Friday, December 05, 2008

The Barmaid and the Minister

Hmm. These are different times. A barmaid and the Belgian Minister for Defense, Pieter De Crem, are caught up in a scandal, but it's not what you might think. No, the scandal is that the barmaid was fired for blogging about the Minister's boisterous behavior in the New York restaurant where she worked.

Look, the restaurant owner is perfectly within his rights to fire this woman. And, if I owned a restaurant or bar I'd like to think that my customers would at least be safe from the employees blabbling about what went on. Other patrons? Well, that can't be helped.

At the same time, I can't read Flemish, but her post seems innocent enough. Considering the Minister was in New York he should be happy enough that the Cindy Adams wasn't in the same place or it would have been a much bigger deal for him. So, although I can understand (maybe) why the restaurant owner fired this woman, Mr. de Crem (the crumb?) has gotta get real.
Mr de Crem went on threaten legal action against bloggers and warned Belgian MPs "every one of you is a potential victim".

"I want to take this opportunity and use this non-event to signal a dangerous phenomenon in our society," said during a debate last Friday.

"We live in a time where everybody is free to publish whatever he or she wants on blogs at will without taking any responsibility. This exceeds mud-slinging. I find that it's nearly impossible to defend yourself against this."
Come on! How precious is he? He's a government minister for God's sake and he's moaning because he was caught having too much fun (a problem for the Flemish?). What he did was hardly a big issue, but he turned it into a big issue. Why he couldn't have just said that he might have let his hair down a little too much while in New York is beyond me. He's an uptight so and so who doesn't like the fact he was spotted behaving this way.

And blogging has nothing to do with it, really. In the past the barmaid might have passed this tidbit onto a gossip columnist, but nowadays everyone does their own reporting.