The anony bloggers behind the Not Thomas Wolfe blog have suddenly called it quits. The blog, which had started to create a stir among local political bloggers and politicos in general, had a sharp wit and a sharp tongue for a few Scrutiny Hooligans. In the end, though, it was all a joke. And a big pain, apparently, if we’re reading the closing post correctly.
Here’s a snippet:
Not Thomas Wolfe began one month ago as a joke played on a close friend. As many people in this provincial southern town often do, she had grown despairing that there would ever be the kind of intelligent, rough and tumble political debate and analysis she knew from larger cities.
It was not so much one particularly embarrassing "high school government drama pagaent at City Hall" (as NTW called it in one of the first posts) that sent my friend’s morale into the French Broad River. It was the terrible realization the next day that no one was going to report, comment, critique, lampoon or even utter one word in acknowledgement about it. Ever.
So, a character called Not Thomas Wolfe mysteriously appeared a few days later, proving that she was not alone. The joke lasted less than a week before she figured it out. But oh, we had fun.
But like a puppy for Christmas, Not Thomas Wolfe was more than fun, it was a mouth to feed. I was the one who had to feed it, and house-train it, and take it out for walks. And I’m not a real dog person. I set my sights on election day 2007 as our last hurrah, and decided in the meantime I could justify devoting an hour or two a night, learn about "blogging" and see what happened.
In the short life of Not Thomas Wolfe, there were some highlights. The flaming Ellington and the flaming arguments with neighbohood interests… torturing Brownie Newman and Robin Cape a little bit… pro-development liberals finally having a place to vent their pent-up frustration at the dominant pro-neighborhood liberals…. comforting and amusing a few frustrated souls in the political sandbox with fake Republican campaign memos, Democratic party emails and a candidate profile…. and our last post, a small attempt to keep the Asheville High dropout report alive. In some small way, it seemed like the forum we always wished someone else would host.
I’d be less than honest here not to acknowledge one event that shaved yet a few more days off of our final broadcast date. A local website conducted surveillance as NTW joined in the discussion on their site, capturing an IP address and publishing that it was the same one another individual had posted from. A chill came over that other individual (yes, I was there and saw it), and then another. These folks were just beginning to get excited at the idea that cyberspace was bigger than Mayberry and that, even though they had jobs that kept them from speaking freely, they could go online anonymously and participate without having to worry about being "outed." But being watched online by private citizens is even more chilling to most people than knowing the Department of Homeland Security is spying on you, especially in a small town. To be clear, no blogger intimidated NTW (and they probably didn’t give it enough thought to have meant to). But what had started as a lark was now really just stupid, and it was clearly time to, as the website says, moveon. We hope the "bloggers" will miss us in some small way and maybe argue amongst themselves in our absence.
More importantly, if we’ve done nothing else, I hope that the next time an elected leader sits at the City Council dais and speaks righteously about the "viewshed," she will flinch just ever so slightly… or at least be more self-conscious thanks to Not Thomas. We know we’re vastly outnumbered. That would be enough.
Go here to read it all: http://www.notthomaswolfe.blogspot.com