Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cincinnati Enquirer scooped by blogger in South Korea!

A few days ago, I received this email:

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This morning Randy Simes, who has been working in South Korea for the past six months, posted his TIGER III story on UrbanCincy.com and all hell broke loose.

Jane Prendergast quickly patched together a story of her own, which is now the top item on Cincinnati.com:
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The Business Courier and Channel 5 also filed reports.


[...]

In other news, Peter Bronson hasn't updated his website in close to a year. I'd bet he was getting just 100-200 hits per day, or approximately what this infrequently updated blog gets. In other words, he was getting smoked by UrbanCincy.com (which has been operated for the past two years by someone who has lived, at minimum, 500 miles from the city) and even the dreadful Cincinnati Beacon.

So if The Enquirer disappeared tomorrow, and Barry Horstman and the lot each started their own blogs, would any of them build any kind of following? I doubt it, because nothing about their work at our city's daily paper indicates that they actually care enough to write about civic affairs for free.



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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chris Finney lurked outside No on 48 Party


They say arsonists like to watch the fires they set.

Chris Finney
, the one-man wrecking crew who has concocted one crisis after another for the past 20 years, lurked outside Tuesday night's No on 48 party at Arnold's.

Finney was the author of the Issue 48 ballot language, the charter amendment that promised to kill the modern streetcar and all other transit or passenger rail efforts until 2020. With the exception of their October 3 fundraiser at Mecklenburg Gardens, which I reported only drew about 15 people but nevertheless attracted TV coverage, their campaign consisted only of Mark Miller's insane tweets, which might put the Hyde Park bum behind bars, and endless free publicity provided by the leg humpers at 700 WLW and The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Unlike 2009's Issue 9, Finney and COAST had no election night party (if you remember The Enquirer's photos from that "event" two years ago, it consisted of Finney, Chris Smitherman, and maybe two other people sitting in an empty Pleasant Ridge bar). Instead, the group's Tuesday night activities consisted entirely of Chris Finney, alone, mugging for the media that gathered for the No on 48 event:

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What is so frightening about it all is that Issue 48 came so close to passing, with the pro-campaign having raised under $200. It's safe to say that without the efforts of 100 volunteers, and Cincinnatians for Progress having raised tens of thousands of dollars, the charter amendment would have passed.

So this near-miss means that Finney will almost certainly launch a third charter amendment ballot issue to kill the streetcar project in 2012. AND he will word it in such a way as to affect all other passenger rail. AND although Cincinnati city council saw significant turnover, the local media will be the same local media, and will keep humping Finney's leg.

If Smitherman's inexplicable election to council means an end to the NAACP infrastructure that had allowed Finney to lob four charter amendments onto city ballots in the past24 months, he will surely busy himself with lawsuit after lawsuit aimed at blocking the streetcar project, when he's not filing frivolous lawsuits against streetcar supporters themselves.

No doubt Finney took notice of Chris Seelbach's election to city council last night -- Seelbach's entrance into local political affairs was the successful 2004 campaign to overturn the 1993 Finney-authored Article XII charter amendment. Finney's outrageous activities have caused many others -- including myself -- who formerly watched civic affairs from the sidelines to get involved.

That it takes a loose network of 100 people and tens of thousands of dollars annually to contain this man is testament to the total absence of a functioning media in this town.


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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Don't trust anyone under 30!


Rock & Roll used to be about how lame your parents were -- now it's about how lame your kids are.

After several months of 20th anniversary chatter, this past weekend I gave my 19 year-old copy of Nirvana's Nevermind its first spin in about 10 years. My first thought was of the old Teen Spirit deodorant commercials, and how today's teenagers can't possibly understand the context from which Nirvana emerged...then it occurred to me that some odd soul might have uploaded those commercials to Youtube:


That ad campaign was the very picture of the era -- stupid shit was shoved down your throat day after day and if you didn't swallow you were cast out. Then one day in the fall of 1991 MTV aired an uproarious video by some new band that presented a crushing critique of that word. A month or two after that first airing, Nevermind unseated Michael Jackson's Dangerous as the #1 album in America.

So back in 1991, when I had just turned 13, the #1 album in the United States of America sounded like this:

Nevermind exploded for several reasons unrelated to the music itself: first, the title of the album's first single was a brilliant piece of guerilla marketing -- nowhere does the copped slogan "Smells Like Teen Spirit" appear in the track of the same name, but it was spectacularly appropriate. Second, the video was a call to action -- it operated quite explicitly as a pep rally to millions of youth who hated jocks -- jocks who would soon jump on the Nirvana bandwagon. Third, and most importantly, because Sub-Pop didn't expect Nevermind to sell more than 50,000 copies, and didn't have the infrastructure in place to fully capitalize on the band's sudden popularity, Nirvana's rise had an authenticity that hasn't happened since.

I vividly remember seeing the Smells Like Teen Spirit video for the first time -- I didn't know what, specifically, the guy was saying (in fact I didn't know most of the lyrics until I looked them up on the internet ten years after the fact), but I knew in my gut what the song and what his band was about.

Smells Like Teen Spirit was about total contempt for jocks, total contempt for teachers, total contempt for pop music, total contempt for Hollywood and celebrity worship, total contempt for college fraternities and sororities, total contempt for DARE and public service messages, total contempt for shopping malls and the era's status symbols, total contempt for Homecoming dances and phony charity balls, etc. It expressed total frustration that the symptoms of the mainstream's insecurity went unacknowledged and were even useful in establishing status within the mainstream, while people of high character were vilified -- often by parents, teachers, and others positioned as moral authorities.

So where are we 20 years later? Crank Nevermind for a room full of today's 8th graders, and they'll curl up and cry for all that noise to stop. Why? Because we're back to that cold-blooded world portrayed in the Teen Spirit ads.