Week In Review: October 9-13

by Travis Mateer

The screenshot above is from Mark Tokarski’s blog and indicates the end of an era is upon us. After 17 years, Mark is hanging it up, so new posts will no longer be posted. That means this blog you are reading is the LAST ONE to remain active from the glory days of political blogging in Montana.

I went looking for an old post from the first blog I contributed to, 4&20 Blackbirds, and this one from January of 2014 is a good one for traipsing down memory lane. Here is a comment from Kenneth Kailey about how he perceives blogging in Montana has impacted past political races:

I would venture to say – with some certainty – that Senator Tester would not be Senator Tester if It wasn’t for the Montana Blogs at the time. Not only did they have some influence in the race itself, the people behind the blogs – like my brother and Matt Singer were very active both financially and physically getting Tester elected.

Blogs play and even bigger roll in today’s world of social media. Most blogs are connected to various social media sites (like mine is always announced on Facebook) and while you don’t see 10,000 people hitting each site, it doesn’t take 10,000 people to influence an election. Our media is slanted (Don and I argue over how it is slanted but each of us recognize that it is, in fact slanted) and more people are turning to social media and blogs for information and to discuss politics.

I won’t argue that the Montana blog-o-sphere is a microcosm but this microcosm is having more and more effect on the overall scheme of things than it has ever had before. Blog posts are read as evidence in State Hearings and it isn’t unusual anymore to see a blog referred to by someone discussing politics.

It’s been nearly a decade since that comment was made and here we are, in 2023, gearing up for ANOTHER Senate race featuring Jon Tester, but the world is a completely different world than the one that saw this 7-fingered farmer first get elected to the Senate in 2006.

Here’s another post from the previous year (2013) where I ask if blogging is a waste of time? I think I was reflecting on the claim that my presence at 4&20 Blackbirds destroyed the blog, a claim made by the perennial critical of the “far left”, Rob Kailey. Here’s what he claimed about me (I was blogging as “lizard”) in 2013:

4 & 20: Jay, you started this website and it was one of the best. Turning it over to egos like Lizard? Bad move. No matter how many precious kudos this site gets from the Missoula community, it is still just a an inbred horrorshow. Lizard doesn’t seem to care at all about Montana or Montanans. JC doesn’t seem to care about anyone but himself. Jhwygirl has fled, mores the pity. Pete is still engaged, and that’s the only reason this website deserves a C.

It’s interesting going down memory lane after having mentioned Mark’s name and “jhwygirl” earlier this week to the director of UM’s journalism program. It’s also interesting to come across jhwygirl’s comment on that second post I linked to, since her reasons for cutting back was how DEMOCRATS in this state responded to criticism from the left:

i’ve cut back on my writing because Missoula County Democrats have felt free to attempt to harm me personally. And those on city council don’t take well to those that disagree.

4&20 thrives because it is for the most part independent in thought and not any one party’s talking points.

And none of us get paid.

Eliminate the paid “bloggers’ and the list is shorter than the paid bloggers is longer. In the same sense that people delegitimize anonymous opinions and reporting (like mine,) I direct a degree of delegitimization of paid anonymous bloggers.

Because that isn’t blogging – it’s PR work.

You also won’t find me talking about our stats. I find it distasteful to obsess on who when and how many are reading who and what. Because if that’s what you’re doing it for, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.

This is quite insightful, and hopefully points to why I continue to be read: my opinions are MINE and my writing is truly independent because no one is paying me beyond donations to keep doing this.

While I’ve clashed with Mark over the years, it was VERY nice to finally meet him in person this summer as I drove around this country, and I’m going to miss seeing new content at his site. Thanks helping keep the blogosphere interesting, Mark!

Below are the links to last week’s posts and after that, a song. I even saw this tune get a retweet on Twitter from jhwygirl, so thank you j-girl! I’m glad I got the opportunity in 2010 to write for an actual audience, and I have NO plans on stopping, so stay tuned for more content posted Monday-Friday, and please consider supporting Travis’ Impact Fund (TIF), or making a donation at my about page, to help keep the lights one around here.

Is Missoula’s Mayor Race A Simple Matter Of Genitalia? (October 9th, 2023)

The Columbine Shooters Plan To Hijack A Plane And Crash It In New York City (October 10th, 2023)

60 Days, 7,130 Miles, 133,680 Words Later… (October 11th, 2023)

On Educating A Smart Person From Iran About The Psychopath Class (October 12th, 2023)

Why WOULDN’T Narrative Controllers Include Controlling Counter-Narratives? (October 13th, 2023)

Thanks for listening/reading!

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Week In Review: October 9-13

  1. Eric says:

    The reason Tester won his race was two reasons – first that he was/is a world class liar. Second because the Democrats (The Party of the Rich) set records on spending for a Senate race.

    Tester was running around smearing Senator Burns with claims of being bought by lobbyists, etc., and when Senator Burns left office he called the Justice Dept and asked them if the wanted any records and they said. “No, there is nothing there”

    Enjoy blogging retirement Mark!

    I should apologize for mopping up the floor with you on the blogs, but I just can’t because it was too much fun 🤩

    • Burns was losing it, Eric, and I say this having liked the man as a useful person with a credible public image, but also with human qualities including humor. The people behind Burns needed a replacement, and because they were not the kind of people who thought party ID mattered, settled on Tester to replace Burns. Although there is considerable subterfuge, it was readily apparent that Tester, once elected, picked up the Burns agenda (also Baucus’s) of preserving rocks and ice and turning Montana’s unroaded wild lands over to industry. You’re right that Tester is a fraud. Every time he comes up for reelection he hops his sorry fat ass on that underpowered tractor and pretends to be a farmer, as if he ever was.

      You see a lot, Eric, but miss far more.

      • Big Swede 2 says:

        As much as it hurts me to admit it, Kailey was right. Blogs did have an influence on turnout in the Burns/Tester race. Blogs were influencing proportionally younger voters, but more so U of M non-residents who were enticed to disregard their home state status and vote as Montanans. Plus I doubt the integrity of Zootown’s partisan vote counters.

        Another factor was Conrad’s comments about lazy contract fire fighters. Interesting enough a major player/financier in the MT Rep party was the one who complained to Burns about firefighters sitting on his lawn while he and his ranch hands were covered in soot and sweat battling the blaze. I believe you knew Tom H., and might have some accounting business with him or his partners.

        Any way Mark I want to thank you for making me more involved in MT politics, enticing me to dig deep into factual matters rather than emotional knee jerks. I enjoyed our debates over the years. Good luck, good health in your retirement.

        • Thanks for chiming in Swede!

        • Yes, I knew Tom H and his other partner. I’d completely forgotten that incident surrounding the fire. I think Tom was righteously indignant.

          Swede, as I got to know you better I became less arrogant and more tolerant, even to the point of enjoying your commentary. I also became more conservative.

          Conan O’Brien’s mother-in-law, a psychologist, told him that as he aged he would produce less testosterone and become more patient and kind. Conan admitted she was right, saying that he even was wearing a pretty dress at the time she made the comment.

    • Eric, so longn you see yourself mopping floors, I think things are in proper perspective.

  2. JC says:

    This is too weird. Coobs, Tokarski, Big Swede, Lizard and myself all in the same comment thread again. What’s the world coming to? Wulfgar and Pogie going to visit next? I’ll avoid igniting the old flame wars, and just say, nice to see you all!

  3. John Q Citizen says:

    It’s old home week?

  4. jack ruby says:

    As a longtme lurker I want to see one more Kailey vs Tokarski throwdown

    • Paging Rob Kailey!

      • Last I saw Kailey (I did a purge on my blog to eliminate every reference to him), he was devoted to NFL prognostications. Being at heart a mean son of a bitch, I demonstrated to him that I could be as insightful as he was by merely making random guesses as to winners and losers. I was surprised myself.

        The Kailey brothers were a dark-hearted pair, a mixture of narcissism, arrogance, stupidity, and I think a very controlling and mean-spirited mother that formed them both. They own guns, are afraid to tread into nature without them, and I never saw reference to a nurturing father in their lives. I guess you could say they were born and bred Montanans.

  5. Eric says:

    To be complete Larry Kralj would have to show up. 🙂

Leave a Reply