The other day I created a Facebook page for this blog and sent out invitations. Imagine my non-surprise to receive this posted on my timeline for all to see:
Thank you for the invitation to like your blog page. However, I will not, because I don't like it. I don't think its humorous or nice. Socially flogging members of the community that you have a beef with (some of whom are my friends) in a thinly veiled satire and borderline libelous manner is not going to gain you the respect you so desperately seem to be seeking...it might gain you a little attention-but not the good kind. I don't know why you would want to waste your talent on writing nasty and disparaging blogs....there is so much better material out there.
I call that self-centered.
What’s wrong with socially flogging members of the community who in any other town wouldn’t be trusted to walk a pitbull?
In subsequent communications, this same person sent a thinly veiled threat that I may be sued for libel for my satiric fictional blog.
After you read the following from the Sullivan County Democrat, please tell me whether my satirical blog of fictional characters is more libelous than this true newspaper article:
Story by Dan Hust
KAUNEONGA LAKE — October 25, 2013 — Mounting her second bid for Bethel’s supervisor seat, Judith Maidenbaum is even less enamored of incumbent Dan Sturm than when she first ran against him two years ago.
“‘Cause he’s still doing the same dirty politics,” she charged on a warm autumn day outside her Fat Lady Café in her hometown of Kauneonga Lake.
Maidenbaum, in fact, is disgusted with a range of town officials, calling one a liar, another a b----, and still another a drug addict, while deeming the appearance and actions of a town constable to resemble that of a Nazi.
That hasn’t garnered her friends at Town Hall, but Maidenbaum’s not interested in their approval.
In fact, she finds it ironic that she’s chastised for her outspokenness but Sturm’s actions toward her go uncriticized – including a comment she says he told her after she complained about milfoil (an invasive plant species) in Kauneonga Lake’s waters.
“He told me to shove the milfoil up my a--,” she recalled.
But her biggest gripe with Sturm these days is what she terms his “selective prosecution of the law” regarding parking tickets in front of her café.
Controversy erupted this summer over a slew of parking tickets handed out to cars parked near the café, where the road narrows. Maidenbaum said the situation can easily be fixed by shifting the stripes painted on the county route to better accommodate cars, but the town board has instead opted to create a no-parking zone there.
“Ten years I’m here, and I never had a problem with parking!” Maidenbaum related. “... The parking issue came after I said I was running. ... He [Sturm] tickets me because I’m running against him.”
It’s a charge Sturm denies, but Maidenbaum has reason not to believe him, pointing out that he was at the nearby firehouse on recent weekends, monitoring and, she says, directing constables to ticket cars parked in front of her restaurant.
“How come they didn’t outlaw parking in front of Gerry’s place [a pizzeria up the road]? Or the funeral home?” she fumed. “... This is how ‘justice’ is done here. It’s so small and so petty, and they never deal with the big stuff.”
Why not take the town to court then? After all, she lost the last supervisor’s race she ran against Sturm.
“I don’t get my voice heard unless I run,” Maidenbaum explained, noting that after she made fracking an issue in her last campaign, Sturm and the town board passed a set of anti-fracking regulations.
“The election cost me nothing,” she added. “Taking them to court will cost thousands and thousands of dollars.”
She is planning to initiate litigation, however, if the parking situation isn’t resolved to her satisfaction.
“I don’t want to sue them until I see what the county does,” Maidenbaum explained.
She’s a taxpayer too, and she’s eager to lessen, not increase, the tax burden on town residents.
Her solution, however, involves replacing the current assessor, whom she charges is part of the “good ‘ol boys club” in town leadership posts.
“Nepotism is the first thing that goes,” Maidenbaum promised. “I want open, transparent government.”
Like in her last supervisor campaign, she’s also still advocating for a surcharge on Bethel Woods tickets – though she’s upped it from $1 to $2 per ticket.
“Bethel Woods barely pays anything here,” Maidenbaum charged. “They’re great for the town, and I support them, but I feel they could be greater.”
Lower taxes would also be more attractive to families, she added.
Running on her own Fat Lady line, Maidenbaum is determined to oust Sturm, whom she accuses of “killing the whole spirit of the town” as supervisor.
Like the last time, she knows it will be an uphill battle, though Maidenbaum is not the type to give up.
“I have a lot of supporters,” she noted, “but they don’t vote here.”
Sturm, on the other hand, is entrenched in local politics, she said, citing the Bethel Democratic Committee’s endorsement of Sturm before the primary (which she lost).
While Sturm argued that her run was announced after the endorsement, Maidenbaum said she was told the Committee “forgot” to publish a cutoff date for seeking its endorsement.
“I’m not a politician,” Maidenbaum explained of being caught by surprise. “I was busy running my café!”
Now 69, Maidenbaum continues to operate her well-regarded restaurant but has closed her psychoanalysis business in Manhattan, so she feels ready to take on the full-time demands of the supervisor’s office.
“I can do it,” she affirmed. “I’m a workaholic.”
Getting back to the FB message, insofar as the “respect” I so “desperately” seek - WRONGO! I got the respect of my peers, literary critics and my circle. Trust me, I don’t want or solicit the respect of someone who consorts with bullies and cabalists who already ganged up on me years ago.
As my mother used to say, “There’s always the ‘off’ button,” meaning, if something bothers you, then don’t do it. Just don’t read my blog! Please. I beg you!
If this means that I’ll be socially ostracized, well, so be it. I’m not here for a popularity contest. The PURPOSE of this blog is to SELL BOOKS! And social satire is what I do.
In fact, the person who wrote that message never bought any of my books. Insofar as those friends, neither did they. They’ve gone out of their way to ensure no one in my town, let alone my county knows that I’m a novelist.
Until recently. I do thank them for being my promotional campaign. As my mother used to say, “You can’t buy PR like this!"
There was one glimmer of a positive note in that message: the person acknowledged my talent.
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PS: What people don’t realize is that the more the push, outcry and threats about my blog, the more known it becomes. This translates to clicks and additional income for me. It also helps sell my books and instrumental towards making me mainstream. From the bottom of my heart, I thank them!
Stats as of May 19, 2014:
Blog Readers: 52,094
Google+ Profile Views: 96,815 (up 300 views from two hours’ earlier)
Hubpage Readers: 68,806
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