FAQ: Are bloggers virtuous?

Some bloggers use the experience of the everday to take us into ideas that go beyond it. In doing so, they tell us what they think is important. Their stories are easily missed and eventually lost because more often than not, blogs disappear.

When DCBlogs began in 2005 there were islands of blogging in DC, disconnected from each other; the idea was to connect these bloggers, or at least make them aware of a larger, more expansive local community, and then let them determine what they wanted of it or not.

As part of this effort, a goal of the DCBlogs contributing editors is to draw attention to the stories that take us outside ourselves.

It’s one of the reasons why we think this work, the simple daily DC Blogs Noted column, is important and worth our time. At its core, this effort has always been about the search for these stories.

But are bloggers virtuous? What can be said is that some of their writings, either about things they have witness or are living through, carry themes that are anywhere from subtly virtuous to completely heroic.

This theme and its underlying question is part two of what has been ostensibly called an FAQ about blogging in DC. These few posts cited below do not represent a ‘best of,’ but are an effort to illustrate what will be a continuing series of the themes and observations about blogging in DC. (Part one of the FAQ)

El Guapo in DC, whose blog proclaimed, I am El Guapo. The most Guapo man in all of DC. Mucho Amor, was knocked over by someone who stole a chain off his neck. He gave chase and caught the thief.

He was up against wall on the sidewalk leading to someone’s home. I leaned down, smiled, and said, “Hola amigo.”

“Fuck you!”

Yes. Fuck me. It has been a long time since I have been in any kind of physical altercation and I thought about ending my streak with this new friend of mine, but I changed my mind. His body showed the deterioration from which I have grown too accustomed in my neighborhood. I saw the beginning of tracks on his arms. My friend had allowed a greater being to take control of his life. I could not hurt him. He was already hurting.

That necklace was given to me by my aunt. I’d like it back please. It means much to me.

I looked at him in the eye as only another man can and he handed it to me trembling. The look of guilt was in his eyes for he had done this act in desperation. Without thinking, I reached into my pocket and gave him a $20. Feb., 2006, El Guapo in DC

One of the most important things bloggers do is give witness, as the writer of Stef’s Journal did.

Alicia, Jon and I watched in horror as the men decided to try and get the injured man out off the tracks. We could hear the train arriving just as they got him up onto the platform, and they had just laid him down on the ground when the train pulled up. It was the closest call I have ever seen in my life…in fact, it seemed like a scene from the movies! So yes, I almost witnessed a man’s demise. Once we boarded the train, a few people talked about it…nobody had ever heard of anyone falling off the platform before. One man saw him fall, but didn’t know how it happened. He either lost his footing or tripped over himself, but wasn’t pushed.

It was scary.

What’s even scarier is that earlier that morning I had asked my roommates, “I wonder if people ever fall onto the tracks?”

DC is wonderful.

— Jan. 2006, Steph’s Journal.

Similarly, SciWonk wrote of a life saving action.

Suddenly, from the adjacent table, Dr. Margaret Ellis Bourdeaux, who was in attendance, stood and rushed over, like a breeze. Her curly, bright red hair, fair skin, and teal full-length gown were striking, but not as striking as her calm and direct actions.

Dr. Bourdeaux, dress be damned, knelt down beside Dr. Dresselhaus, very close to his face.

“Gene. Gene! Gene, can you hear me? GENE, CAN YOU HEAR ME?” She calmly spoke to Dr. Dresselhaus. She leaned close to his face to ascertain whether he was breathing, her frizzy red hair covering his face. He was not breathing. — May, 2009, SciWonk

Sometimes being lost in thought leads to encounters of a different kind, reported Brunch Bird.

Without yelling or even saying a word, one of the men heading toward me realized what was happening and put his arm across my body to restrain me from stepping further into truck’s path. I was speechless and couldn’t think fast enough to thank him. He headed into the National Association of Home Builders, where I can only assume he works behind an office door marked “Superman.” — Nov., 2006. Brunch Bird.

Many bloggers insist on minimum standards of conduct. Anonymiss in DC offers a good example of this.

Last week, I got on a crowded red line train to Glenmont, and there were 2 men on each of the 2 front benches at the rear-end of the car. A woman carrying a baby in her arms got on the train, and not ONE of the four looked up.

Instead, a woman in the second row of seats got up and offered the woman her seat (it was gratefully accepted.). She then said to another standing woman, loudly enough for the guys to hear: “Notice not one of those men offered?”…to which the other replied “Chivalry is really dead.” The conversation went back and forth for a minute or so, with several other women in the area chiming in with comments like “I guess we shouldn’t be surprised…”

Do you know, throughout the whole thing, not one of those guys flinched? — May, 2009 Anonymiss in DC

A gentleman never expects to be thanked and sometimes being thanked is the worse of it. Botox Pokerface wrote:

As I waited patiently for the folks to step off the bus before I boarded (common bus courtesy), the last lady to exit felt compelled to thank me in her own special way for my patience:

Thank you for being a gentleman. Although we are in the gay community, I keep it real.

Uh. Lady. You must have some damn good gay-dar. Was it my scarf? — Botox Pokerface, Jan. 2008.

The heroic bloggers will remind us, time and again, what is really important about life. Toddler Planet is the work of a blogger of exceptional capability who shares the story of her fight against cancer.

On Monday morning, my husband and I went to Sloan-Kettering for a second opinion on our treatment. We’ve been worrying over it for weeks. We were gone all day and into the night. I’ll tell you more about it in my next post, but I will tell you this. When I left for radiation Tuesday morning (#19 of 35), two young bunnies emerged from a hole in our small pile of wood chips (where our giant maple used to be) in the front yard. They hopped a few feet, looked at me, and sat down, as if to tell me that they were moving in. And for reasons I can’t quite explain, I not only heard the message, I felt reassured. I went to radiation surrounded by a sense of calm acceptance, and I daydreamed through the treatment. — June 2010, Toddler Planet.