There are rumbles in some parts of the blogosphere: Where's the outrage? Where's the coverage?
The coverage is there. I know because I spent 14 hours covering the story yesterday for Command Post and part of that coverage was reading and linking bloggers. That is by no means a full list; it's probably about 1/8 of the bloggers who were doing live coverage, updates or just talking about the attacks in general. In fact, check those links and you'll see hundreds of links within.
As for the outrage - I suppose some people want to see the 9/11 outrage again. They want to see that kind of massive reaction from bloggers. They want to see the anger and fear and hatred, in addition to the tears and sorrow.
The thing is, the blogosphere was a lot smaller on 9/11. If it seemed like every single blogger was writing about it, that's probably because it was damn close to that. There are literally millions more blogs now; you can't expect everyone to write about the same story, even if that story is horrific and has world implications.
That's just part of it. How many times can someone express their outrage in the same manner? 9/11, Bali, Madrid, Beslan. It's been said and said again. That's part of the problem with the political/news side of the blogosphere and part of the reason I don't do that type of blogging anymore. How many times can you say the same thing? How many times are you required to say the same thing? Why must one copy and paste the sadness and outrage in their heart onto their blog? Is our outrage not good enough because it's not laid out in bits and bytes for everyone to see? If you can't see it, does that mean it's not there?
There are several kinds of outrage. The people with the worst kind - misplaced - seem to have no problem expressing their feelings the instant something like this happens. You have the "Blame America" side which instantaneously dropped frothing blog posts hinting at conspiracies and riddled with blame. And you have the "Bombs away" side that reflexively called for heads to be chopped, countries to be wiped away, a religion to be demolished, before anyone even took blame for the bombings.
Maybe that's a good enough reason for the people in between to express their feelings, just so the extremes on either side don't have all the say. But I don't think it's necessary. I think the people of Britain know we sympathize, even empathize with them. Perhaps we sent condolences to the British Embassy. Maybe we contacted some friends in London to make sure they were ok and sent our good thoughts and sympathy to them. Maybe we went to church and lit a candle for the victims or we donated blood to the Red Cross or we asked "what can we do to help?" Just because we didn't open a browser and say what we did doesn't mean we did nothing.
Of course I'm outraged. Of course I'm angry and distressed and sad and just a bit fearful. But what am I going to say? What is anyone going to say that won't be a carbon copy of what we wrote after 9/11, after Bali, after Beslan, after Madrid? It seems useless to repeat the words again and again when they are already out there. Is it going to make a difference to some commuter from London who emerged from the Undeground bloody and battered that I, some insignificant woman in New York, is outraged at what happened to them? They will still be injured, their fellow riders still dead, their country still reeling, their sense of safety still shaken.
So why spend an hour virtually shaking my fist at terrorists and clenching my teeth and pounding my anger out on the keyboard? Let me ask you, who isn't outraged? Who doesn't feel anger mixed with sadness right now? Why do you care that a million bloggers aren't calling for a fatwa against all Muslims when you just threw the Union Jack up on your blog and didn't express your outrage at all?
This is the blogosphere, people. It's a stupid name for a group of people who put their thoughts and opinions on the internet for other people to read. They are not required to put every thought and opinion down. They do not have a quota of outrage they must commit to when they open their blog. They do not have to answer to you as to why they didn't express their feelings about terrorism on their blog. We empathize, sympathize and have compassion without having to let you know about it.
Just because I didn't have the Union Jack flying here yesterday doesn't mean I'm desensitized. Just because a blogger didn't post a picture of the attacks with a caption like "we are with you England" underneath doesn't mean they are desensitized. How does one ever get desensitized to terrorism or murder or death? If you're human, you don't. But, apparently, if you're a blogger who doesn't name your outrage and sadness every time it rises up in your throat, you must be callous and unfeeling and yawning in the face of London.
A blog is not a person's whole being. The blogosphere is just a small, microcosmic part of your world. There's a whole lot happening in people's lives that you aren't privy to and that we aren't required to show you. To judge a person's reaction to a world event by what is or isn't on their blog says a lot more about you than the people you are trying to shame.
[Update: Please note that the complaints were not addressed at me personally, but to bloggers in general, and the complaints were issued at more than one blog, in several comment sections and in a couple of forums and no, I am not going to link to them. They know who they are and if they see this, great, if not, oh well. I'm not going to lose sleep over their blog pissiness]