I’ve been following a new webcomic, Broodhollow, for a few weeks now and I’m totally mesmerized. The artwork is smooth and gritty with beautiful coloring. The characters jump off the page. The storyline is fun, creepy and mysterious. I just love it.
A local paper in Jones County, Mississippi, published a front-page story entitled “Historic Wedding” about a lesbian couple in the local community who were recently married. Naturally, the paper got a ton of feedback (mostly negative) from its local readership, which both saddened and infuriated me. The owner of the paper, Jim Cegielski, wrote a response entitled “Doing Our Job” that contains a few gems of journalistic wisdom:
Most of the complaints seem to revolve around our headline, “Historic Wedding” and the fact that we chose to put the story on the first page. My answer…is pretty simple. You don’t have to like something for it to be historic. The holocaust, bombing of Pearl Harbor and the Black Sox scandal are all historic…whether you liked the story or not, the first known gay wedding to take place in Jones County is still historic.
Many of the calls received had the caller stating something to the effect, “I don’t need my children to read this.” Ugh. We have stories about child molesters, murders and all kinds of vicious, barbaric acts of evil committed by heinous criminals on our front page and yet we never receive a call from anyone saying “I don’t need my child reading this.” Never. Ever. However, a story about two women exchanging marriage vows and we get swamped with people worried about their children.
You have every right to cancel your subscription…But you have no right to berate and belittle anyone on our staff.
Color me amazed. I didn’t want the people working at this paper getting only negative feedback, so I wrote an encouraging email to the editor, and the following exchange did not disappoint. Warning: Beware of feels.
I recently read a story about the headline you ran regarding a “Historic Marriage” and the following backlash your paper and its staff received from the local community. I also read about Mr. Cegielski’s response to said complaints.
I was very impressed by Mr. Cegielski’s statement in defense of this story’s publication. The points he made about the lack of negative response regarding stories about murder, rape, molestation, etc., and the fact that “historical” are not always pleasant were both right on the money. I am so pleased with this public statement in defense of journalistic integrity and the staff who work at the paper. Well done.
I live in Los Angeles, but I’ve bookmarked your newspaper’s website and will visit it often to increase traffic to your site. I hope your paper continues to uphold the same high standards of journalistic integrity in the future.
I appreciate you for taking the time to write!
It was my pleasure, and well deserved. An impartial news source is not easy to find, so I was delighted that your response to all the negative feedback you got was to point out that the job of a news organization is to report just that: the news. Not what people want to hear, or a political opinion on current events, just facts.
Please give my warmest wishes to your staff. I know how it is dealing with wrankled customers: it sucks out loud. They have all my support (and the support of all the friends and family whom I’ve told about your experience). I hope they keep a good sense of humor while dealing with this and any future backlash for doing their jobs right.
I wrote a review of Beautiful Creatures, the worst book on the planet, on amazon.com a couple of months ago and got a lot more (read: any) attention than I expected. It served as my impetus to get on Goodreads.com, which is a fantastic book review website that I’m currently addicted to, and where I’ve made a couple of new friends due to the popularity of my Beautiful Creatures review.
I got another comment on my review today that read thusly:
Ok, so I haven’t read this book yet but when I do read reviews of books, I like to read the people who gave a bad review and discover why they didn’t like the book or what irritated them about it. I love your sense of humor with your review and how you go into detail about the specific parts of the book you didn’t enjoy. I am a writer and have recently self published my first young adult novel called Seeds of Eden. This is probably going to sound a little odd but I was wondering if you would read it and do an honest review of it. As an author I am still trying to find my reader base and connect with new readers. I can email you the epub version of my book if you would like to take a look at it. If you aren’t interested that is also fine, it’s up to you. Let me know what you think about this and get back to me!
Here is the link for my book on amazon: Seeds of Eden (The Concilium Series)
You can also find it on Goodreads too!
I was pretty dumbstruck. Was this a tricky way for this person to get someone to buy her crappy $0.99 ebook on amazon, or was she actually, genuinely asking for a review? I sat statue-still at my computer and thought, “Is this my first ever official request as a book reviewer?” I’m choosing to think so because that’s awesome, and the book looks pretty awful and should be fun to hilariously critique, lol. Still, I’m excited about it. Kinda stupid-excited.
Boyfriend plays WoW arena with a guy who has a menagerie of pets at his folks’ place (he’s a college freshman this year), and occasionally tells us hilarious stories about their personalities and habits. He off-handedly mentioned that he has taken to brush the dogs’ teeth almost every day since they were puppies, and I almost died. SO CUTE. I demanded a video of this, and he sent a pic with this IM conversation:
Hey look, it’s me.
Most art styles often take years of training to do well, but it’s not difficult to achieve a mediocre haiku. Haiku is my preferred weapon in the battle against boredom in meetings or during class. They’re easy to do in a short period of time; they don’t rhyme and they’re super short (three lines, 5-7-5 syllables), plus I look like I’m paying attention and taking notes (which, in a way, I am). I lean toward critical or humorous haiku, usually regarding the people around me, but occasionally about myself. Like so:
It hurts when I poke
myself in the eye, like this:
ow, ow, ow, ow, ow.
See? I just wrote that. Just now. Super easy.
I’d like everyone to give it a shot just to see what a fun creative outlet haiku can be. I keep asking my coworkers (and Dad) for them when they’re bored in meetings (and my coworkers definitely are), but to no avail.
I’ve taken to writing haiku about my classmates and sharing it in the classroom group chat. My professor really enjoys it, so whenever there’s a technical issue or a delay of some kind, the professor (and sometimes my fellow students) will ask for a haiku about it to keep us entertained. I keep it light at try to be funny. It passes the time, and I like to see the smile on people’s faces after they read my little poems.
An ex-cop named Christopher Jordan Dorner wrote an 18-page manifesto that I felt compelled to read for some reason. He’s killed three people so far.
The majority of the suicide letter (let’s not mince words here) lists the specific people who have wronged him and acted unjustly in the past (including a high school administrator who lied to him in 1996). A lot of it sounds legit. He discourages anyone from coming after him, saying they will not survive if they try to pull him over or arrest him. He talks about his experiences with racism, and the need for better gun control laws: “Who in there right mind needs a fucking silencer!!!”
Then at the bottom of page 12, he starts thanking people for being good friends, honest politicians, talented doctors: “I’m sorry I’ll never get to go on that moose and bear hunt with you. I love you bro.” At this point, I wondered how many people had written letters just like this, and, upon realizing that the list of wonderful people in their lives they would miss spending time with was surprisingly long, got up from the computer, called one of them and made plans instead of going on a killing spree.
Like most manifestos, this one goes off track once he stops being quite so angry, and starts lauding the people he admires (“Off the record, I love your new bangs, Mrs. Obama”) and the things he loves (“Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” is the greatest piece of music ever, period”). While it’s fascinating to see inside someone’s head without a filter, I can’t give this guy too much credit. He’s killing people. Some part of his brain is broken. Still, I can’t help but think of Shan Yu, the fictitious “warrior poet” quoted for claiming that we can only really know a person when they are pushed to the brink. I wonder if manifestos like these seem crazy because we never really know each other; as a result 18 pages worth of raw honesty and what this man considered truth comes across as proof of insanity.
In the order they appear, here are the parts of the manifesto that jumped out at me for their candor and silliness. I am shocked by how much I agree with him on so many topics:
Thank you for the superb surgery you performed on my knee… I never had the opportunity to thank you for allowing me to live a life free of knee joint pain. Thank you.
I thank the unnamed women I dated over my lifetime for the great and sometimes not so great sex.
It’s kind of sad I won’t be around to enjoy the Hangover III. What an awesome trilogy… World War Z looks good and The Walking Dead season 3 (second half) looked intriguing. Damn, gonna miss shark week.
Hillary Clinton. You’ll make one hell of a president in 2016… Chelsea grew up to be one hell of an attractive woman. No disrespect to her husband.
Gov. Chris Christie. What can I say? You’re the only person I would like to see in the White House in 2016 other than Hillary. You’re America’s no shit taking uncle. Do one thing for your wife, kids, and supporters. Start walking at night and eat a little less, not a lot less, just a little. We want to see you around for a long time.
Wayne LaPierre, President of the NRA, you’re a vile and inhuman piece of shit… You are a failure of a human being. May all your immediate and distant family die horrific deaths in front of you.
Ellen Degeneres… You changed the perception of your gay community and how we as Americans view the LGBT community… Oh, and you Prop 8 supporters, why the fuck do you care who your neighbor marries. Hypocritical pieces of shit.
[Redacted] Church, may you all burn slowly in a fire, not from smoke inhalation, but from the flames and only the flames.
Cyclist, I have no problem sharing the road with you. But, at least go the fucking speed limit posted or get off the road!!! That is a feasible request. Livestrong you fraudulent assholes.
Cardinal Mahoney, you are in essence a predator yourself… May you die a long and slow painful death.
Charlie Sheen, you’re effin awesome.
My opinion on women in combat… Many want to see you fail. Remember everyone of you is a pioneer. There was a time when they didn’t allow blacks to fight the good fight. This is your civil rights. Don’t quit!!!
It’s time to allow gay service member’s spouses to utilize the same benefits that all heterosexual dependents are eligible for.
Mr. Bill Cosby, you are a reasonable and talented man who has spoken the truth of the cultural anomalies within the black communities that need to change now.
Racism isn’t always marked by a burning cross on a front lawn, or a bunch of dudes in bed sheets marching around holding the Union Jack aloft. Racism can be subtle, it can call on unspoken assumptions (read: prejudices) that we’re not even aware of. Until, of course, some idiot in the marketing department for a new TV show decides to use those very assumptions to sell their product. Observe:
“Is this the face of a THIEF?” The unspoken answer is: No, of course not! She’s a white, female, well-fed member of the middle class. Judging by looks alone (which is what we’ve been tasked to do), members of the dominant culture (of which I am one) would say No, of course this woman doesn’t look like a thief, and not only because she’s looking away in a typical “Why no, officer” style, but predominantly because white ladies don’t steal shit. Which begs the question: What does a thief look like? The unspoken answer is, of course, someone with traits unlike this woman’s: dark-skinned males.
So we’re being compelled to watch this show based on the novelty of white people breaking the law, because that’s just so crazy, right? Which is racist. Right?