Column #357 Talkin’ CRAP at SEWA!

Thursday, May 21, 2009
Column 357
Talkin’ CRAP at SEWA!

I write crap. I’m an expert at it. I drove my college creative writing professor to drink because I wrote and then published an essay arguing that administrators at Western Michigan University should be jailed for allowing behavioral psychology professors to let students torture and kill rats. I got hauled into the Dean’s office for “jeopardizing the university’s relationship” with the Upjohn Corporation, from where they got thousands of rats each semester – and also probably hundreds of thousands of dollars. Screw ‘em! I still stand by my case. It’s cruel and unnecessary to inflict pain upon and kill thousands of sentient beings to learn what is already known and can be found in a damn textbook.

But I digress. Digressing is just one strategy in the art of writing crap.

Yet I have learned that crap-writing has an advantage: If you can spot crap when you write it you sure as hell can identify crap when you read it.

Recently I read some of the best. The words caused my Unadulterated Bullshit Detection Antennae to launch off my head and slam the triple twenty on the teak-veneered wall here in my Bangkok hotel room.

Hundreds of people – perhaps even some of you – will have recently received an e-mail from me lobbying for votes for the Gingernut Pub in Cape Charles, Virginia. The pub was in a tight battle with the Gull Hummock Gourmet Market in a contest sponsored by a business called ShoreAid. The winner was to receive a basic marketing plan and a website valued at $2,500.

In the end, the Gingernut Pub (1,935 votes) and the market (2,188 votes) both lost even though together they tallied almost 90% of all the approximately 4,500 votes cast. A rigged judging panel saw fit to flip the finger at democracy and proclaim a hang gliding outfit with 473 votes the winner.

For my part, since the pub owners are darts enthusiasts, I took the contest seriously – and I am grateful to all the people who voted as a result. I posted a request for votes at darts web forums across the world. I sent e-mails to friends and even business contacts and scores of them (that I know of) passed on my request as well as posting the call for votes at their own websites and on numerous viral networks. The membership of Superstars of Darts in the UK, in particular, came through in flying colors – and probably not a single member there has ever stepped foot onto the moors of Cape Charles. I can conservatively track well over 1,500 votes to the effort.

The good news is that despite the loss, my webmaster, Kelly “Rags” Ragland – and I consider him one of the best – came forward with an offer to build the Gingernut’s website. Kudos to you Rags!

Then I read this post by Erik McVay, the self-proclaimed “Commandant” of the SEWA darts forum, who in reality commands little these days and participates even less (unless he’s hawking an energy drink or trying to unload a time-share condominium) at the rapidly declining website:

“Kelly’s Gingernut pub had darn near all of SEWA (that’s a LOT of people) voting for them…”

CRAP! CRAP! CRAP! My antennae have zipped off my head again just from re-reading McVay’s ridiculously exaggerated words.

(NOTE a little known fact: I contacted McVay just two days before the end of the contest suggesting he send an urgent e-mail to the entire SEWA “membership” asking for their votes in the run-up. Silence.)

In truth, possibly 100 votes can be traced back to SEWA – and that may be a liberal accounting. McVay claims the forum has several thousand participating members. And I once swam the English Channel!

More accurately, SEWA today has a few dozen active members.

McVay went on to offer to host a website for the Gingernut Pub (if someone were to create it) and the SEWA faithful were quick to commend him. “You’re the man,” posted one. “What a gesture!” wrote another. (Keep in mind that hosting a website will cost McVay virtually pennies. Compare this to the thousands Ragland commands for developing a website). Still, mini-kudos to McVay, I guess.

Next he suggested he might consider giving the new website free advertising on SEWA. I’m sorry but no kudus are in order for this. Except for the handful of regulars who still post – frequently with links to Superstars of Darts and the Professional Darts Corporation and more frequently with tidbits about whatever is going on in Boston – there is simply no longer an audience here.

A self-masturbation society benefits only itself and does nothing to promote our sport. Unless SEWA reinvents itself, and fast, the Gingernut Pub will be better off advertising on the inside of a paper sack.

From the Field,

Dartoid

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Dartoid
Author of the column that since 1995 has been featured by Bull’s Eye News, the American Darts Organization’s (ADO) Double Eagle and numerous other darts publications and websites around the globe.
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