Friday, February 01, 2008

Thoughts About Getting “Pissed Off”

One of the things in the news business you learn quickly is no matter what you write or say, somebody is going to get annoyed. Twenty years at a newspaper taught me that.

Coverage of a labor dispute long ago comes to mind. The local teachers went on strike, which of course was news, front page news. The teachers had squared off against the school board. The parents picked sides and each side was convinced the news coverage favored the other side. No one on either side could be convinced otherwise.

That is just a bit of ancient history.

This is today. Gray Iron Fitness is an information and opinion web site. The opinions are mine. I try to make them down-to-earth and realistic. The goal is simple: convince people to take good care of themselves, and offer information about good ways to do it. Pretty innocuous, you would think. But remember the first paragraph: No matter what you write or say, someone will take umbrage.

Example: Several months ago, I demonstrated in a video an exercise called the “Arnold Press.” Could anything be more noncontroversial? Yet a man wrote to cancel his subscription. The thrust of his complaint had to do with my mention of Arnold (Schwarzenegger). Arnold used steroids, he said. Steroids are bad. (I agree.) The man had been a long-time subscriber, had written to me before, and seemed like a nice fellow. Who knows why just mentioning Arnold’s name set him off? There is a certain irony to it, though; because I am about the most anti-steroids guy anyone will come across.

Why am I bringing this up? It is the election season and emotions can run high. Some people convince themselves their candidate isn’t getting a fair shake. The other guy or gal is a boob, a jerk, or a scoundrel. Sometimes they are right on all counts. Sometimes not. And sometimes they just have irrational hot buttons that get pushed. Then all reason goes out the window and the blood boils. An election season is one more good reason to get plenty of fresh air and exercise.

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