrong!

Awww...you sweet thang! I appreciate any support you threw my way, but in the sobering daylight of the next morning I realize that any nomination I'd receive might bestow a bit of respectability to this blog that I'm not certain the blogosphere is adequately prepared.

And Raquelle added her two cents:

I just want to point out that I bake, a lot. As is demonstrated on my food blog. Cookies, cupcakes, etc. Just sayin ::wink::.

I'm particularly fond of Boston cream pie!

Fletch said...

RE: the Stripes quote - touche!

If I’m listening to the LAMBcast and some wisenheimer disparagingly pops off about the classic movie and horror/sci-fi blog awards, relegating them to a comparison of the Academy Awards’ efforts to recognize animated and foreign films—well, can you blame me for wanting to blow off a little steam?

Not at all. At the same time, I thought it made for a good discussion. Whether I agree with her thoughts or not (as you can tell, I don't), I still see it as a valid question, and probably one that a few people might be thinking (particularly about the festival/awards category even more than the genre-specific ones).

I’d strongly disagree that I engage in any kind of cliquishness. If that were the case, that LAMB scroll box would be out of here…in fact, it wouldn’t even be here in the first place.

Very true. Please know that I was not pointing the finger at you but was speaking more in general terms about that.

I propose that you add a feature in the same line as LAMB Chops and Bloody Chops—to be called Classic Chops. If you’re looking for someone to spearhead this project, I’m your boy.

I love it! I'll get with you via email in the near future with the particulars.

And thank you as well. I enjoy these back-and-forths, and very much appreciate your kind words.

Stacia said...

I can only hope my long reply to Fletch is appropriate here, Ivan. It's something that I wanted to say publicly, though.

but Stacia, please remember that it's the votes of 80+ people that determined the nominations. Hard to point fingers at anyone in particular.

I'm at a complete loss on this. It sounds like you're really saying "Don't blame me and Rachel for not liking genre blogs because we're only 2 votes." If that's the case, may I remind you that everyone who was nominated for Best Classic and Best Horror/SF was just told in the nomination podcast that the owner of LAMB doesn't read them and Rachel doesn't think those categories should even exist. I might suggest you think for a moment how some nominees would feel about that.

I've put out the call many a time, but if it goes unanswered, who then is left to blame?

Again, I should remind you that the overall attitude of LAMB about classic blogs has made more than one classic blogger member just move on. Further, and I'm being extremely blunt here, it's difficult to contribute because LAMB is all over the place and there is no one central location of information. Someone has to spend hours listening to podcasts, reading forums, joining Facebook, and following the blog closely just to get a good overall idea of what's going on. You ask us to give a lot of our time, and a classic blogger who sees very little on LAMB devoted to them isn't going to give much time.

Even then, what is on LAMB in its various media is disorganized: The FYC banner entries were given single posts at the beginning and end of the run, but the banners in the middle were lumped into groups of 4. Today's announcement (deleted from the blog proper but still in my RSS feed) of the nominees was last year's list from 2009. The Kubrick director's chair was announced quite late.

That sort of thing happens all the time. I can't blame people for not knowing about you "putting out the call", because dude, *I* have only seen it once myself, and I TRY to follow LAMB. Casual followers won't have seen it at all.

Fletch said...

I'll preface this by saying that I'm glad to hear the criticism. I'd much rather hear from a passionate and caring person like yourself, Stacia, than not hear it at all.

It sounds like you're really saying "Don't blame me and Rachel for not liking genre blogs because we're only 2 votes." If that's the case, may I remind you that everyone who was nominated for Best Classic and Best Horror/SF was just told in the nomination podcast that the owner of LAMB doesn't read them and Rachel doesn't think those categories should even exist.

To the first part, I more or less am saying that, but it was in response to your lack of belief at Ivan's getting a nomination, and the voting process was finished before the podcast was posted. I didn't see how his lack of a nom could be construed as a poor reflection on the LAMB itself, when it (or I or whatever you want to say) have but one vote.

To the second part, need I put in a disclaimer that says "the opinions stated are not necessarily those of the LAMB website, etc.?," because it sounds like that's what's needed. Basically, so what if Rachel doesn't think the awards for the niche blogs should exist (note: they didn't in the past; I added them for this year specifically because I value them)? It's her opinion, and she's entitled to it; nowhere do I think she trashed anyone - she merely stated an objection, and one - when thought of using the analogy given, Animated films @ the Oscars - that seems pretty apt, agree or disagree. Furthermore, who cares if I don't personally read classic blogs? Obviously, I support them and enjoy having them as a part of the LAMB, as it's not about me at all.

Further, it's difficult to contribute because LAMB is all over the place and there is no one central location of information. Someone has to spend hours listening to podcasts, reading forums, joining Facebook, and following the blog closely just to get a good overall idea of what's going on.

I think there's some truth to this, but that it's mostly unfair. There's most certainly one central location - it's the LAMB site itself. Everything else is just extras: if you want to submit a LAMBscore, the forum is the easiest way to handle that. If you want so-called news ahead of time and/or want to be involved more with the community, the Facebook page is there for that. If you're interested in podcasts, they're there for your listening pleasure. I think it's all a matter of how invested someone wants to be. I'm just trying to make it a complete experience - a professional place - as best I can (for no charge and with no pay for myself, I might add).

Even then, what is on LAMB in its various media is disorganized: The FYC banner entries were given single posts at the beginning and end of the run, but the banners in the middle were lumped into groups of 4. Today's announcement (deleted from the blog proper but still in my RSS feed) of the nominees was last year's list from 2009. The Kubrick director's chair was announced quite late.

Is the LAMB a truly "professional" place? Not yet, but damned if I'm not trying my best. With things like the FYC banners, I attempt to anticipate the interest level and go from there. I was wrong. I accidentally hit "Publish Post" as I was typing up the post this morning; I'm sorry for that - I attempted to fix it, but I can't go into RSS feeds and pull it out. I'm attempting to manage 6 or 8 contributors and their various features all at once, and I have no control over what may or may not be going on in their lives. I also blah blah blah. I could list off a number of excuses, but what's the point?

I'm sorry, really, that the LAMB isn't living up to your expectations, and I'm glad that you've stuck with it in spite of that. I'm trying to do my best here, and will continue to do so in the future.

Stacia said...

I didn't see how his lack of a nom could be construed as a poor reflection on the LAMB itself

My first reply here was not in any way directed at just one person, and I'm still at a loss as to why you think it was. To me, it seems my repeated use of the phrase "over there" for LAMB pretty clearly denotes the entity as a whole.

In my second reply on this thread, my reason for using specific examples such as the podcast comment was NOT to finger point, NOT to single you out and make you feel bad. I am completely honest here, it was not an attempt to hurt your feelings. I just don't know how else to explain what I'm trying to say without using specific examples. Vague language would have been ineffective or caused someone to ask for specific examples anyway.

To me -- my personal opinion, which I hope we all know does not constitute fact -- there are reasons people do not get very invested in LAMB, and why they "ignore your call" about specific genre events. One reason is that it is difficult to follow LAMB. The other reason is that there are occasional hostile comments towards "genre blogs" there. LAMB definitely skews towards a certain demographic, as Ivan already noted.

Again, I am sincerely sorry I upset you. I don't think it's any secret that I was (and continue to be) a tad upset myself, and as a result I was apparently too harsh in my last comment.

T.L Bugg said...

Wow this is quite a discussion you've got going on here, but I just wanted to stop by and thank Ivan for mentioning me. I was very happy to have gotten my nomination, and i appreciate you taking the time to give me a shout out.