More on Hobbs, Moron Scene


The Scene has come out with their apologia for the Hobbs affair.  That’s not to say they are apologizing, but rather defending their actions.  First, John Spragens coughs up his sorry version of the deal.  Let’s hit the high points.

Turns out, when you write about bloggers, they write back. So it’s been one hell of a circle-jerk over the past week as computer jockeys around the country weighed in and inveighed upon the Bill Hobbs affair, both on the Scene’s blog and a few hundred others.

No shit, Johnny.  Did you have bloggers confused with MySpace creeps trolling for teenage girls?  Nice imagery, by the way, of a circle jerk composed of computer jockeys.  Going on the offensive right out of the box by painting your critics as masturbatory nerds was a nice touch. 

First, for those with day jobs, a quick recap of recent events.

Oh, snap.  No you di’nt!  Is that the right slang for a hip alt-weekly?  So, let me see if I got this right, people with day jobs wouldn’t have knowledge about this?  Sure, Hobbs doesn’t have a day job now, but he sure knew about it, so does anyone with a computer and internet connection at work. 

Is an ersatz journalist with mainstream media credentials a fair target?

Absolutely.  However, wouldn’t making more than just a half-assed attempt to contact your target been called for in this case?  Did you call him at work to get a reaction or send an email?  No, you called him at home.  The one place you knew he wouldn’t be as long as he still had that coveted "day job" we all long for.  Didn’t George Costanza pull that on someone?  So, now I’m confused.  Are you the ersatz journalist or is Hobbs?  Because a real journalist actually calls to get a reaction or statement, rather than blatantly avoiding it. 

What if he’s prominent in some political circles and, by day, a paid representative of a local university?

And…?  This "some political circles" must be code for something.  I don’t think Hobbs dresses like a bat and fights crime , so I’m stumped.  I guess we’re supposed to infer from this that being prominent in "some political circles" and being employed by a local university is a conflict of some sort.

Can he be fired for his private statements?

OOOOH!  OOOOH!  I know this one.  Yes, he can be fired if you continually link his employer to his private statements, thereby leaving the employer in the untenable position regarding said employment. 

If an anti-Muslim cartoon is drawn in the blogospheric forest and few people read it, does it still offend?

Much like the Danish cartoons, which put the issue into context,  the original publication and viewership was limited.  No one made a stink.  Not until some bright boy brought it to everyone’s attention, did people get killed.   Maybe they didn’t cover that in alt-media journalism school.

Can an alt-media journalist on his way to work for a centrist politician point out conservative Muslim-bashing when he sees it?

That kind of says it all, doesn’t it?  You definitely were on your way to work for your sycophantically self-described "centrist politician".  See, in non-alt-media journalism, they kind of stress mentioning things like, "Hobbs is a Republican stooge" and "Mike Kopp and John Spragens are Democrat stooges".  See how that illuminates the issue by clearly showing which side of the argument the players are on?  The way you have it written, you come off as centrist and moderate, while painting Hobbs and his "political circles" as being out on the fringe.  For all I know he’s a Black Panther or the Grand Lizard of the KKK.  Wait a minute!  I get it now!  You meant to write it like that.  My bad.  Well done.

And, most importantly, isn’t karma a bitch?

It sure is, but more on that later*. 

Spragen boss, the editor of the Scene, Liz Garrigan tossed her two rupees in the fray as well.   Let’s examine her talking points.

How many bloggers actually have jobs? We don’t know, except to say one fewer now than before.

Yes, thanks to you.  And, by the way,  love, love, love how you kids love to slam the bloggers.  You should be happy that this controversy has helped revive your moribund Pith in the Wind experiment.   Your Hobbs post had 260 comments last time I checked.  That’s 257 more comments than your incisive and well-timed views on American Idol.

Maybe he deserved it. Maybe he didn’t. But the Scene makes no apologies for exposing the juvenile, anti-Muslim Internet speech of Bill Hobbs, a “blog-based journalist” who has worked feverishly over the last few years to be regarded seriously, and whose political blog at one time saw serious Internet traffic (Political Notes, April 13).

The juvenile, anti-Muslim internet speech of Bill Hobbs has finally been revealed!  Let men and women from every nation join hands and thank the God of their choice that this demon hath been slain!  Of course, there isn’t a peep about the anti-Christian, four color, hate speech in that full page ad for the God art exhibit at Cheekwood.  I’m all in favor of taking shots at religion and their iconography, but this is just the lamest sort of hypocrisy.  Of course, Cheekwood BOUGHT a full page ad.  The Scene being a free weekly and all, dependent solely upon ad revenues, there is no way you can turn down the money that goes to pay your salary.  After all, you have bills to pay and mouths to feed.  Unlike Bill Hobbs.

Bill Hobbs is, to say the least, a, um, challenging personality. That is to say, a classic, difficult know-it-all without the charm to mitigate all that blowhard wisdom. Now, the Scene didn’t write about his controversial Mohammed cartoon because of that, but if you asked a journalism professor whether our point of view about Hobbs’ social skills constituted a conflict, he or she might well say yes. Also, if memory serves, he used to sell Amway products. Something about pyramid schemes raises a red flag.

Yeah, he’s a jerk.  Anyone who has spent any amount of time reading his stuff will concede that.  But the Amway slam?  Hobbs claims it was his girlfriend who was selling it.  We’ll call this a push.

John Spragens, the Scene scribe who penned last week’s Political Notes column about the Hobbs cartoon, (sort of) goes back a ways with Hobbs, it turns out. Back when Spragens was in high school at Hume-Fogg, he was quoted in The Tennesean about a local student rally supporting more education funding. Hobbs used the blogosphere to pick on the kid: “Umm…John, we ARE funding the school system to the tune of $400 million a year—about 40 PERCENT of the city’s entire budget…. I thought Hume Fogg was for smart kids.” That was in 2000, at which time Scene writer Matt Pulle—who would later comment on the situation at hand, calling Spragens’ work “authoritatively reported, sharp, irrefutable” and saying “Belmont has every right to let go of someone who acts like an idiot in public”—took Hobbs to task for picking on a high schooler.

Now we get to the real point of this whole tempest in a sweet-tea pot.  Spragens got his feelings hurt when he was a mere lad and has carried a grudge for years.  Kind of like Mandy Patinkin in The Princess Bride, "My name is John Spragens.  You insulted my writing.  Prepare to die."   In that case, I have to applaud.  I’m a big fan of revenge tales.  *This kind of payback is that bitchy karma Spragens was talking about.  I guess this means that Hobbs will now get a winning scratch off ticket.

Now, the denouement.  Spragens will go onto his new job.  Hobbs will get a new job.  Belmont is hiring, so someone will get that job.  The next Scene sponsored blogger meet-up will be fucking awkward, especially if no one shows up due to "job commitments".



8 Responses to “More on Hobbs, Moron Scene”

  1. brittney Says:

    Hey, you never got back to the karma is a bitch thing. Or did it go over my head?

  2. Exador Says:

    Wow, what a leftist bunch of pre-pubescent hacks run the Scene. I guess it is just like Creative Loafing.

  3. Sarcastro Says:

    Sorry. The karma being that Hobbs was a dick to Spragens six years ago, or so. Spragens paid Hobbs back in spades last week. That’s the karma I’m talking about. I should have made that connection more apparent.And, be sure to catch My Name Is Earl. Thursday nights on NBC. Check your local listings.

  4. Eric Says:

    A well conceived and executed rant with a "Princess Bride" reference? Your kung-fu is strong.

  5. jake goodman Says:

    Excellent takedown of another adventure in ersatz journalistic self-immolation. Maybe next week the Scene can link Amway to cancer and Jim Bryson.

  6. Ivy Says:

    Sarcastro, I think I love you. This post is spot-on.

  7. Peptodismal Says:

    Very nice job of turning the ivory towers of self-righteousness back into the mud wallows that they are. Five stars.

  8. Bob Says:

    Bill once wrote about Amway on his blog. Very critical of it.

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