Good Lord, I don't want to write yet another story about yet another incident of shouting at yet another candidate. But after the "mic check" of Michele Bachmann at the Hamburg Inn, and fueled by another on-line argument today, something struck me about the rhetoric of the "mic check."
The term puzzled me for a while. Its origins and meaning, like so much about Occupy and other related and non-related left rhetoric this fall, is a bit vague, but here's how I understand the basic idea. It's in some way linked the the ban on PA systems in the New York park where Occupy originated. "Mic Check" was shouted in part as a call to attention, and the meaning evolved into the unamplified voices being "the people's microphone" against the corporate mass media.
The term has now evolved to where a "mic check" is a shoutdown of a speaker, usually with a cliched chant involving Hey Hey Ho Ho. And indeed, "mic check" was shouted before the chants against Bachmann.
Well, I've got a people's microphone, too. You're looking at it.
I didn't need a corporate media platform to have a voice. It took me nine years to earn it, to amplify it to the volume it has now. It's the 21st century and the tools are free or cheap. I logged onto Blogger on the last day of 2002 and just started writing. The price tag is zero. I have the money for a computer and a connection, sure, but I could have done the same for nothing at the public library.
After a while I learned that when I took my little hobby seriously and created some good original content, my voice was amplified. I attracted readers. Eventually the whole thing grew into a decent paying side job for a while. And even though that's gone, the audience remains.
I came to this state as a lefty grad student with no connections to anyone or anything, much like some of the protesters plaguing the candidates. Sure, I mainstreamed myself a bit, though I still find myself wondering as I'm criticized: "in what possible universe is John Deeth an establishment figure?!?"
I had something to offer, though: a decent mind, some original thoughts, a little bit of a way with words. Combine that with some obsessive-compulsions (Must. Write. Every. Day!), and I got a good thing going.
So you, the mic checkers, are trying to tell me that with all the tools at your fingertips in the post-Gutenberg era, all the social media and free tools, you have NO way to find a voice other than shouting?