Saturday, January 7, 2012

Don't Blog Too Fast

The recent  focus on activism through occupying Wall Street, while important,  has obscured the previous  focus on activism through blogging.
 In fact, I had forgotten the promise of brave new blogging until I found my old post of 2009.

Darn. Drat. Fooey. Only after I wrote this blog, as a draft, (without pressing "publish") did I start to slog through lots of search engine stuff. Result? I was probably wrong to write this. But I am too self indulgent to waste my writing time, so I am turning this into a lesson: Don't blog too fast. Here was the original:

A good goal of bloggers, according to the newspapers, is to be an alternative news source. Bloggers are good for getting the word out and then, I guess, the mainstream media gets involved.

So today, for once, instead of an essay, I could blog two aspects of something that seems to be missed by others. I'm thinking of the bailout negotiated for the North American auto makers.

First Aspect:

With people wondering whether the car makers are capable of properly using the bailout, capable of internal reform, it never fails to amaze me that no one refers to the work by the Pulitzer Prize winner David Halberstam.

Called The Reckoning, in 1986, it explored the U.S. corporate automotive culture, comparing and contrasting it to the auto corporations of Japan. The U.S. companies were shown as arrogantly slow to change: for example, the Europeans had commonplace front wheel drive ten years before the U.S. did. Halberstam's book could have been titled The Wake up Call.

Second Aspect:

I found a passage in a book by business guru Peter Drucker, currently for sale. In Management Challenges for the 21st Century, from 1999, on page 76 it reads, "But, as almost everyone outside GM immediately realized, the Saturn did not compete with the Japanese makers. All its sales came at the expense of declining—if not dying—GM brands such as Oldsmobile and Buick.

It was denied money for expansion—that money went instead into futile attempts to "modernize" Oldsmobile and Buick plants. It was denied money to develop new models—again that money went in to Oldsmobile and Buick redesigns. And the UAW began to whittle away at the Saturn's new and successful labor relations for fear that Saturn's example in building management-labour partnerships might spread to GM's other plants."

Neither Oldsmobile nor Buick has benefited. Both are still going downhill. But the Saturn has been all but destroyed. And both GM and the UAW have continued their decline."

Drucker writes, "... one possible solution might have been to do simultaneously two things: (1) kill the dying Oldmobile and (2) run with Saturn's success as hard as possible, give it all the money and people it needed but set it up as a separate company free to compete aggressively with all of GM's old products and for all GM' s old customers."

Adding it up:

I "don't get it" that the bailout plan has included the Saturn being canceled. I don't know enough to make judgments, but I thought I'd do my first ever blogger thing, and put this out there for wiser heads out east to follow up on as they may deem fit.
-original ends-

Search engine results:

Oldsmobile was revamped and then, after all that money, canceled a few years ago. Saturn was also revamped but was selling poorly. I have read comments posted where some people said they foresaw the canceling of Saturn. All the commenters, knowledgeable about cancellations and line-up revamping and things, perceived GM management as being "a bunch of morons." It looks like Buick is still being manufactured as "one of four (surviving) GM nameplates."
So maybe I need not be so suspicious that Saturn is being canceled.

A Grim, sordid lesson:

As I recall, during the confusion of the start of the war on terror, a blog went all around the globe when a college student blogger said his teacher had previously seen and had a copy of the "fresh footage" being shown of Arabs on the day of 9/11 dancing with joy in the streets.—Ooh, conspiracy against Muslims!—Later the teacher denied this to the blogger... and so then the blogger recanted. But by then his story was whirring around the world... (see

I think every blogger should try to have the same integrity as a newspaper reporter. Don't guess. Either correctly attribute (in this case, quote the teacher, with permission, by first and last name) OR check the facts yourself first hand. As an old army captain told the narrator in David Gerrold's The War Against the Chtorr, (quoted from memory) "Be sure! The test is, 'Can I rip of your right arm if you're wrong?'"

I may not be serving with that captain but nevertheless for me, as a citizen in a democracy, it is simple common sense to treat information as any gentleman would.

Sean Crawford
Originally published with cumulatively zero hits,
in July of 2009

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