Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Unbearable Tim-ness of Russo

It was inevitable that Tim Russo would take umbrage at the coda of my latest Carnival post. Umbrage taking is one of Tim's strengths and he an I have been on rocky terms1 ever since the first instance of Russo Drama.

What I didn't expect was that his ire would evince an inability to comprehend written English.

To reset very briefly, Tim is a sharp political thinker and writer who has blogged on and off since the mid-Cretaceous period in adjusted blog time. He also, as it turns out, has a fairly impressive skeleton in his closet, one that has prompted a couple of his blog hiatuses. He recently parted ways with Buckeye State after a spell as a front-pager and started his own blog concentrating on his two favorite subjects -- politics and himself.

He submitted to this week's Carnival a post covering both in detail -- specifically a history of Meet the Bloggers and his relationship with George Nemeth. Part 1. Part 1 is innocuous but portentous. I didn't know anything of a falling out between the two, and maybe I'm misreading the foreshadowing, but this doesn't look like a story that ends well.

In any event "My relationship with another Ohio blogger" isn't exactly right down the middle of the Carnival's format. It was enough of a cause for concern that I wrote my co-editors about it, as we do when issues come up. Based on the email convo I decided to post Part 1 and kick it down the road to whoever gets Part 2.

Then I got three more posts that were to one degree or another off topic and thought -- in the sleep-deprived dark of last night -- to raise the issue of format with the Carnival community. Anticipating issues and sorting them out ahead of time is always preferable and the present trend may lead us to situations where people accuse the administrators of arbitrary enforcement of the format. Or could lead us to a Carnival where the format is an unrecognizable mess.

As I've said a few times now, I'm pretty much happy to follow community consensus on the thing -- police, don't police, some middle position, etc. I just want an intentional decision on the thing.

Such a post was bound to touch nerves and unfortunately the first nerves touched belonged to my friend Kyle Kutuchief who felt he was being called on the carpet. Unfortunately I was already crabby for non-blog reasons when I read Kyle's comment and my response was unnecessarily snarky (apologies, K.)

Enter Russ
o. Tim's post is from the Bizarro World. After starting with his favorite charge that I take myself too seriously2, he upbraids me for policing the Carnival. What he offers in his post is one line from Carnival link post on his blog:

    A manifestation can be seen here, in this week’s Carnival of Ohio politics, also known as exercise in futility that delivered me two links today. Jill trumpets a “serious call for comments”. Pho wants to police it.

    We’d like a little community input into whether we should stiffen our policing of the format.

Um, actually, that's me asking the community of they want us to police the format or be more laissez faire. Unclear on that? Check out how I put in at the Carnival:
    So we may be at a bit of a watershed. We can start cracking down on format or we can continue to allow drift, each choice carrying risks and benefits. . . . So we need you all to chime in. Which way should we go?
Bizzaro Tim Russo gets even better. Next he claims that I think we own the Carnival. Here's his rant including a quote from my riposte to Kyle:
    And then there’s the high-minded Photasticness in the comments at the Carnival itself, where we learn it is actually “owned”.

    It’s dewey-eyed and idealistic to think of the Carnival as a community public forum rather than a property the four of us own, and your prickly response confirms that.

    Dewey-eyed and idealistic? Are you kidding me? I didn’t know that anyone “owned” this Carnival thingie. It’s pretty much a vanity project, a fairly useless one at that, whose best value is as a cheap marketing tool for new blogs like mine who need the 2 clicks. But hey, ownership has its priveleges, I guess, so go ahead Pho, own it.

What I said in context was:
    It's dewey-eyed and idealistic to think of the Carnival as a community public forum rather than a property the four of us own, and your prickly response confirms that. Nonetheless, it's one vestige of my youthful communitarian idealism I have a difficult time relinquishing to jaded middle age.
In other words I wasn't claiming we own it, I was reaffirming that we don't feel like we own it. Reaffirming a statement I made in the post proper:
    But Jill, Lisa Renee, Ben and I each feel the Carnival isn't our property so much as it's a benefit to the blogging community we happen to work on3.
Tim's rant ends with a demand to be removed from the Carnival list. I don't recall how he got on -- I may have done it in some misguided spirit of generosity. I haven't received a request to remove him until now, and I gladly comply. In fact the act of deletion generated such a happy image, I took a screen shot:

Yeah, I'm really OK with that.

1Depending on how all this plays out I may end up writing "Tim Russo and I" (syntactical contrast intentional) to offer my side of the Russo/Pho drama, but I'll be happy if it doesn't come to that.

2This in itself is Bizarro World. Granted we don't see ourselves as others see us, but the charge that I take myself too seriously makes as much sense to me as the charge that I'm fat. And if you haven't met me, let's just say that the dimensions my daughter gave my avatar are distressing close to accurate.

3Admittedly the "dewey-eyed and idealistic" language is something of a sop to our conservative friends on the Carnival some of whom get howling fantods at the very notion that some property may be community owned.


Anonymous said...

I get a real kick out of how Tim blames Sherrod for dragging the skeleton out of the closet and that they somehow uncovered it during oppositing research. Of course, Tim's conviction was well-known in Cleveland political circles as soon as it happened. People in politics tend to have very good memories, which is why nobody had to go looking for any of this.

When Tim got into trouble, he fell off the face of the Earth. Evidently, he thought time would heal the wound. The problem is, people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Every time he pisses someone off, this is going to get thrown right back in his face.

Tim is really persona non grata in political circles, and this drives him nuts. He used to be an insider, but now is like a whiney three year-old with his nose pressed against the pane, desparately wanting to be a part of it all again.

Tim Ferris said...

It's interesting how all this is playing out -- I think I know the ending.

We'll have to talk some time. Off-line. Off the record.

bginley said...

of course mr MTB wants to tell this story OFF record - ask Gloria for your balls back tim and GO ON LINE and tell your sorry ass side of the story MTB-KICKSOUT-FOUNDERUSSO- you won't be smelling any better than you already do....on the record or off, you stink of old moldy cleveland

Tim Ferris said...

Bridget Ginley, you are so . . . predictable. Sometimes I wonder whether predictability should be the signature, the hallmark, of one who proclaims herself creative, an artist. How about some new material? Same goes for Tim Russo. There's nothing new, just the same old tired, pathetic ranting and complaining, from both of you. And, as I have said before, I guess it's good to know there are certain things we can all count on.

Best wishes in getting unstuck before you get further unhinged--but I would imagine it's hard to do anything productive on your own when you're so judgmental, so critical, about what others do.

I'd also imagine it's getting more and more difficult to get anybody to collaborate with you, and you need to face up to the fact that you're making it all possible.