Friday, October 17, 2008

In the Wake of Saqib-Mania (Updated)

It is a great shame that we ran our MoCo Most Influential survey prior to the revelations about Delegate Saqib Ali’s Facebook page. Had Saqib-Mania erupted prior to the survey, the Delegate would have assumed his proper (although temporary) place on the top ten list. But all in all, the Delegate enjoyed a unique week of fame.

Whatever you may think of his status updates, Delegate Ali is a politically nimble fellow. A lesser man would have ranted about a “violation of privacy” or a “negative attack.” But the Delegate laughed off the post and promptly sent his legions of Facebook Friends to view it (click on below).

Next came an article by ace Gazette reporter Janel Davis, who must have chuckled while she wrote it. Ms. Davis said:

Instead of the boring drivel that usually accompanies anything associated with a politician, Ali's page includes all sorts of funny tidbits and riffs on popular culture. For example: “Saqib loves Fridays like a fat kid loves cake.” And, “Saqib feels strange confusing emotions when Sarah Palin winks at him.”
“Boring drivel” indeed! What a deliciously cynical comment by Ms. Davis! For his part, Delegate Ali responded:

More than just my constituents look at it. It's goofy and people recognize it as a joke... I think I started a trend among legislators. I've noticed others have started adding creative things on their Facebook pages... I'll consider that my legacy.
And now egged on by Ms. Davis, Delegate Ali is celebrating his newfound celebrity with a few more tidbits (click on below):

But a few of our readers are not amused, especially women. Minutes after I put up “Beware of Facebook,” one woman wrote me, “The Saqib post is good, but I don’t understand why you don’t call his comments OFFENSIVE. Particularly, to women.” Another woman hissed into my cell phone, “What is he saying about needy women?! Come election time, HE is going to be needy for US!” Still another woman wrote, “I think he is so arrogant he doesn't see the folly of his ridiculous FB [Facebook] rantings. I think there could be trouble down the road.” (If the Delegate knew who these women were, he would be shaking in his little red boots.) One male politician who was completely oblivious to any objections by women said, “Hey, he polled well, right?”

And so it appears that this blog struck an accidental Faustian bargain with Delegate Ali's Facebook page. His Facebook Friends descended on MPW like adoring locusts, driving our visit counts into the stratosphere. Beware of Facebook generated more visits in one day than any other post here with the exception of Crisis at the Gazette Part Two. In return, we have made the Delegate’s Wall an icon of local political culture. The Maryland political establishment is now divided into two groups: those who have the privilege of accessing Delegate Ali's wit and wisdom, and those who huddle in ignorance on the outside.

So, MoCo politicians – who among you will be following in Saqib Ali’s footsteps?

Update: Due to Delegate Ali's generosity, it looks like this will be another big-time visit day for the blog! Click on the picture below.