Sunday, July 29, 2007

Bloggapalooza: Good Food, Good Friends, Good Tunes, and Whatever the Hell Happened Between Vessels and Naugle.

The Good

Went to Bloggapalooza yesterday and had a fine time. Apparently the downstaters who attended are having a Rashomon moment over one incident, which I will get to. Whoever's at faulth, that's an unfortunate harshing of the mellow.

Speaking of harshing, I got there well late because my five-year-old pitched a screaming meemie about me leaving and it took some time to calm her down. As a result I missed the alt/emo band about which, Oh well. But I also missed Chucklef*ckers which was a real loss. I heard they had a good set and, according the George, Carrie Callahan killed. This is as good a time as any to mention that Carrie's blog started a mite slow but I've been enjoying the hell out of lately. So much so that I'll probably add it to my blogroll the next time I'm doing that sort of thing.

Frankly, I went mostly for the company. My schedule doesn't allow me to make it to meetups any more and I haven't attended a MTB in maybe nine months. So the great joy was f2f convos with folks there. I recall seeing Jeff Hess, Bill Callahan, Wendell Robinson, Tim and Gloria Ferris, Scott Bakalar and Anthony Fossaceca (who was here but now is here). Jerid Kurtz and Eric and Joseph from the Plundercrew showed up about mid-afternoon and Jill showed up a bit later than that. At some point we ran into, I believe, Chas Rich and someone introduced us.

George was there pretty the whole time, of course.

In addition to enjoying music from The Elderly Brothers, I picked up an excellent pulled pork sandwich from Wild Bill's BBQ and roamed the booths at the arts festival. I had a long talk with Anastasia Pantsios of the Free Times while I rummaged through the used CDs she was selling at the rock flea market. We talked about the MedMart/Convo Center controversy which is Topic A in Cleveland these days. (And I bought discs by Duke Robillard, Dar Williams and Pavement from her.)

Best of all I bought a pot from a woman whose work I saw in one gallery once but didn't pull the trigger and had seen nowhere since. Few pottery styles have felt like the one that got away like this, so it was great serendipity to have another chance. She makes coil pots and indents the coil about every 3/4 inch, then glazes only the inside. The effect looks from a distance like a basket made of rope fiber.

The Bad

Oh, you wanted to hear about the Naugle thing. Well, some time during my street wanderings -- I think during the Elderly Brothers set -- I saw the unmistakable figure of Matt Naugle talking to Tim and plodding through the front door of the Beachland Tavern. This was not, frankly, a welcome site. After Matt's last excursion to way on the other side of The Line -- publishing Jerid Kurtz's father's twenty-year-old arrest record -- I mentally crossed him off The List of People for Whom I Have Any Use Whatsoever.

Still, it was a time for celebration. And I can be civil to people I dislike. What's more, there has been -- hmmm -- call it offline tension between myself and some other liberal bloggers. So I showed up mentally prepared for the possibility of Working Things Out. So I did the civil thing. I walked back into the Tavern and up to the pod of Bill, Anthony and Matt, and introduced myself to the latter. Conversation continued and all was perfectly civilized.

At one point I asked Bill about the aftermath of S.B. 117 which got us talking about community wi-fi which led Matt to interject his objections to it. For about two minutes I tried to talk to Matt about community based wi-fi but alas I was out of my depth. It didn't strike me that Matt knows significantly more than I about the subject, so we briefly exchanged general talking points about markets and government. Bill arrived shortly and bailed me out. At just about that time, the Columbus folks showed up, so I disengaged to greet Eric and company.

Matt and Bill talked. And talked. Ghetto Wisdom went through sound check and started their set. The GW was only two dudes, by the way: Rapper E&J and the keyboardist. I didn't quite get why, but the result was a set a little more mellow than last year's. Yes, I personally put my hands in the air, etc. And I got my own picture of the PlunderShuffle. But all in all, not the barnburner of Bloggapalooza 1.

Oh yeah, the Naugle thing. So early in the Ghetto Wisdom set, he and Bill went outside to continue their conversation. I didn't keep a clock on it, but conservatively it lasted an hour an a half. Maybe as much as two. Bill seemed to be having an OK time and we were all happy not to have to pretend to be nice to Matt.

Fast forward a bit. I'm talking on the street and look back at the Tavern. Eric and Matt are having an apparently intense conversation. The expression on Eric's face is one of Deep Concern, but it could well have been the sort of "I don't want to have to kick your ass" Deep Concern you see when people who don't like each other talk at a gathering like this. Anyway, I didn't see pointing or yelling and didn't see any angry expressions. I also didn't see much of it, just enough to know something of significance was being discussed.

And a bit later I heard that Matt had left after the conversation.

The Ugly.

So this morning Jerid posted that Matt had "provoked an altercation:" "After personally attacking virtually every blogger in attendance at the non-partisan blogapalooza, Matt Naugle surprised all tonight by injecting partisan politics into Meet-the-Bloggers second birthday." What I gather he means is that Matt has personally attacked people on his blog, then showed up at a party to hang with them. Which, as Jerid says, is a form of provocation.

I actually haven't yet been personally attacked by Matt (unless you count being called reasonable by Naugle which in context, yeah that's close), but friends have including some really ugly backchannel stuff that truly shocks me. My instinct was, as I said, to be civil. But if Matt had attacked me through my family, I wouldn't have even made that effort.

And it did piss me off that after hurling feces for these many months he showed up an put us all in the uncomfortable position of having to deal with him. And he is the only guy blogging on the right I'd say that about. Mr. Boring and I agree on nearly nothing, but when we see each other it's not an effort to get along. He's a genuinely nice guy who understands the difference between political differences and personal animosity. Ben Keeler has thrown his lot in with the three libs Paul tapped to take over the Carnival and we haven't had a single problem yet. This isn't difficult.

For most people. But Naugle is just a nasty piece of work. Feminists say "The personal is political;" for Matt the political is personal. And just so I don't have to go all False Equivalency Police on y'all, I agree with anyone who objects to making fun of Matt's speech impediment. He stutters. OK. I have friends who stutter, and most of them are smarter than me. But Matt has gone so farther, deeper and nastier, he's long given up any claim of just desserts.

Matt gives his own version of the event and I can't say much to contradict what he says. Still, it's hard for me to fault Eric for going into his grille. And frankly, Matt is probably lucky that Eric took the point instead of Jerid who, by the Code of Manliness Matt pretends to subscribe to is utterly within his rights to administer an ass-kicking.

And I have to say that Matt saying he could take either guy is simply uproarious.

The sad coda to Matt's post reads:

    So I hope Jerid got the type of rise out of me he was hoping for. And nothing that silly Jerid and Eric post about this situation will change the fact that: I won. Not only was I the bigger man for not fighting, but my blogging has paid off. I get under their skin and the left HATES me. . . Liberal bloggers can’t stand that there is a conservative blogger in Ohio who has a loud mouth and is willing to use the left’s tactics against them. And believe me- As we get closer to the 2008 elections, my work on RAB will only become uglier, harsher, and tougher as I work to defeat Democrats. And I will continue to enjoy every minute of it, without a single regret.
Well as far as "winning," I say simply: Scoreboard! Last I checked, the far right that Matt represents had its head handed to it last fall.

As to the rest, see above. There are plenty of conservative bloggers who are tough and smart and loudmouthed and even harsh. There is only one who provokes an emotion close to hate -- though a mixture of pity and contempt more accurately describes my response. My response in it all is to ignore Matt, regardless of what ugliness he coughs up on RAB. If it weren't for some quality posters on RAB, I'd delete it from my roll.

And frankly, if Matt insists on showing up at an event I'm attending, next time I'll probably ignore him there as well.


Anonymous said...

this post has some of the choicest lines i've seen in all of blogging, including, but not limited to....

"Bill seemed to be having an OK time and we were all happy not to have to pretend to be nice to Matt."

.......and my personal favorite......

"And I have to say that Matt saying he could take either guy is simply uproarious."

pho - i love you.

Jeff Hess said...

Shalom Scott,

It was really good to see and talk with you on Saturday. That doesn't happen often enough.

On Matt: the opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.

In that spirit, I won't comment further.



Flo said...

I'm sorry I didn't get the chance to meet you, Pho. Let's swap blogroll spots!
As for the rest of the post: I definitely left Bloggapalooza WAY too early.

John Ettorre said...

Bummed to have missed you, Scott, because you're the one blogger I've come to really respect and whom I've also never met. We may well have been there at the same time (I was there from about 4:30-6), but the screeching rap guy and the 100-decible band from Lorain weren't exactly conducive to talk, nor to meeting and chatting with new friends. I should have done what Bill did and pull the conversation outside.

Anyway, that's something to think about for next year: given that we're not all 20-somethings or even 30-somethings, and that some or maybe even many of us have an aversion to loud noise, perhaps George can rethink the mix of entertainment. Personally, I can do without rappers rhapsodizing about "ghetto wisdom" for the rest of my born days, at any volume level.

Scott Piepho said...




I'll be in touch.