Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Don Hall Crosses the Line

In a post entitled "Playing to Tourists," in which Don Hall notes that 65% of the tickets bought on Broadway were sold to tourists and 84% were purchased by "non-city residents" (by which I assume is meant people who live outside the city of New York proper, i.e., suburbia), Don provides this description:
I've seen the tourists in Chicago. I've witnessed first hand the teeming, mouthbreathing masses of Americana parading themselves in their overfed, consumer-driven glory with their overweight children and spray-tanned wives. I've watched them smash themselves into the LaSalle Bank Theater to sing along with Jersey Boys and revel in the experience of taking a fifteen-minute Duck Boat Ride off of Navy Pier.
And while Don admits that he himself has been a tourist in the past so "I'm not immune from my scathing view of the consumer of commercially popular fare with jacked up prices for the out-of-town rubes," clearly he doesn't include himself among the "teeming, mouthbreathing masses parading themselves in their overfed, consumer-driven glory with their overweight children and spray-tanned wives." Nope, while Don is a "summer blockbuster junkie," there is no doubt he remains his cool, hip, intellectually independent, non-consumerist, metropolitan self.

If it wasn't clear before, it should be clear now that Don's biggest objection to a commitment to non-Nylachi theatre is that he feels himself superior to anyone who doesn't live in Nylachi, and feels that they are intellectually incapable of an appreciation of what he might offer because they are all mouth-breathers. After all, what is a tourist except somebody from somewhere else? When he was called out for this attitude by Laura Sue in the comments for my post "On Small Town Audiences (A Reply to Don Hall)," (Laura Sue: "Don states what we local yokels have known for years: the theater community thinks we're stupid and don't have any taste. Gee whiz. I wonder why we don't go to the theater more?"), he denied it existed: "In no way have I indicated in anything that I wrote that I think folks in non-Nylachi areas are 'unsophisticated' or 'stupid' or 'don't have any taste.'" But this latest post certainly gives the lie to that denial, unless "mouthbreating" has become a term of affection without my knowledge. So that's Don's orientation, and it is clear enough for me to no longer be concerned with trying to address his objections to my attempts to create a non-Nylachi theatre. His objections are based in a deep prejudice that is classist, regionalist, and offensive.

In fact, he sinks even lower:
The real question is "Do we really want to spend time and energy trying to court these people to come see our shows?" Sure, we want the money and we want the audience, but in the end it is worth the energy and time spent sticking our sexiest pose out in the street and squeaking out "C'mon, Iowa. Me SO horny. Me love you LONG time..."?
"These people." And then using a racist stereotype to boot. Way over the line. While I would agree with Don that wooing tourists is a waste of time, it isn't because they are unworthy of being courted, but rather that as focus should be on your community rather than visitors.

But what I want to know is where is the outrage of the theatrosphere? Where is Nick with his objections to the creation of an "us/them" argument? Isn't "non-tourist/tourist" and us/them argument? Where are those sensitive Nylachi bloggers whose feelings get hurt if I say anything even slightly less than adulatory about Nylachi? Do you think that non-Nylachians, here known as "tourists," should quietly accept being insulted by a Chicago theatre blogger while you demand an apology for the slightest tweek? That the Chicago bloggers find nothing the least bit objectionable in Don's slurs are clear in the comments. Paul Rekk jokes along with Don: "Don! You say that to all the Iowa girls? I thought we had something special!" Har har. And Rob Kozlowski has nothing to say about these offensive images at all, but is content simply to correct Don's facts about where The Jersey Boys is playing: "Actually, Don, that's now the Bank of America Theater! Whatta country!"

Oh, right. That's just Don. He's says all kinds of offensive stuff. Har har. But he's a good guy. No, really. Sort of like Don Imus -- he just gets carried away sometimes.


As long as theatre artists maintain a disdain for normal human beings, theatre will remain an irrelevant, unsupported coterie art form that is unable to "hold the mirror up to nature," but instead will "hold the mirror up to the mirror" and thus reflect infinite emptiness.


Tony Adams said...

Well, my experience has been, being a tourist seems to immediately make one stupid.

I've seen it while in London, Paris, Chicago and (very) small town Michigan. Smart before, regardless of origin; smart after return home, regardless of destination; stupid while in tourist mode.

Scott Walters said...

You're making an excuse for Don's offensiveness. Read the article again -- it isn't about being in "tourist mode," it is a blanket statement about people who come from out of town.

Bilal said...

Scott, I'm going to agree with you that Don's post does come across as a sort of elitism explosion, but I think you're being a little over-the-top asking us where our outrage is...a mere three hours after the post went live.

Don Hall said...

Wow, Scott.

The chip on your shoulder becomes more and more apparent with every post.

The term "tourist" isn't a regional thing, nor is it "a deep prejudice that is classist, regionalist, and offensive." As thin as your skin is and as blinded by your own personal anti-urban prejudices, I think even you'd realize that tourists come from everywhere. There are tourists from New York (you know, when they go from New York to the Grand Canyon), tourists from Chicago, Memphis, Phoenix, Bismarck - you know, from EVERYWHERE.

Mouthbreathers come from Japan and Australia and Mexico and Canada (especially Canada). Also coming from all these places are geeks, assholes, saints, sinners, and plumbers. If I had taken on plumbers would that be a classist, regionalist and offensive statement? Gimme a break, huh?

Perhaps it is you who are intentionally trying to blow up this post by equating "non-Nylachi" with "tourist" and there's no outcry because that's pretty fucking thin, brother.

Here's the difficulty with the tribal theater model you're creating. You have your head so far up your ass with your outright distaste and prejudice about NYLACHI and it's denizens that it obfuscates the good in your argument for more locally run, regionally based, tribal theater.

I know this crawls up your ass but there ARE STUPID PEOPLE IN THE WORLD. And the opinion of those stupid people is not one that should dictate what is relevant or meaningful in theater.

NOTICE: I did not specify what region houses these stupid people because I am not making any assertion that stupid is somehow limited to any specific region or class. Stupid is stupid, whereever you find it.

That horse you're sitting on? Climb down, huh?

Scott Walters said...

No, Don, no. Not this time. You can try to make this into a general statement that applies to everyone, but I'm not buying it. And yes, there are stupid people in the world, but far fewer than you think, and they deserve respect as much as "smart people" deserve. You parade your superiority on a regular basis and then try to present yourself as a populist. Not this time. No sir.

Scott Walters said...

"C'mon, Iowa. Me SO horny. Me love you LONG time..."?

Yes, that well-known international port of Iowa, Australia.

Don Hall said...

there are stupid people in the world, but far fewer than you think, and they deserve respect as much as "smart people" deserve.

One - how the fuck would you know how many stupid people there are? I look around and see stupid everywhere. Maybe it's a regional thing...

Two - Yup. Stupid people deserve respect as human beings but their opinions count for less. I understand the blowback to intellectualism and the need to support the "street smart" population but George W. Bush pretty much pushed that theory into the shitter, you know?

And while I'm all broken up by the fact that you find me elitist and aren't buying my assertion that "tourist" isn't the same as "non-Nylachi" I honestly couldn't give two shits whether you think I'm a populist or not. In fact, I'm not certain I ever presented myself as a populist.

I know you're argument is weakass because you feel it necessary to throw in the "ugly stereotype" card - which one are you bristling over? The Vietnamese thing or the hooker thing? Maybe the ugly stereotype you refer to is the Coppola thing?

Obi-wan? Your slip is showing...

Scott Walters said...

Don -- Yes, you do look around and see stupid people everywhere, and that's exactly the point I am making. You have a compulsive superiority that needs to create inferiors to feed it. As far as "stupid peoples'" opinions counting for less -- no. This is what has allowed the intellectual elite of this country to dominate and exploit the uneducated working class for hundred of years. And while I share your disdain for Dubya's powers of critical thinking, the fact is that he doesn't represent the "street smart" people, since he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and hasn't the faintest idea what it is to be a regular human being. In addition, he is surrounded by really, really smart people who put themselves above the common man. Disdain is disdain.

As far as the ugly stereotype -- both. And I don't give a damn about Coppola.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that a man who hails from Kansas and has been to almost every state in the union, but makes his home, his living, and his art in Chicago...why is it that if he attempts a hard edged criticism of that which is to his mind the worst side of our American cultural experience, that it must be he is only aiming his barbs at Non-NYLACHIans?

That is the leap I see here.

How does Don get to say that those people who file into big budget shows that are not establishing community so much as bliking you 75 dollars a pop to sing along....how does he get to suggest this, suggest that it is out of towners who mostly populate that scene without being labelled a regionalist?

Scott, why are you identifying so much with the tourists?

However, in the interest of asking a question that might further your goals and your investigation?

But maybe it isn't just the kids and the artists who flee to NYLACHI, maybe even blue collar folks from all walks of life cant wait to board a plane and drop their art dollars in a big city for one week out of the year? How does this mindset affect art spending in Non NYLACHI? Why is it that so many of them when given a week to set their own destinations they go to NY LA CHI maybe Orlando or Vegas


Mac said...

Does this mean you guys aren't hanging out May 24th? I was hoping for pictures.

I can tell you where my lack of outrage comes from: fear of people like you and Don. I know now that raising an objection to anything means essentially ruining my own life for a week as I deal with increasingly mean-spirited rhetoric. You've both posted offensive material recently, but I've learned my lesson in terms of speaking up about it.

Anonymous said...



I'm sure this too shall pass...in about 48 hours.


p.s. - This might seem hypocritical coming from me, but after reading mac's post...I can see why some folks wouldnt raise objections even if they object...

Tony Adams said...

Outrage! Mac how dare you be a voice of reason!

Scott, yes Don is over the top, as are you at times.

It weakens your argument, when you automatically jump to assuming that someone living in a big city has a untenable hatred of all things rural. Many people from all walks of life move from one place to another in different points in their life. For most, their current locale doesn't automatically equal hatred of the other side.

Decentralization is good, tribes are good. Reality is many people move to urban areas for a simple reason--jobs. There are far more jobs (in artistic and non artistic fields) in Chicago than in Rives Jct. Michigan.

I dig your tribal ideas, but for that to work one needs a lot of startup dough, or jobs to get one through until the tribe generates enough cash to feed families. So people gravitate to where jobs are.

In this many artists are doing the same that young people going the corporate route do. They go where there are jobs.

I know several theatres around the Midwest that do a very good job, outside of major cities. Almost all were started by older people who had built up a nest egg to enable them to weather the lean years while building audiences and ways of funding.

Scott Walters said...

Mac -- Does this mean we won't hang out May 24th? I doubt it. This is how we do. Sorry you find it scary. I don't have a show to promote right now, so instead I have to actually have an idea.

dv -- Last time I checked, Iowa -- the place that was singled out -- is not in New York, Chicago, and LA. So, yeah, pretty specific.

While you may focus on his Jersey Boys reference, I am focused on his characterization of tourists, those horrible people from "out of town." Why do I identify with them so much? Because I just finished reading David Greenblatt's Will in the World, and it reminded me that what makes an artist great is his ability to look into the souls of all kinds of people and find their deeper selves. Because I think that artistic arrogance has been squeezing the theatre's windpipe since the Romantics declared artists special people above the common horde, and Don's technicolor scorn is an example of what so many bloggers have denied is the case.

And guess what? Asheville is a HUGE tourist destination, and guess what again? Many, many of them are from -- wait for it -- New York! So why is it that so many New Yorkers, when given a week to set their own destinations, come to the mountains? People vacation places that are different from where they normally live. So don't try to turn some tourists in Nylachi into a "fleeing" from anywhere, unless you are ready to attribute the NY and FL trek to the mountains as a similar exodus.

Danielle Wilson said...

In defense of the tourist....
I've been thinking about the reasons Don's stereotypical tourists might have for paying to see commercial theater. There are actually some pretty good ones.... If I'm visiting a big city with my family, we're probably going to need family-friendly activities. The Disney shows/broadway fare tend to be known family friendly entities. Even if the adults in the family wanted to see something more adventurous, they still have to find child care. Depending on the ages of the children this can be pretty tricky.
I think family friendliness is a key here. Vegas used to be comics and showgirls, now it's cirque. broadway has disney. it would be interesting to see if the tourist spending is indeed families or if it is childless.

Scott Walters said...

Tony -- Don't change the subject. We're talking about intellectual superiority, not my ideas. If you wanted to talk about my ideas, you've had plenty of time on other posts. But I will say this: if you think it costs less money to start a theatre outside Chicago then in, if you think it doesn't take a huge start-up investment just to start hitting the audition circuit, then I would ask you to think again. Regardless, that's not what we're talking about here.

Anonymous said...


"As long as theatre artists maintain a disdain for normal human beings, theatre will remain an irrelevant, unsupported coterie art form that is unable to "hold the mirror up to nature," but instead will "hold the mirror up to the mirror" and thus reflect infinite emptiness."

If the reflection shining back at the audience is anything other than ulitmately complimentary...the subject (the majority of the subject) will accuse the artist of some form of elitism and walk away. This for me the complication that exists between criticism of the subject and "trust". This rejection of anything other than a positive portrayal is what complicates the notion that an audience's "skill" is what determines how they ultimately respond.


Don Hall said...

it reminded me that what makes an artist great is his ability to look into the souls of all kinds of people and find their deeper selves.

A) I never said I was a great artist.
B) There's a difference between pointing out that I am anti-tourist and have an elitist attitude and calling me "classist, regionalist, and offensive" - although I don't mind the offensive part.

As I wrote earlier, this chip on your shoulder about the areas you have labeled "NYLACHI" (oh - the fucking outrage - as if those three cities are all the same and filled with exactly the same kind of people - you classist, regionalist jackass!) has colored your set of assumptions.

Danielle - I think you make a pretty good point. Why, then, is it that only watered down, meaningless eye-candy is the only thing "family friendly"?

Scott Walters said...

I don't think I said anything about "positive," dv. Shakespeare's portrayal of Macbeth or Richard III wasn't positive, but he dug into their souls nonetheless. Because he knew that his job was to attain a deeper understanding of the world.

GreyZelda Land said...

Chicago Artist checking in ... all audiences are our bread and butter. I like reaching the mom and daughter who traveled all the way from (seriously) Iowa, just to see The Scarlet Letter. We love putting up a show for a house full of high school and college students (from Cincinnati and Bowling Green, OH) respectively. I come from Hillsdale, MI, an extremely small, conservative town. We all come from somewhere. And I like when the people come from "somewhere" and actually pick our play over Wicked to see. I think it's really stinkin' cool. And, I think it's even cooler that they're taking a risk and putting their hard-earned/ quickly departing money with something like The Skriker.

I recently had a tussle with Don ... and I'm taking a little break right now from continuing the day-to-day "Blog Wars", so that's why I haven't been chiming in lately.

But, just thought I'd chime in.


Don Hall said...

Yeah - and Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia and SHOUT! The Mod Musical all attain a deeper understanding of the world.

Scott Walters said...

"As I wrote earlier, this chip on your shoulder about the areas you have labeled "NYLACHI" (oh - the fucking outrage - as if those three cities are all the same and filled with exactly the same kind of people - you classist, regionalist jackass!) has colored your set of assumptions."

As if all tourists were mouthbreathers. Is this actually supposed to be an argument, or just sort of "I am rubber, you are glue" time? Call it a chip if you want, but I see it as the same thing as speaking up when somebody tells a racist joke. It ain't funny, and it ain't acceptable.

Scott Walters said...

"Yeah - and Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia and SHOUT! The Mod Musical all attain a deeper understanding of the world."

So you're claiming the right to be as superficial as you think those shows are?

Anonymous said...


was that a swipe at mac for merely answering your question?....

He is actually making theater rather than talking about it...

I guess he is just doing it in the wrong town


remember this old chestnut..."I see we've crossed the line from argument to being an asshole"


You're acting in a way that B Santana suggested was the sole province of avantist and auteurs...

But is it possible that this distain (or self distain) that Don feels could actually be even more in line with the common man's conception of anyone other than oneself?

It seems to me we are heading towards another one of those "who is more sincere, who is more in touch, who gets to claim they have the best of intentions" sort of debates...

In one corner the angry NYLACHIan with his preachy dark themed work that express the evil in his heart that he would enact on any blue collared audience

In the other the ivory tower college professor whose students are more than likely compelled to see the university shows or suffer demerits...

Who is more sincere?!!!!


Tony Adams said...

Scott, how is Don's attack on tourists any different than your attacks on all things nylachi? Both are faulty. Both are superficial.

For the record I wasn't changing the subject, but trying to put it in a greater context.

Anonymous said...

"I don't think I said anything about "positive," dv. Shakespeare's portrayal of Macbeth or Richard III wasn't positive, but he dug into their souls nonetheless. Because he knew that his job was to attain a deeper understanding of the world."

Uhhhh...weren't we talking about Broadwayish corporate theatre?

However, how many non theatre people do you know who have read or sat through Richard III?

Or walked out of it more than likely saying...I dont think I;m coming back until they do more plays like "Taming of the Shrew" and "Tempest" know I like those...

You didn't use the word "postive" that is certainly my interpretation, that is my truism regarding the common man...skill...trust...and disdain


Don Hall said...


And you don't have to shell out $150.00 for my superficiality.

OK. Let's get this all straight for the record. My post about stupid tourists shelling out big bucks to see artistically weak theater reveals me to be:

A Wannabe Populist
Artistically Arrogant

Are you on crack?

Adam said...

Lord have mercy.

I'm just waiting for Don and Scott to have the "Me and you. 3 o'clock. By the monkey bars." post :)

I'm going to have to side with Scott here though, Don's hatin' on the tourists is a bit much.

I can understand where he is coming from though.

I broke out in a pretty impressive fit of rage when I was producing August Wilson's "Joe Turner's Come and Gone" to sparse house while a few miles away Tyler Perry was busy printing money doing what I found to be a stereotype filled "urban" play designed to appease the lowest common denominator.

For a good while I hated every one of those idiots that went to that play while ignoring our more artistic work.

But then I remember that "them" is "me".

Hell I have spent more money on video games and pro wrestling this year then "high art" so who am I to judge?

And Scott, my girl and I are thinking of going to Charlotte for our vacation this summer. What do you think? Is Charlotte a good vacation spot?

Scott Walters said...

Don -- I will if you will.

dv -- As the former associate artistic director of the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, which played a full summer season six nights a week to packed houses, including productions of Richard III, Pericles, and Winter's Tale, I think I can honestly say that quite a few non theatre people happily enjoy Shakespeare, and most of them at ISF -- get this -- live in the area surrounding Bloomington-Normal! You know -- those mouthbreathers!

And you had your chance with the skill/trust issue last week -- we've moved on.

Scott Walters said...

Adam -- Well, Charlotte is kind of hot and muggy in the summer, but it is a pretty city. Why not go a few hours west to the mountains? Cool, beautiful. But if you want to be in a city, Charlotte is nice.

RVCBard said...

And I was just blogging about this. :-(

Jess said...

This makes for crappy reading on my lunch break. New thread, please?

...just being selfish.

Ben said...

Tourists are horrible. I thought that was a given. Every single time I visit NYC, I do all I can to not look like a tourist. "Don't wave that map around. You look like a tourist." Is that just me?

Also, if someone put a gun to my head and said "guess", I would say that 6 or 7 out of every 10 people are stupid. If you take a few steps back and just look at it, a whole lot of this country is pretty dumb.

I don't think that's elitist...it's just the truth.

Anonymous said...

"we've moved on"
dude if only...I think your notions of skill and trust and vacationing tourists and the choices they make...well I thought that was relevant to today's discussion...unless of course the real point of the discussion is to attack each other's character...


Back to the bard...

If you really feel that the average joe out there even appreciates shakespeare...when then we either dont agree who the average joe is or the semantics of the word appreciate.

Shakespeare festivals are pretty well attended...perhaps the question could be are those experiences any different that "Shout the musical?"

I'll even agree that they "trust" shakespeare, I just dont think they always like or appreciate it.

Anyway, ask the next ten folks regardless of class distinction you meet who arent english or theater majors or a fingertip away from google who said "My kingdom for a horse" and just see if you dont find yourself living out some high brow bit from the Jay Leno Show...

I'll raise the ante and say that you can ask the next 25 people who arent theatre/english majors the plot to Pericles.

But perhaps you are right. Perhaps that is a blog for another day...

I never thought I'd say this, but I kinda am agreeing with all the folks who say lets have less dust at least when it comes to Don's character which seems to be the real focus of today's rant.

We all have different ideas regarding rigorious debate of ideas, talking a little jerkily to each other loud enough so everyone hears but...well...it is getting a little personal for my taste, so I'll attempt to bow out. it is starting to feel a little too TMZ for me.


Laura said...

To add another theory to Danielle's: I also think tourists often choose to see "mainstream" (big budget musicals, Broadway, Shakespeare, however anybody wants to define it) shows instead of venturing out to experimental theatre-land is affected by a number of factors. Sheer proximity is one. Most Chicago tourists are staying the Loop - that's where most of the hotels are. But storefront theatres can't afford to produce there (a reason for the actual City of Chicago Storefront Theater), and lots of tourists don't venture beyond places they can walk to. When you're unfamiliar with them, some neighborhoods (not to mention the CTA late at night) can be a little intimidating. But I think a bigger issue is just exposure. Companies on small budgets can't afford to advertise on city buses, and haven't made connections with downtown concierges who can recommend them. Sometimes they're not even able to get reviewed in the "big" papers. So tourists may very well just not know they're there. In my experience, having the cheapest tickets available at the HotTix booth helped drive the tourist business. And the people who are willing to go to the HotTix booth and try their luck at the cheapest ticket may well be the perfect adventurous crowd for your experimental piece.

The fact of the matter is, tourists account for major dollars in terms of ticket purchases, and it's just not smart business for any theatre to dismiss them wholesale. They're not likely to be repeat customers, so as Scott rightly points out, it doesn't help you in terms of community building.

I'll admit that after spending a harrowing afternoon or two with visiting friends or family at Navy Pier, I have been guilty of making sweeping generalizations about the simple-minded masses myself at times. But I must say, some of the tourists who have showed up at neighborhood storefront shows just because they got a cheap ticket downtown have been some really great, enthusiastic audiences.

And I also think there is a little something to be said for occasionally getting an "outsider's" view on your work. First priority should be building a consistent community who supports your work and wants to see more of it. They're your bread and butter. But if you never hear any different points of view from somebody new to your work, you run the risk of becoming a members-only kind of club, and that's a great way to fall out of touch with the rest of your community.

Laura said...

Eek, my grammar is all over the map there. Must learn to proofread. But you get the point.

Mac said...

Hey, thanks for standing up for me, DV! Much appreciated. I gotta say, the only time I've ever commented on this blog and not regretted it was when I wished Scott a happy birthday, and I'm certain to regret this one as well.

What's odd is how overwhelmingly often I agree with Scott on the merits and substance of his arguments, and yet what a negative set of experiences I have had with him at the same time. I guess I just don't like his style.

But let me make an argument about style that may go to the substance of this debate. I, like Scott, found Don's post on tourists to be objectionable. (Though to a far lesser degree than Scott.) However, maybe it's helpful to note that Don wrote the post in the context of a theatrosphere (and a larger blogosphere in general) that encourages and rewards a lack of civility with generous scoops of attention. And if one could accept that proposition, I would go further and argue that Scott, among others (including myself, to my shame), have helped to contribute to just such an environment. Scott *advocates* equal respect for all without *practicing* equal respect for all, which can create an environment where nothing changes. We all debate the idea of respect disrespectfully.

A number of people recently posted and praised a Mike Daisy quote that called for less politeness and more passion in theater discussions. I found the quote a little oversimplified. I think it's possible to have civility and passion at the same time. I don't accept that courtesy and respect dilute passion in any way. I think they endow passion with a useful, durable shape and expression.

Still, it's not for me to say. At this point, the American theatrosphere is essentually dominated by Scott and the Chicago bloggers. That may change at some point, but right now, you are the ones who will define the present and the immediate future.

Specifically on Scott's swipe against me, I would like to offer the suggestion that I, and others, express ideas through shows, and don't regard "ideas" and "shows" as separate endeavors. It may be that the shows I'm plugging are actually vehicles for transmitting ideas in an entertaining fashion. They may not be; they may just be vanity projects. But I think one would have to know a bit more about them to make that determination.

Anonymous said...

I said I was done, but I'm addict...

mac said - "At this point, the American theatrosphere is essentually dominated by Scott and the Chicago bloggers."

No way....really? I dont believe that...

mac, drop me line and tell me how you see it that way...

I think you bring up good points about practicing what we preach while speaking to each other...I think most the time I can tell the difference when we (Scott and Me) are tussling for the sake of a good tussle and when we are maybe actually cutting too close to the quick (with each other that is...maybe not so clear to those listening in). I always try at least not to take it too seriously or too personally...but I admit today I've had some trouble figuring the borders of the debate vs the borders of well mutually agreed degrees of civility/roughhousing.


Paul Rekk said...

Just found this.

Have no interest in reading the elongated comments section, much less participating in it.

However, for clarification, I make my comments as one who still identifies himself as much an Iowan as a Chicagoan. And whether or not you take offense at his comments, Scott, is no matter to me. I am an Iowan. If I felt this was a comment worth being offended by, I would have called Don on it. I don't, and my comment was very deliberately a indication of such. And really, I take as much offense at your insistence that my poor Iowan self stand tall and proud in the face of the big bad Hall. I can take care of myself. And my Iowa pride is telling me that so can the rest of Iowa.

If you're fighting the good fight on decentralization with rural America, that's awesome, Scott. But more and more often it's seeming as if you're doing it for them; and that's just as condescending.

Nick Keenan said...

And *now* is my first opportunity to read this post.

I come to find a nuclear wasteland with a shadow of Scott Walters, who vanished in a poof of logic.

I don't kid, really, I'm saddened and afraid. We could have all stood to take a breath here, no?

Mac, I value your perspective and vision (and memory). I'm afraid of the sensationalism that we can't seem to avoid. I think the Chicago blogosphere is also not unlike a teenager here. We're a young community of bloggers, we need to feel truthful and heard, and we haven't learned to pull back as a community yet when someone cries uncle. When I go through your old posts and Parabasis' old stuff, I see that history is repeating itself.

I think what Scott has been doing here for the past two years is really important work, and I'm glad he's continuing it in a more nurturing forum. Scott, you have truly exciting ideas, and I hope the NING group gives you more practice with nurturing those ideas so that they don't get toasted by the overzealous - including yourself. You're kind of like a mad scientist, and when you throw the switch too soon and charge your creations with lightning from the storm, you run the risk of burning those valuable ideas up.

But that doesn't give us the right to pick up pitchforks and torches. I hope we can all refrain from alienating each other willfully in the future. We have our audiences to do that for us.

Sorry I wasn't around on this day. I might have said this earlier.