Tuesday, October 10, 2006

How We Came To Be

Might as well get this out of the way from the beginning.

This blog was started partially because of a grudge.

You see, the local Fitchburg paper is the Sentinel & Enterprise. Aside from having marvelously hackable Javascript polls, there's not a lot good you can say about the paper. Your complaints can range from typos to fluff reporting to blatantly biased articles, it's all there. Most people in the area who want printed news worth reading turn either to The Boston Globe or the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

But like it or not, the Sentinel & Enterprise is our local paper, and as such is meant to reflect our local community.

Here comes the grudge part.

The Sentinel has its aforementioned marvelously hackable polls, and these come with a link to their Twin Cities Blog where you can "sound off". All well and good, right?

Not really.

I've submitted numerous comments to the Twin Cities Blog. Being a moderated blog, they obviously must pass through some human being before being posted for the world to see.

Lately I've noticed that none of my posts have been getting through. Let me make it clear first that none of these were abusive postings. They did represent a strong liberal/progressive viewpoint (and in my opinion made a good argument), but were in no way offensive. At the same time, posts representing among the most ignorant conservative viewpoints made their way through with no difficulty. For example, a post I made arguing against making English the national language was rejected while the following posts made it:

Multiculturalism does not work. It will destroy this country. The Left knows this and this is why they support it.

-by "Padre Pio"

or this enlightening shout:
WHEN PEOPLE ARRIVED IN AMERICA MANY YEARS AGO THEY HAD TO LEARN HOW TO SPEAK ENGLISH. THEY NOW LIVE IN AMERICA AND WE SPEAK ENGLISH. IF THEY WANT TO SPEAK THEIR OWN LANGUAGE GO BACK TO WHERE THEY CAME FROM.YES ENGISH SHOULD BE THE MAIN LANGUAGE.

-by "ann"

Don't you feel smarter just reading that?

This alone probably wouldn't have pushed me to create a blog. But apparently I'm not alone. A Google search (while trying to find an ombudsman for the paper) revealed the blog Unbecoming Levity and this post detailing the exact same problem. Apparently it's systemic. Viola! A blog is born!

Now let's discuss what's probably the most prominent Fitchburg blog.

While Save Fitchburg seems to overall be very well meaning, the comments section is a total embarrassment to any sentient being. While I don't agree with everything he says, the primary (only?) blogger Jason is a pretty reasonable guy. However, the comments attract not just city councilors and washed-up local politicians, but any number of local crackpots eager to disseminate hate-fueled rhetoric. I'm not sure which are worse.

I won't say I have a grudge against "Save Fitchburg", but it does have a degree of motivating impact. It's clearly a place where the right wing feels comfortable gathering and demonizing their enemy du jour. If only the left wing had such a place...

And that, my friends, is how Progressive Fitchburg was born.

3 comments:

Abacquer said...

Howdy and good luck with your new blog. Hopefully you will branch out from just pointing out the gross inadequacies of the Sentinel and Enterprise... that's a bit like counting the holes in a swiss cheese... eventually it gets monotonous.

As another commenter who was blacklisted at the S&E website for having opinions that might require one to think instead of parroting out bile, I know how you feel.

But I got over it.

This is the S&E we're talking about, after all. I mean, heck, imagine if it was a newspaper of merit?

Clearly nobody is reading that site to learn anything. It's just a place by conservatives for conservatives to go and spout ignorant platitudes and then pat themselves on the backs, conveniently free of any challenge to their opinions, and thereby unencumbered by facts or reason. It's a great environment for vapid self affirmation.

matt said...

abacquer,

Thanks.

How did you know of my love for counting the holes in Swiss cheese?

But yes, this blog will hopefully be much more than rambling criticisms of a despicable newspaper.

thoughtful said...

Amen. My comments have been also censored from not only twin-citiesblog, but from leominsterblog as well.

God forbid anyone be allowed to challenge the uninformed to think about their positions.

Here is a couple more examples of inscrutable logic from the pillars of intellect posting at the S&E:

I wonder if the scumbag that shot the Cop up in Manchester is on Devals' BUDDY List ? If he isn't , he will be soon !

-- Posted by: David B., tiny_red_dot,



Note how expertly logic and reason are abandoned in favor of that unique conservative blend of willful ignorance and bumper-sticker mentality.


Come on People. Next you'll blame North Korea on Romney/Healey.

Come on People. Next you'll blame North Korea on Romney/Healey/Bush.

Fixed it for you. Remember these same Dems are the ones who thought John Kerry was a war hero.

Posted by: Derek


You could easily spend a few thousand words untangling the fallacies embedded in that one.

The sad part is, this tripe apparently gets traction with low-wage conservatives who will vote against their own best interests over and over.

I think that says a lot about the conservative political machine. When ignorance and fear get you elected, their game plan is to promote ignorance and fear. When low voter turnout gets your party in power, their game plan is to suppress the vote as much as possible.

It strikes me as nothing less than perverse that an ideology that is so steeped in beligerent nationalism will actively promote fear and ignorance, while discouraging participation in the democratic process.

Thanks Matt for the opportunity to speak freely.