Tuesday, April 9, 2013

An Obituary for the Bog

Jack Bog's Blog is something of a Portland institution.  Jack Bogdanski was an early adopter of the blog format and over time, by taking a skeptical view of government, his blog quickly became an unofficial conduit of inside information, shady deals and general malfeasance.  To that end it was a valuable resource and an almost daily stop of mine.

Last Friday, Jack put his blog into indefinite hiatus as he embarks on a book writing gig. But as much as I will miss my daily visit to the blog, I do not lament its suspension/end.  His entires have become increasingly abusive and vitriolic over the years and his penchant for ad-hominum attacks makes you wonder about his mental well-being.  He seems very much like the virtual version of the world's worst neighbor: taking umbrage at every perceived offense with little or no reason and reacting viloently.  His wild accusations are generally without any real analysis and his forays into economics and economic development often showed an alarming lack of basic understanding.  It is one thing to raise questions, it is quite another to make endless accusations. And yet it cannot be denied that this was part of the draw of his blog - you always wanted to see what ridiculous thing he'd say next.

The biggest shame of it all (and why I am bothering with this post) is that in the age of the dying newspaper and journalism in general, it is quite likely that blogs like Jack's will become indispensable.  An informed electorate needs transparency and bureaucracies are not naturally transparent. And yet, in my mind he squandered that role long ago by becoming a crank and indiscriminately slinging mud and insults.  In the end then his blog was mostly unhelpful and occasionally harmful.  He did nothing to raise the level of public debate and did everything in his power to debase it.

And the biggest irony of all is it turns out he is as thin-skinned as it comes.  Perhaps this is entirely unsurprising after all - there is a name for such behavior:
Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they're superior to others and have little regard for other people's feelings. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism.
[Update: I was chastised in the comments for engaging in the same ad homonym attacks that I complained about earlier.  This is a fair point.  I was trying to be clear that I am commenting only on his blog persona and think that the above description fits that to a T (perhaps quite intentionally - who knows?).  How much this related to Jack himself is unknown to me and I suspect that he is quite different in person, for on a blog you can be whomever you want to be - you can even use the royal 'we' (snark).  I am sorry if this was not clear and I probably went to far, but I shan't scrub the record of my error, I think it better to recognize and apologize]

So goodbye Jack Bog, you will be missed but that is probably for the better. I hope that should you decide to return you'll take the high road - and if you do I shall celebrate your return.

Now to a more important problem: where the heck am I going to steal get blog post ideas??


EngineerScotty said...

While I've had my run-ins with bojack (and am one of the many proud Portland liberals who has been banned from his blog), a remote diagnosis of NPD, or any other mental condition, seems highly inappropriate.

I won't offer any competing theories of Bojack--other than to observe that he (like many folks of his generation, including many liberals) has profound issues with contemporary urbanism; to such great extent that he views its proponents (including myself) as either dupes or crooks. Fair enough.

But accusing him of having a mental disorder strikes me as obnoxious in the extreme.

Patrick Emerson said...


That is a fair (and a good) point - I can't in one breadth complain about ad homonym attacks and then engage in them myself. But is was actually not my intent - I was trying to say that the tone of his blog and blog persona was consistent with the definition of NPD. I do think this is a fair description of his blog persona. As for him personally, I have no idea - never met him.

I will edit the post to make this clear.

I will say that your point about contemporary urbanism is interesting but does not explain all the name calling and mud slinging.

Patrick Emerson said...

And I should say that part of the allure of blogs is that you can adopt whatever persona you want. You can become a hotheaded crank while in real life you are completely different.

My point is that by WRITING the blog in the manner of someone with NPD it seriously lessens the effect. Which is a shame because there is a lot very valuable service contained within his pages but it becomes too easy to cringe and dismiss his writings as the rantings of a crank.

I do hope very much that he returns but also hope that he can turn down the crank.

Patrick Emerson said...

For instance in my blog I am an urbane, intelligent, self-effacing and witty raconteur while in real life I am dumb, neurotic and obsessed with reality television.

So you never know...