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Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Clockwork Charlestown

By Linda Felaco

You may have noticed that Michael Chambers’s rambling, repetitive ruminations on Oppressive Charlestown are confined to two subjects that he erroneously conflates into one, albeit only when it suits whatever “point” he’s trying to make at the moment: Progressive Charlestown (i.e., us) and the Charlestown Democratic Town Committee (CDTC), a much larger group of which we don’t even constitute a quorum. 

For months now, he has been castigating the CDTC for not handing down a platform by diktat, apparently failing to grasp that being both Democratic and a committee, there’s a democratic committee process that must be followed and the platform committee is not obligated to perform on his schedule. 

Chambers should know that unlike Republicans, Dems don’t all march in lockstep and that achieving consensus among Dems is best described as akin to herding cats[1]. And that we Dems are deferential to each other to a fault and nobody wants to put words in anybody else’s mouth, which can have the unfortunate result that nobody says much of anything of any substance[2].

You’d also think Chambers would have somewhat of a grasp of the generally glacial time scales committees operate at seeing as how he attended all those long, long months of meetings that it took for the Charter Revision Advisory Committee to come up with its list of harebrained proposals, only to have several of them ultimately be shot down. And a good thing, too, since those proposals were largely designed to do “payback” on town institutions that Chambers and his wife Donna (the actual CRAC member) felt were responsible for the Whalerock wind farm proposal[3].

Yet while insisting that Progressive Charlestown is the true house organ of the CDTC, he has for some reason confined his search for the CDTC platform to the CDTC website. Apparently, actually talking to a Democrat is too scary of a prospect.

His other recurring theme is to castigate us Progressive Charlestown writers for our writing style, which is clearly not to his taste. He seems to particularly take issue with our references to classic films. My own approach to writers whose style I don’t care for is not to read them, but apparently someone is holding Chambers’s eyelids open like Malcolm McDowell’s in A Clockwork Orange and forcing him to read the blog.

Case in point: His recent Chamberpot titled IMAGERY, in which he faults us for our allegedly “violent” imagery—without linking to a single example of what he claims we’ve been doing. Apparently, readers are just supposed to take his word on his descriptions of our writings and nod along knowingly. Whereas here on Progressive Charlestown, our policy has always been to link to original source material wherever possible—even when it’s on the CCA website.

Maybe Chambers considers it too risky to link to Progressive Charlestown. Obviously; someone might read the source material and draw a different conclusion than he did. That would appear to be a risk Mike and the CCA are not willing to take.[4]

But back to this supposed violent imagery. Chambers is clearly not a professional writer, so he can perhaps be forgiven his lack of familiarity with figures of speech, or maybe he missed school the day it was discussed in English class, but there’s a commonly used figure of speech called hyperbole in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect.

I just did it a few paragraphs ago, referring to A Clockwork Orange, which in addition to being a violent film is a film about violence. A reasonable reader would not think that I’m literally suggesting that Michael Chambers has been straitjacketed with wires holding his eyelids open and forced to read Progressive Charlestown. But then again, maybe he has. Who knows. What other explanation can there be for why he continues to read things he knows are going to make him angry.

Word of advice, Mike: Listen to your friends and find yourself some reading material that’s more to your taste. Or do like the CCA Steering Committee says and watch the stars and the birds. Clearly we just weren’t meant for each other. It’s ok, really. It’s not you, it’s us.

[1] Town Democrats don’t have the CCA’s “advantage” of having Ruth Platner decide the agenda at one of their secret clubhouse meetings.
[2] And BTW, Mike, this slow, deliberative process was one of the reasons why Tom and Will set up Progressive Charlestown—they wanted to be able to express their own opinions without having to go through that long process. It’s one reason why you’re so full of it to keep saying the CDTC and Progressive Charlestown are one and the same.
[3] This industrial wind farm project, frequently noted in my colleague Bob Yarnall’s WTF series, is currently tied up in court but is due for a decision soon.
[4] I must however thank Michael Chambers for managing in spite of himself to get me to revisit an excellent capsule summary of the “Kill Bill” campaign that Tom Ferrio wrote. Interested readers can find it here, since they won’t find it by reading Mike’s blog entry.