Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Behind the curtain

Nov. 4 and 8 updates are at end of post.

"The nice thing about blogging - you can judge for yourself."

The correspondents:
JD: Master of ceremonies, pillar of the local arts community
JA: The Union's publisher
RS: The Union's editor

The supporting cast:
CF: The Union's entertainment reporter; also the witness
DR: The Union's readership editor
BC,FF: Local citizens recently in news

The event:
The Haute Trash fashion show featuring a cornucopia of stunning outfits, including dresses and miniskirts fashioned from wine corks, yogurt tub tops, a biodegrading copy of Be Here Now, a deteriorated hammock, foam from the Ananda garbage dump, discarded eighth place ribbons from the Draft Horse Classic, an entire projector reel of the 2002 blockbuster hit Bruce Almighty, and Nevada County's newspaper, The Union.

As the paper-clad model paraded onstage, Master of Ceremonies J.D. deviated from the original script, describing her dress as follows:
(verbatim, from tape)
Well, what's black and white and read all over...It's The Union newspaper!

Elise makes The Union look good, which is hard to do, in this three-piece collegiate apparel. It's the best use of The Union we've seen in years - next, of course, to feed for the worm pile, fodder for the paper wasp nest, or lining for your kitty litter box.

The pleated skirt, short waist jacket top and necktie turns The Union from a rag into riches.

Now in all fairness, wedoappreciate ouronlylocalnewspaperfocusingonlocalnews withmoremajorhappeningsonthehomefront.

And The Union sure uses its power to create disparity; wouldn't it be wonderful for The Union to remember their name and create community too?

[from Elvira Mental Werks, thank you Elise! oh, yummy...]

When [publisher] resigns I'll buy a newspaper.

With JD's permission, we offer the resulting exchange of emails without comment.

(We are extremely tempted to comment - we find some of the accusations and appellations fascinating - but for your sake we are making every effort to keep our big mouth shut.)

Email from Editor RS to JD:
Mr. D:

It has come to my attention that on Friday evening you used your role as emcee of the Haute Trash event at the CftA to launch a vicious political diatribe against The Union.

With Prospector [entertainment section] editor CF - who had featured the event on the Prospector cover - in the audience, you used your position to further a vendetta against publisher JA, even though your letter calling on him to be fired had been published on The Union's web site Dec.[actually Oct.] 2.

Mr. D, I understand that in your tirade you scolded The Union for its lack of civic responsibility. In fact, The Union shows more civic responsibility in one day than you could accomplish in your lifetime, and has done so for 140 years. This is the same newspaper and publisher that offered repeated support and praise for the very CftA in which you chose to unleash your crowd-pandering harangue.

When our Readership Editor, DR, suggested to you by phone this morning that the occasion of your outburst was inappropriate, you replied that it was your "right" to do so.

True, we're thankful that in this country we have the right to an opinion, and I'm not going to call on you to be fired for having yours. However, we also have the right to choose with whom we wish to associate.

That's why I have asked that from here on, requests to The Union for coverage of any events with which you are involved, beyond [text-only several-line blurb] mention in our community calendar, be screened through the editor first. That screen, you can be assured, will include assurances that your personal jeremiads be reserved for a more appropriate time and place.

JD responds:
Mr. S,

Surely you are aware that your publisher's "editorials" have stirred much controversy and that he is widely seen as someone who is partisan and who is using his position to tip the election.

If stating "I'll buy a paper when JA resigns" constitutes a political diatribe, then so be it. If stating that "The Union should remember its name and foster union in the community rather than be a divisive force" strikes you as vicious, then I suggest you re-read the rhetoric which appears in your own paper.

As I told Ms. R, I take full responsibility for my comments and hope they will in no way reflect on the CftA or Haute Trash. I also told her I found your own editorial standard much more judicious than Mr. A's, and that, as she urged me to do, I would separate the paper and its staff from Mr. A in my future statements. It appears, however, that you too are enamored of your bully pulpit, and that your overt threat to blacklist events in which I am featured provides overwhelming evidence of The Union's heavy handed foul play.

The letter to the editor which Ms. R and I discussed that was deep sixed was sent a couple weeks ago, not a letter that may have been published on the website only Dec. 2.

I'm sure you won't mind if I share this your letter and my response with friends.



From Publisher JA to Editor RS, presumably cc:ing JD:
Thanks for sharing, Rich.

Mr. D is among those who confuse divisiveness with opinion. I suspect that anything Mr. D disagrees with, such as, "BC violated (at the very least) the spirit of the conflict of interest statutes when he created a job for himself with your public money," is "divisive."

I suppose he doesn't consider Michael Moore "divisive." Nor, I suspect, did he think we were "divisive" when we called on the supervisors to recind their decision to appoint FF to the Elections Office post because of her connection with the GOPs. Nor, did Mr. D screech when I called the GOP Central Committee Chair on his e-mails regarding a planned Quaker meeting at the superintendent of schools office.

Why? Because Mr. D is a hypocrite. The worst kind, really.

His screeching - and that's the best way to describe his rants - is typical of the kind of bully tactics he and his "friends" use. They've been bullying this newspaper for years and they finally met someone who is not going to cower under their howels.

Too bad Mr. D hasn't called to chat about his issues, preferring instead to perform on stage in front of his "friends and associates." Probably because he is unable to articulate a reasonable argument.

Some might even call that kind of behavior....well...chickenshit.


Updates from the principals:

JD, in Nov. 4 email:
...Haute Trash for me is a cabaret act. The character I portray as the MC is over the top. In fact, two years ago, I challenged [publisher] to a duel from that very stage...

Editor, in Nov. 8 email: (by permission)
I only spoke up about the Engles thing to defend freedom of speech, but [publisher] can defend himself. I got in [JD]'s face to see how he liked having some nut threaten his livelihood (he apparently didn't like it at all), but in fact have no interest in worrying about [JD] or Engles or any of those folks. I encourage you and them to fully exercuse your constitutional right to voice your opinion.

No comments: