H.U.S.H in the news.
I’d like to welcome all our readers from the Valley Advocate.
On Thursday October 13th the Valley Advocate ran this story.
Tom Vannah wrote the story based on a letter that I sent to him, which is essentially the same text of a previous post here on H.U.S.H. with the exception of the last paragraph which was replaced with this:
Personally, I am offended by CRUSH’s decision to capitulate to her bullying but that is not what is important and it is not why I write. I am writing in hopes that this would make for a story. I think it is indeed a good one something here about the story deserving the attention of a publication like The Advocate to give a well balanced account, something the daily newspapers do not have either the time for or interest in doing. When I talked to Mike Plaisance (the Republican reporter) I was let known that he did see the threatening email that Patti sent to the Chamber of Commerce and the Taxpayers Association. However, the way that the Republican handled the story it only dealt with nuance and some of the drama. It did not go into what I think is the real story which is a government official using threats and bullying to suppress legitimate public speech because it was criticism and satire directed at her.
I am pleased to see the image in print. The story does hit to the heart of the matter but does seem to leave out a bit of detail. We were supposed to speak about the article before it went to press. I was away for the weekend and when Mr Vannah contacted me I was not in an environment that would have allowed discussion. We were not able to connect when I tried to get back to him and then it was past deadline. I did want to discuss my reasons for the image and what I thought of the C.R.U.S.H. admin peeing in their boots in the face of baseless threats, but alas, that did not happen.
I have had a number of dialogs in person, in email and on Facebook about Mr Vannah’s comments over publication and submissions at the Valley Advocate. He says:
That said, the Valley Advocate doesn’t publish every word or image that its staff or freelance correspondents produce or that it receives from outside sources. The material that makes it into the paper each week has survived fairly rigorous scrutiny; in the end, we reject far more —endless press releases; mountains of op-ed pieces; scads of political cartoons; product pitches; a suprising number of unsolicited manuscripts and artworks from fledgling writers; staff-written pieces that need more work before they’ll see the light of day—than we accept.
I have heard people say that this is a parallel to the idea that CRUSH is a publisher or has editorial control over the content. I don’t read it as such. I cannot speak directly to what Mr Vannah’s intent was here but I do think that the next paragraph speaks quite clearly:
So when I heard about the troubles of Holyoke artist James Bickford and the decision by the activist group Citizens for the Revitalization and Urban Success of Holyoke (C.R.U.S.H.) to remove a series of his images from its public forum, claiming that the images constituted a form of “harrassment,” I groaned. I suspected that although Bickford’s images would fall completely under the protection of the First Amendment, they would also be highly offensive, perhaps lewd and probably gratuitous. I braced myself for the disagreeable job of defending something disagreeable.
He’s saying that the images were valid and he puts “scare quotes” around “harassment” (and later “harassing”) because they were indeed not. The Steering Committee had a disclaimer that Libel and Harassment were reasons to delete content. My work was not harassment but the Steering Committee called it so to fit with the disclaimer. They had no reason to censor. Mr Vannah’s comments on the publishing of the story was the result of his finding humor in the images when his expectation was that C.R.U.S.H. deleted something that was offensive.
That is all for now.