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!