Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Updates from the Rogue Blogger

Exciting news! While helping out at the farmer's market over the weekend, I heard from two separate sources that Chris Busby, editor of The Bollard, Portland's electronic news source, has been disparaging yours truly as "a rogue blogger." Yarr!

Busby's apparently upset about this article from last week's Forecaster, which broke the news of a newly-formed group that is organizing to oppose the Portland Public Library's move to a smaller and more expensive building away from Monument Square.

This very loose organization evolved from informal discussions between Jed Rathband, a local political consultant, and me. Basically, we griped about what seemed to be an impulsive decision that affects a very important public space, and we decided to do something about it. Hence, the PEEPs: Portlanders for Economic and Educational Priorities (Jed came up with the name a few minutes before the Forecaster's press deadline).

Now, even though we didn't really have a name, we did have several supportive individuals encouraging us from the get-go. Like us, they don't have a lot of time or resources to dedicate to the cause, but they do agree it's worth more discussion. We the PEEPs exist to vocalize these opposing views, which, we're finding, are more widespread than the conventional wisdom would have it.

But Chris Busby is definitely not down with the PEEPs. After hearing about our group's humble origins from Jed over a beer at the local watering hole for 30-somethings, the erstwhile amiable Busby reportedly went home and wrote an nasty letter to the editor of the Forecaster. He called for the original article's retraction, criticized reporter Kate Bucklin for writing it, and dismissed the PEEPs as the work of only two people: Jed and "a rogue blogger." Who is me.

Mr. Busby's criticism misses the mark, though. We'd heard from others who oppose the library's move before we had the idea for PEEPs, and following the publication last Friday of this op-ed column of the subject (take a moment to admire the solidity of its arguments and the well-formed prose), we've been hearing from more and more people who agree that the Library shouldn't spend a million dollars to move into a smaller space.

Chris Busby has been working hard to establish The Bollard as a legitimate alternative to other local news sources. This is someone who usually champions free speech and alternative media - so why doesn't he use his own forum to discuss the issue, instead of trying to meddle with the editorial decisions of another newspaper? It strikes me as being a little bit petty, and my esteem for The Bollard's been bruised a bit.

Besides, Busby doesn't know me well enough to realize that he's only encouraging me by labeling me a "rogue blogger." He might as well have called me Captain Awesome. So, lock up the women and children and stay tuned to this blog for more about the PEEPs, why the library should stay where it is, and other rascally roguery.


Brown said...

Captain Awesome:

Had a small problem with your link to the op-ed piece.

A bit confused by Busby's vehemence. Do you think it's possible he was just taking Bucklin to task for naming as a 'group' basically two smart cats with some encouraging friends? I mean, "group" seems to have come after the story.

Maybe it's just a question of semantics. But if Busby's zeal to pull the rug out on the conventional press caused him to come down on PEEPs, that could simply be harmless collateral impact. I don't know his stance on the issue, but knowing some of his reporting I imagine he'd be at least sympathetic.

You should ring him up.

C Neal said...

Hi Jim,
I think you're right on the mark - it's a question of semantics, amplified because it's an opportunity to snipe at the carbon-based press (and, I think, by Chris's desire to see the library move into the old market building).

In the meantime, our little organization will gladly take the free publicity he's giving us. Have you seen this yet?
Gossip: PEEP Hole

C Neal said...

Also, I fixed the coding typo in the Press Herald link. Here it is again: http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/story.php?id=107942&ac=PHedi

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Patrick Ian Banks said...

Wait, this is last Thursday we're talking about, right? Cuz daaaaamn, I was there too for a tad. While we're on the subject of coinkydinks, I might as well mention that I was hanging out at a certain coffee shop before I made my way to the bar in question. While I was at that coffee shop, I couldn't help but overhear the staff talking about one "C Neal" and his recent misadventure on Tukey's bridge. What a small, tangled incestuous town indeed. I don't really have anything to do with either State Pier proposal, though. Instead, I'm an occasional wordsmith for The Bollard.

Anonymous said...

This guy Busby sounds like a real tool ...

John Anton said...

Neither Busby nor the Rogue Blogger is an asshole. In my opinion, Busby got a little carried away in ferreting out the non-group. In reality, there are loads of non-groups in town masquerading as real groups that then get undue press coverage. The Western Prom Neighborhood Association springs to mind as an example ... Perhaps The Forecaster and PEEPS are guilty as charged, but the whole episode did not warrant the coverage Busby gave it.

We desperately need the investigative journalism that the Bollard provides - I'll give Busby a break on this one as long as he can keep churning out the good stuff.

Chris and Christian should go out together, pound a couple of beers and wrestle naked in the snow. That's how grown men work out their differences - isn't it?

Patrick Ian Banks said...

Naked wrestling, eh? Now there's an entertaining method of conflict resolution. John, is this something you apply in your own everyday situations? Does this mean we Portlanders will be treated to an unforgettable (probably in a bad way if Clute runs again) election campaign this fall?