Har Har…You’re Fired!

Like Jerry Reed in The Waterboy, the hubris of The Nashville Scene knows no bounds. After a weeklong silence, the Ivory Tower comes back mad as hell and letting everybody know that “har-har – yer still fired!”:

A Web of Conflicts

by Liz Garrigan

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

Open mic is every Wednesday afternoon. Remember to tip your waitress.

That’s because a poor blogging sap who’d made his bed—only to be snugly tucked in by the Scene—lost his job at Belmont University last week. 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).

So much for the cooler head of The Editor who doesn’t recognize her weekly’s constant denigration of Christians, Baptists or any other protestant fringe group that doesn’t subscribe to the Utne Reader.

On to the hit piece’s original author who has heretofore been as quiet as a Mosque Mouse:

Blogged to Death

Bill Hobbs gets canned and—surprise!—bloggers everywhere are opining
by John Spragens

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. The story of Hobbs’ demise in the Belmont University public relations department and subsequent ascension into right-wing blogger martyrdom made headlines in Tennessee and waves in all sorts of Internet circles, including those of clubby local bloggers, conservative national ones and net-surfers with an eye toward happenings in higher education.

Certainly, the whole affair raises issues worth debating. Is an ersatz journalist with mainstream media credentials a fair target? What if he’s prominent in some political circles and, by day, a paid representative of a local university? Can he be fired for his private statements? If an anti-Muslim cartoon is drawn in the blogospheric forest and few people read it, does it still offend? Can an alt-media journalist on his way to work for a centrist politician point out conservative Muslim-bashing when he sees it? And, most importantly, isn’t karma a bitch?

So far, this is the biggest thought stolen from brittney’s repertoire yet. For Spragens to contend that Karma has “come around”, what exactly did Hobbs do that warranted termination? If an unrecognizable stick figure that requires a footnote at the bottom to tell you what it is becomes the new standard for offensive speech, well we all might as well just leave free speech to the people who can afford attorneys. Better yet, to the professionals.

But over the past week, the Scene has learned a few lessons, and like Hobbs, we’ll paint with a broad, provocative brush here. First, bloggers want media attention until they get it. Second, many of them are far more reactive than the angry Muslims we feared would storm our offices after we took Bill’s challenge and published a hateful Mohammed caricature in our newspaper.

First off, The Scene never learns anything except to be more careful about promoting ads for Prostitution in it’s backpages that pay the apple martini bill. Once again invoking the real terrorists are the conservative bloggers meme.

The schadenfreude that The Scene continues to exhibit in spite of the overkill and firepower they aimed at Hobbs is indicative of Hobbs greater point before he backpedaled on publishing the cartoons.

Publishing the cartoon in the United States is not controversial. It’s like the old adage about yelling fire in a movie theater. Someone yells “fire!” on a personal web page and people don’t start trampling each other to get to the doors. Likewise, the original Danish cartoons were published two months before the burning of embassies took place and while the cartoons were used as an excuse for the riots, the true motivation was the radical Islamic fascism that sent cartoonists to their drafting desks in the first place and subsequently into hiding for fear of their lives. It would seem that the Islamofascists and The Nashville Scene have a de facto alliance when it comes to this issue. Bent on the same result and equally unapologetic.

One beheads you with a sword and the other with a barrel of ink.

So remember this the next time you speak out against the Scene on their website (or at home, in private, at the dinner table). They are perfectly willing to destroy a (semi) private citizen to suit their partisan ends. And then laugh about it while libeling you as a bigot.

They were kind enough to list some local businesses stupid enough to advertise with them that they’d like you to boycott.


  1. Pingback: IMAO
  2. So, now conservatives are the creators of this supposed shit-storm too?

    They sure give us lowly forms of life an awful lot of credit.

    But, you know, Karma is a bitch. And it’s bound to bite Sprakens in the ass 100 fold.

    And I will be there.

  3. This comment really confuses me: “…juvenile, anti-Muslim Internet speech”. I suppose it has to be pro-mooslimb to be protected. And I suppose the logical arguments for the protection of one’s life against a crazed death-cult, and the comments related to the danger of arm-pumping maniacs doing the monkey-dance around a downed American aircraft are “juvenile”.
    We are at war. The supporters of islamic tyranny want you dead. Dead. With your wounds gaping and your pain firmly planted in their minds. They will remember your death warmly as they pursue their oppression and seek to kill other innocents.
    Piss be upon moo-hammy and the pig he sleeps with. How about that for “juvenile”?
    The islamic tyrants will be calmed only when one of two things happen:
    -They are victorious over the appeasment pussies that seem to call the shots.
    -A big, bright orange ball appears over their holy land.
    We are at war. Pick a side.

    Dan Patterson
    Arrogant Infidel

  4. The Scene’s rants are significant for what they don’t mention. First, they fail to allude to their repeated mentions of Hobbs’ employer last week. Then they ignore Mike Kopp’s imaginary friends. The great conspiracy between the Bryson for Governor Campaign and the New Milosevic, Bill Hobbs, doesn’t get much ink.

    “Hubris” is much too kind as it implies a modicum of awareness. “Blissful ignorance” is more like it.

  5. I guess I’m just disappointed that I gave Garrigan more credit and respect than she deserved. She went on to criticize the Tennessean for not quoting her, also ignoring that they never bothered to speak with Hobbs before they ran with their story.

    Between giving that weak backstory about how Hobbs had rightly criticized Spragens 6 years before that that somehow justifies them using their paper to make it even. It’s not like Sprag got kicked out of school for what Hobbs wrote.

    Or that Hobbs is such a prolific commenter/ator that they could easily establish his “anti-Muslim” credentials other than a stick figure drawing. Quote him. Post it. Show us this legendary prejudice that should be in ample supply from their archives and his. But they didn’t. Because there is none.

    They went with a smear and stuck with that route. What you can’t see in the online version is that on Sprag’s piece (on Deadtree) is at the top of the column it says “Their 15 Minutes” and then he nicknames himself “Hit Man” in the byline.

  6. “She went on to criticize the Tennessean for not quoting her”

    Grandiosity is not uncommon in Garrigan’s trade. I wasn’t let down because the Nashville Scene–at least when I lived where it was available–was little more than a few high school bullies who told fart jokes between strutting the halls.

    “Between giving that weak backstory about how Hobbs had rightly criticized Spragens 6 years before that that somehow justifies them using their paper to make it even.”

    Although the Scene hit job hardly amounted to a libel action, this makes it seem like Spragens had stalked Hobbs for revenge. Like everyone else, I assumed this was a typical alt-weekly that conducted a political smear after a hack fed a story to a friendly reporter with similar economic and political interests. This made me wonder whether Spragens instead of Kopp launched the whole charade.

    “Show us this legendary prejudice that should be in ample supply from their archives and his. But they didn’t. Because there is none. ”

    Truth didn’t matter here.

    “What you can’t see in the online version is that on Sprag’s piece (on Deadtree) is at the top of the column it says “Their 15 Minutes” and then he nicknames himself “Hit Man” in the byline.”

    Spragens is young, so I give him a bit of a pass. However, his editors should be past their glory days at the Podunk University Tattler and have some skills developed. Then again, fart jokes continue to appeal to the shallow even after they become grandparents.

  7. The Scene columns are a distraction from the political machinations at work here. As I posted previously, the alt-weekly’s scandals and ethical lapses are legend. What matters is the motivation. I can only conclude that Kopp and Spragens acted either formally or informally on behalf of the Bredesen campaign. That campaign would be advised to put as much distance as possible between itself and those two–unless, of course, the connections already exist and cannot be denied.

  8. As I wrote in my post about this, I think Garrigan is terrified that you Nashville bloggers are rapidly proving they have more juice in Nashville’s public conversation than her rag could ever hope to achieve. Attacking Hobbs–since he had a fairly large profile among the local bloggers–was a way of fighting back against the Scene being less relevent to the Nashville conversation.

    As soon as a local version of “Craigslist” hits Nashville, her rag is gonna have to close up shop.

  9. LeatherPenguin:

    “Attacking Hobbs–since he had a fairly large profile among the local bloggers–was a way of fighting back against the Scene being less relevent to the Nashville conversation.”

    Hobbs has postulated a theory that bloggers pose a threat to the alternative media, largely because they will replace it. I think it has some merit. Hobbs was a person who was widely liked and disliked but well known in the local blogosphere, so any attack on him was bound to bring a large response. I do think the Scene (and many others, to be frank) was surprised by its magnitude.

  10. My final analysis, now that the Scene has removed the Hobbs story from its lame website:

    This story was near an end, although the churlish and juvenile Spragens and Garrigan columns gave it a bit more life. The one question that remains unanswered, and could ignite this firestorm again, is whether the Bredesen campaign had any links to this smear. The Mike Kopp connection is fishy but doesn’t prove the Bredesen campaign authorized a hit.

    So unless something new comes out I guess at this point we can debate winners, losers, and collateral damage.


    Jim Bryson. I had no idea Bryson had entered the governor’s race until this exploded. What could have been a negative event actually cast Bryson as a very sympathetic character and gave him a helpful degree of name recognition.

    Tennessee bloggers. Regardless of their politics, these gadflys are a force to be reckoned with and have been for some time. The statewide blogosphere will be a major factor in the upcoming election.

    The Nashville Tennessean. Oddly, this media dinosaur looked good after the dust settled. Lined up against its wannabe alternative opponent, the Tennessean actually looked damned good and almost created nostalgia for a time when print journalism ruled. OK, not, but you get my drift.


    Bill Hobbs. He lost a job, and to be frank, quite a bit of face when he furiously backpedaled from a legitimate issue he raised. Bill will rapidly recover, though.

    Mike Kopp. Pushing the cartoon story to tarnish a political opponent was legitimate even if slimy. Yet it was Kopp’s reaction to criticism, wherein he created what is widely believed to be a fictional story about neighborhood Muslim children, that will follow him the rest of his career. Fortunately for Kopp, he had an established reputation and probably will recover.

    The Nashville Scene. After the alternative weekly was purchased by the Village Voice, many thought it would shake off a reputation for scandal and shoddy work as well as a preference for satire over investigative journalism. Alas, Spragens and Garrigan are more the symptoms than the cause of the paper’s further decline, possibly brought on by a distant corporate management that has witnessed the flagship weekly also go into the tank.


    The Bredesen campaign. Many assumed that the appearance of any opponent on the ballot would at least hold Bredesen’s margin of victory way down. As noted above, until this flap few knew Jim Bryson was on the ballot. Republicans and many others who looked for a rationale not to vote for the governor have found it, and what was to be a cakewalk is now a contest.

    Rep. Jim Cooper. Incumbent U.S. representatives rarely are defeated, and this one will not lose any time soon. Nonetheless, congressmen who are out of sight and out of mind have the easiest time of it. Because of his association with one of the principles, Cooper is in the public eye to some degree. He will at least have to go through the motions of a campaign in the future.

    Belmont. This venerable institution suffered the most collateral damage. It was damned if they did, damned if they didn’t, and the perceived better choice for them proved not to be. The damage will be short-lived, though.

    For me, the story is dead. It will take more than a couple of infantile Scene columns to make me revisit it.

  11. jay?

    It’s the other way around. The Village Voice didn’t buy anybody out; THEY got bought out by the upstarts at “New Times.” For some totally un-progressice reason, the new junta decided “WE NEED TO MAKE MONEY” is greasing their skid.

  12. There we go. mrs. smantix got the bright idea that after I got through with working from 6 in the morning till 8 at night, that it would be great fun to come home to a driveway full of mulch blocking her garage door.

    You see, dumping it anywhere else on my ample lot would be a pain in the ass.

    5 wheelbarrows down.

    Only 15 more to go!

  13. Jay, you forgot another LOSER:

    The peaceful religion of islam.

    It was forever damaged by Hobbs’ brutal stick-figure drawing, which made a mockery of moo-hammed the pedophile pimp. In fact, the barely-seen comic may, in fact, give the religion a bad name world-wide through its brazen mockery.

    Heh. Religion of peace. Heh.

  14. Jay – from what I can tell, the Scene still has all of it’s stories up.

    As Hobbs is not fighting this in the court of public opinion (that’s pretty much settled law), I’m in the same boat.

    The only people who are still pimping for their actions are the ones who hope to have a job with them after their temporary blogging stint ends because no other professional outfit outside of a waitressing gig would have them.

  15. PTH:

    Yes, of course. What a long line of popes, brutal crusades, fingernail polish, and satellite television couldn’t accomplish, one stick figure Mohammed did–it vanquished Islam from the planet.

    Smantrix–The weblog entry about Hobbs is down in that fever swamp. As far as waitressing, for many it is a professional gig.

  16. Right Jay. The Inquisition continues in 2006, doesn’t it? Just a reminder for those who seek to justify islam’s tendency towards violent jihad, it’s 2006. The attempted equivocation doesn’t hold water. But if it makes you feel better about those you’ve aligned yourselves with, have at it.

  17. Yes, the Berkely burqua brigage has been on full display here in Nashvlle the last two weeks. Anyway, I’m about to have some fries with that karma and get the hell out of town for the weekend. I do intend to profile stick figures while at the airport.

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