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Blogger of all trades, expert at none

I just did a phone interview with Wired about the 9/11 report. CNN wants to come to my house next week to do an interview about security moms. I've spoken to at least three reporters from various news agencies this week about the conventions. And I hear my blog was flashed for .5 seconds on CNN today (I think it was the Glenn Reynolds interview, not sure).
I think in the past year alone, I've done about 100 media interviews on various subjects. The fact that they email me looking for two second sound bites or a few words about a chosen subject is a source of great bemusement to me. I still have the same attitude whenever I get an interview request: Who, me? It's almost surreal at times and when I go ahead and read my two words out of a thousand spoken that get printed in the story it's almost as if I'm separating me from that me. It's just....weird. I don't think I'll ever get used to people actively seeking out my opinion on anything except video games and horror movies. And no one has called me on that yet. It makes me wonder what impression someone might have of me if they've read an article where I'm quoted. Maybe they think, oh must be an Important Person Who Is An Expert In The Field. When in reality, I've got the phone in one hand and the Game Cube controller in the other and I'm in my pajamas. I always wanted to be an expert at something. I could never decided just what, though, which is probably why I bounce all over the place as far as subjects go here. But last night I was watching VH1's Most Metal Moments and there was one guy, I forget his name, but the blurb that came up on the screen when they showed him on camera was Metal Expert. I wonder if anyone grows up thinking, I want to be a metal expert when I get older? And how does one get the credentials that would deem them an expert in that field, anyhow? Either, way, it's sort of a cool thing to have attached to your name. Imagine: Michele Catalano, Metal Expert. At this stage in the game, it's probably too late to become an expert on anything. I mean, my life is half over (that's assuming I die of natural causes at a ripe old age) and the second half usually consists of a down hill slide towards early bird meals and reruns of Murder, She Wrote. So I suppose I should just ride this wave of meager successes right now and some day I can tell my grandkids - when they get surly with me and call me a foolish old bag - my opinion was once sought after, you damn whippersnappers! Who knows? Maybe I'll still be blogging by then and people will call me to ask my opinion about adult diapers and diet supplement drinks. Or maybe they'll have opened a Home For Aged Bloggers by then. I think I figured out why my success (blogger-ly speaking) has been somewhat limited, in comparison to other bloggers who have turned their gig into paying jobs. I never quite nailed down what it is I blog about. But I kind of like it this way. I'd rather regale you with tales of DJ's guitar prowess some days then write another post about Sandy Berger's pants. Being an expert is probably overrated anyhow. How many times could one answer the same question about Marilyn Manson's boobs (fake or real?) without wanting to scream? I think I'll scratch "metal expert" off of my short list. Maybe I'll go for an expert credential in Antagonizing Red Sox Fans. I seem to be pretty good at that. Or maybe I'll just go back to the couch and try to regain my Crash Team Racing championship title from Natalie.

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Comments

::sotto voce:: That Michele Catalano - she's so hot right now.

Seriously, you need a column or a show or something.

Well, whatever you do, when you talk to CNN, be sure not to say something brilliant like "if they're looking for news, they're not getting it from me!"

Not that any famous bloggers would open their pie holes and let something that bubbleheaded escape....

Oh, and be sure to tell them you get up before noon.

Even on the weekends....

I always put my money on winners. As my wife says, that way, I can live vicariously through others (I REALLY got to get a life).

actually, Michele, that's what makes you a perfect uber-blogger in the grand tradition of American journalism - your ability to cover a wide range of topics. You are more like a newspaper than a policy paper (or a CNN scroll).

I suffer from the same sort of ADB (Attention Deficit Blogging). Even the topics I could consider myself something of an expert about (journalism, the Southern Baptist Convention, media) are not appealing enough for me to devote the entirety of my blog to just those topics. Plus, the journalism/media blog is pretty much a dead horse at this point. How many times can you say "the mainstream media is biased" without losing your mind?

Anyway, keep it up. It's what makes you unique among the bright lights of the blogosphere. even so, I don't understand why someone (tech central station?) hasn't pitched an internet column to you.

I dunno. I think it's pretty easy to antagonize Red Sox fans. All you have to do is be a Yankees fan when the Yankees crush the Red Sox.

But, my lord. What a classless bunch (the Red Sox, that is. I have no opinion about the fans.)

Congrats. You and your blog deserve high praise. To wit: you've still got my attention. Kind of funny, huh. We couldn't be further apart about Bush and Iraq. (How's that for a slice of your audience demographic. And yet, I don't consider myself a staunch liberal either - guess I'm middle of the road - "that's where you'll find me.")

But there was a day almost three years ago that changed all our lives forever. I'm a mom who wonders what the future will hold for my children, and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, in a way I never quite thought about before that day. I want to make a difference. We have to make a difference. It IS up to all of us, after all. That's why I come here to read.
I look at your Voices project. So many times... I've tried, but the words do not come. I cannot say what's in my heart and in my head about that Tuesday and all the days that followed. The words do not come.

That feeling comes instead... the one that starts in my stomach and rises up and slows my heart, then just takes away my breath and swallows all the words. But it holds back all the tears. They might stay inside forever. That's okay. Other words are here.

I know I do not agree with everything you write. But I do respect the great courage you've shown. You've taken a stand. You've challenged us to look at things and to take the time to consider another viewpoint. And in doing so...have challenged us to find our own voices again.

Good for you, Michele. I'm glad a voice like yours - tough, smart, witty, compassionate and metal expert - is out there and now is out there for the cable news world to hear. CNN today, network news tomorrow, world domination by week's end.

Hey Michele, don't envy the experts. Just remember Murphy: "An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less until he knows absolutely everything about nothing."

As I wrote many months ago, when I voted for ASV as the Best Overall Blog:

I voted for Michele's "A Small Victory" as best overall blog (and best Higher Being/Mortal). Her unique blend of politics, pop-culture, music, personal life, and blogosphere topics is (IMO) the epitome of what blogging is all about. Some comparisons:

LGF, for instance, is simply too one-dimensional; Boing Boing isn't really a blog - it's more like a MeFi; Lileks is too personal and folksy for my tastes at times; Kottke is too progressive for me to digest regularly; Den Beste is too smart (in the good way), and doesn't use (or need) humor often; Sullivan I've never even read - his site design just turns me away ever time; and Dive Into Mark and Scripting News are (like LGF) very specific in their audience and interests.

Don't get me wrong - most of those sites are fascinating, useful, or endearing in some way or another, but Michele simply has integrated her life - philosophy, culture, politics, family - into her blog, with wit, intelligence, and style. That's why she gets my vote.

still waiting for your novel to be written.

Like most of those who populate the so-called "mainstream media" are experts on anything? When journalism became an academic discipline, it turned into jargon-filled, largely worthless if not meaningless "communications theory," and people who got degrees in it learned nothing about anything they later found themselves covering. You could both think and write circles around at least 90% of them; the subject is secondary.

Of course you can be an expert.

It's done all the time.

You have experience, contacts and the net at your fingertips.

There's no degree in this, your cutting a path.

Besides, you can say things others can't.

You're expendable. Or, you're a tail-end boomer challenging the establishment. Say something eminently sensible and watch the experts' heads explode.

You'll also provide entertainment value.

Don't be bringing the papparazi here!

Don't let them NEAR your house, Michele. Meet them at an outside site.
Don't let them NEAR your house, Michele.

Beware. They can always turn on you.

you can see the segment that shows your blog (as well as others) here:

http://www.cnn.com/video/

titled "Political Blogging"

It makes me wonder what impression someone might have of me if they've read an article where I'm quoted. Maybe they think, oh must be an Important Person Who Is An Expert In The Field. When in reality, I've got the phone in one hand and the Game Cube controller in the other and I'm in my pajamas.

That's what Lileks says, too.

What I think happens with most of the media-quoted bloggers is that most of them---most of them---are tightly concentrated on one area of expertise.

If you aren't, then your area of expertise becomes who you are--in your case, a pro-war mom, and an expert on blogging. To the outside media, that is.

To your regular readers, you're just the beautiful you that is you. And that's what keeps people coming back: the more real you are, the more honest you are, the more they trust you. That's something you can't get in most other media. You're raw and real.

I'm not blowing smoke up your ass either, because that, to me, is who all the best bloggers are. Ilyka, my wife, Andrea, Treacher, Frank J, Emma, Bryan, Zombyboy, Lileks, and several dozens others I surely should mention. Almost all of the best and most enduring, in my opinion, do NOT pick a single area of expertise, do NOT pick a single subject to focus mostly on. They're outspoken, they're sometimes obnoxious, they're sometimes silly, they're sometimes wrong, but they're always real and human.

This to me is also what I think makes enduring blogging. Even if you don't like the blogger, if she's real and honest, that makes all the difference.

Does it pay well? Heh. Well that's another subject....

"I've got the phone in one hand and the Game Cube controller in the other and I'm in my pajamas."

Isn't that what its all about? ;-)

Stay real - when the 'Media' comes asking questions - never change for them - once you do you're just a sell out and you readers will know.

Be yourself - always. Thats whey everyone comes here.

Of course you're an expert: you're an expert at being you. Plus you've got the politics mixed with interesting family and cultural thoughts genre completely tied up. Basically what Dean said.

Ride that 15 minutes as long as you can.

I think a blogger's 15 minutes is equivalent to Meredith Baxter Birney doing infomercials for facial cream.

You never know. YOU could get that facial cream endorsement. "Security Mom" facial cream could be the next big branding breakthrough!

We kid because we love ;-)

I'd really like to be Ron Popeil's sidekick.

Noooooo---! I am going to be his sidekick! So I can get him with that mutant syringe thing that is capable of injecting a rump roast with fifteen whole garlic cloves at once. Here, Ron, see how you like it--

Ahem. Never mind.

Congratulations...its good to see the media paying attention to something that merits it for a change. Just remember you are not talking to thousands of people...you are talking to the person interviewing you. The rest are just listening in.

Kidding aside. You know the political system is in deep trouble when the biggest story about the conventions is the people covering them.