Yesterday was an amazing day that held one surprise, at least, and boy did it sneak up on me.
All I was trying to do was to be nice.
Rising Tide is not strictly a bloggers' conference; it is purposely tagged as "a conference on the future of New Orleans" because many of us are not hard-core computer geeks. Hell, I wouldn't know how to put together my own blog from scratch if I tried - bless Blogger, WordPress, Blog-City, TypePad, and all the other places that let us in on their server space for nothing. Computers have simply been a useful tool for our self-expression, our opinions, the sharing of information amongst ourselves and with anyone else who comes across us, and, ultimately, a means by which we have all found each other and expanded from the online world into the offline world of formal and informal gatherings. I have found some dear, dear friends among the blogpocheh, people I would do my best to help and to defend 'til the end of time.
That core group is expanding and becoming better known with each of these conferences we put together. It was certainly a joy to have Harry Shearer there, but it's an even greater joy to see all my friends, some of whom can only come for this event, and some of whom I've known only through their blogs and can finally put faces to their names at the meet & greet registration table - CenLamar and his buddy D.S. being a case in point. Can't tell you what a kick it was to meet them and schmooze with them for a while.
We've had some real doozies come in on occasion to the reg. table whether they preregister online or not. The ones that came in yesterday, though, were the first ones to really scare me a little.
She walked in with a few big guys. She had blond hair, glasses, and a print dress on, and I was writing out her name on a name tag as she paid the door fee. Just to be conversational, I said, "Daya Naef... your name sounds familiar...where have I heard it before?"
Most people take it to be an invitation to explain which blog they write, if he/she is a blogger. Or he/she might explain he/she is a commenter, lurking reader, fan of the keynote speaker, a friend of a panelist, an aide to a local politician, curious about this whole Rising Tide thing, etc. etc.
Blond Hair and Glasses said, "Oh, I'm the Daya Naef that American Zombie keeps writing all that crap about in his blog."
Well, dunk me in icy cold water, for goodness' sakes. I wrote out a name tag for Bob Ellis, who was right behind her in a Jedi baseball shirt, and kept my mouth shut, else I would have said something I would have regretted concerning how damn rude that talk of hers was.
The Ashley Award went to Dambala, but Jacques Morial was in the Zombie's stead, reading his/her words, and I found myself close to tears.
Whoever the Zombie is, he/she can't reveal it...not now. And it speaks volumes about the corruption Dambala has exposed through his humble online presence and how pervasive and fearful perpetrators of that corruption are when it comes to the voice he/she has given to people who are in the know about crooked doings in this town.
I don't know if these people found Dambala or not (if the Zombie had "the stealth Morial" reading his/her words of acceptance, I would say not). They were only there for Harry Shearer's talk and then they left, as far as I could tell. I guess the neon sign they were looking for that was going to magically appear above the Zombie's head never materialized.
And as long as these folks are never brought to justice, the Zombie will have to remain in the shadows, a conduit for those in the know who also cannot reveal their identities, but who know "too much".
It's proving to be too dangerous for these whistleblowing folks to act in any other way.