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Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Greatness of Don

It's time to congratulate Don Harrison on his many accomplishments since the founding of Save Richmond, six years old somewhere around today. That was a different era for me, a mere four and a half years old and many thousands of readers less. Back then I had approximately one or two readers, myself and the occasional family member. There were perhaps others, but I had no statistics nor contacts to tell if anyone noticed. Probably not.

I had heard of Save Richmond, the much feared enemy of the VAPAF as CenterStage was called then. Since SR appeared in the daily paper time and again I assumed it must be a formidable force to challenge the will of the cabal that secretly ran Richmond. I was a bit reticent at the time and wholly uniformed of the actual wizard behind the curtain. In principal, I am for the performing arts and in favor of almost any effort to "save Richmond" from obscurity, so naturally I was in total disagreement with "Save Richmond". I thought it was a sad day when they demolished the 6th Street Marketplace, having little knowledge of the great hopes that built it and the grand failure that followed. To me it was a beautiful bridge and a bit of retail that I hoped would take hold. I still miss the bridge. There have been very few bold gestures since.

Save Richmond is six and congratulations are in order. I'd line up to give my respects, but SR is a closed fortress and even the semblance of input is an overfilled mailbox that will not accept email. I have the good fortune to have received personal correspondence and have a direct pipeline to from "the Donald" (thanks Paul Goldman), but I fully hope that he will read about it here.

When I started doing this seriously, I was surprised to see respectable people bending over and kissing his ass. I was more surprised to learn that the emperor had no clothes. Even a long time partner in crime criticized him before surrendering to the dark side. I have searched in vain for the post where Jon Baliles chided the Save Richmond crowd for its negativity. I read it and believe he would back me up on this. On Slantblog I took him on over the Gwen Hedgepath scandal and expected a bit more fire, but he rolled over and admitted that he had nothing on Bill Pantele, which I already knew. I challenged him for evidence and he couldn't provide it. No clothes.

I never meant to make Save Richmond one of my favorite targets, but no one else was. Never one to pass up an opportunity I took the field for myself. There are very few people I have enmity towards, but Don is one of them. I have seen him slander and vilify one person after another, including friends. He is in love with his prose and writes reams of copy. I have always believed in making a point and leaving it there, but I digress. Let us list his many accomplishments as stated in his sixth anniversary statement.
  1. Starting a civil war in the arts community. He claims to speak for the "grassroots" community. Many don't even know his name. Some outright resent him.
  2. Selectively citing stories, including his own, that support his arguments.
  3. Publishing an unremittingly negative blog about Richmond. You'd think this was the most backward and corrupt city in the country. Not even close.
  4. Staging a personal vendetta against his celebrity enemies. I'm too insignificant to be on that. I have one obscure hyperlink on Save Richmond and a few anonymous references.
    (I am usually referred to as "some folks".)

There have been no real accomplishments. Everything he opposed still stands. Richmond has moved on in spite of him. But here it is, another 1,900 word essay on the greatness of Don. I just can't pass up an easy target. If I don't do it, who will, Paul Goldman?

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Jocelyn Plums said...

The only thing I dislike about SaveRichmond is the lack of comments. It's counterproductive, and there's no excuse for it.

Other than that I think Don is an effective and interesting writer. He is successful in his mission because he raises awareness. That's the best way of inspiring others to do their part.

Phil said...

Gee, Paul, you really hate Save Richmond? How could anyone ever tell? Jocelyn is right. Sounds like blogger jealousy on your part because SR actually has impact and influence while your blog seem to wallow in nowhere and offers little to think about. At least you post regularly.

Paul Hammond said...


I don't hate Don, I just don't like him, but I have an open mind. Politics makes strange bedfellows, but don't expect to see me and Don in the same bed.

I don't think Jocelyn accused me of anything, but she did express a different point of view. I also think she's got a thing for "the Donald".

Yes I do post regularly. Thank you for noticing. Unlike some people, I try change it up everyday. Too much politics makes Paul a dull boy.

Phil said...

I didn't say Jocelyn accused anyone of anything, I said she was right - SR is effective and interesting and raises awareness. Three things that your blog is not.

You seem to always attack others - or Don at least (and maybe hate is too strong), yet you offer little defense of those things being attacked.

Paul Hammond said...

Hate is too strong a word.

I do jump on Don often. I think he deserves it for reasons mentioned here and elsewhere. I think does real damage and somebody should point that out. If somebody else wants the job, I'm willing to share.

Don hasn't posted anything recently that wasn't about Ukrops, CenterStage, CAPS or the supposed war against the arts He never gives two sides of anything and never publishes a comment.

Sorry you don't like the blog. As Terry Rea says about SlantBlog, "It's not for everyone."

Phil said...

Isn't a blog really just a personal journal? Why can't Don or you or anyone else write about what they want to write about and who says that you are the arbiter of what is balanced? I can't really find real rebuttal in your posts to what Don or anyone else says other than you disagree and think they are unfair, etc. Your blog WOULD be more effective if you offered substantive defense rather than cry about it all the time.

Paul Hammond said...


A blog is about whatever you want it to be. You will notice that my last ten posts are entirely personal. My blog is part personal journal, part political opinion.

I am absolutlely not the final arbitor of anything. I provide harsh, but fair, criticism of Don and Save Richmond. In some cases I just make fun of him, but in most cases I am far less harsh and petty than he is. That's my opinion. Here you get to express yours too.

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