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This week’s TimeOut Chicago issue is devoted to blogs and bloggers, all different kinds, types, shades, and temperaments of them, with a terrific blogger’s forum moderated by From the Ledge friend and TimeOut Chicago theatre critic Kris Vire.  Also, check out my blog mentor Tom’s quote on the article about CTATattler.com’s Kevin O’Neil.  But I think the very big news this week among the Chicago theater blogging community is the spirited, no-holds-barred commentary, sometimes resembling a virtual Extreme Sports bloody match, on Chris Jones’s blog about Lookingglass Theatre co-founder David Schwimmer’s alleged plans to star as the Stage Manager in a production of Our Town for Lookingglass’s next season, to be co-directed by August: Osage County director Anna Shapiro.  The blog discussion became so heated, and at times so viciously personal, dragging in innocent bystanders like the Shattered Globe Theatre, that David Schwimmer himself personally weighed in, with what I believe, was a classy, objective, very articulate response.  I, for one, will be in line to buy tickets for this Our Town production because of him (I saw him close to 10 years ago, during the height of his Ross popularity, in a Lookingglass production of Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot, and I thought he did very well in a difficult classic text. It’s obviously a play the uninformed Schwimmer-bashers on the blog skipped).  Read it all here. I think this whole blog discussion on David Schwimmer demonstrated the best and worst of the blogging and online community.  On blogs and online forums, people can express their opinions freely and passionately and have a forum to engage in discourse, however argumentative, with others. That’s a beautiful thing (as one of my clients used to say), but some other people, as some of the Chris Jones’s commenters did, express these opinions in irresponsible, unconstructive, destructive, and cruelly obnoxious ways, and worse, hide behind pseudonyms and anonymous tags like “Max”, theater lover, and withheld.  That is sometimes my great struggle with blogging and the online world – people feel they can say or write anything they want, and just walk away, cloaked in the anonymity of the virtual world, without being held to consequences and impacts that they would normally be held to in the real world.

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