Saturday, December 10th, 2016

Wigderson and his critics

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Two Sound offs in the Waukesha Freeman (most days just 50 cents!) recently worth commenting on. I should add that I’ve received a number of emails and phone calls in the last week (mostly positive) about my blog posts regarding the mayor as well as my newspaper column this week, but I want to focus on these two comments.

The first is from Friday:

Wigderson and GuitarTown

Is it just me or do Jim Wigderson’s articles seem to be getting just downright silly? Clearly this guy is grasping to make a journalistic name for himself. However, it’s GuitarTown, not “GuitarGate,” Jim, and it happens to be one the better things to happen in our community in recent years.
Can you do some serious writing for once? Your column and your blog are getting bloated with bore. And as far as all the people donating their time on GuitarTown and other community projects, NICE WORK and THANK YOU for your positive contributions to our community.

The temptation is to note right away the belittling tone of the email to the newspaper. By calling me “Jim” instead of “James” the author is possibly trying establish their position of authority, even familiarity. But anyone that truly knows me knows “Jim” is about as foreign to me as calling me “Ishmael.”

But that’s a minor point, and whatever good feeling it generates in them pales in comparison to my satisfaction that despite my columns being “bloated with bore” our anonymous critic is hanging on every word.

Wigderson column

I have found Mr. Wigderson’s focus to be quite often “anti-Scrima.” That’s why it’s on the OPINION page. I don’t find his remarks as vitriolic as, say Mark Belling’s. Yet, he, too, has his favorite targets and I don’t hear objections to Belling’s right to an opinion-oriented column on the OPINION page. I found his most recent discussion about the secrecy and Mayor Scrima’s efforts to deny access to information to be levelheaded. Whether or not anyone approves of his writing style or subject matter is of little consequence. I think in this particular column he has shed light on the furtive energy put forth by the mayor to squash transparency on several fronts. When I read Wigderson at times I cringe a little – yeah, it’s obvious who he doesn’t like. I don’t let that prevent my recognition of his efforts to seek out the truth, and perhaps it is his animosity that motivates him to dig deeper. I can live with that. Can Mayor Scrima?
– Terry Hoefer

I would dispute that I have an animosity towards Mayor Jeff Scrima as much as I have an animosity towards being told things are none of my business. For example, I really did not have much of an interest in the GuitarTown story until an interesting question was brought to my attention. Had the mayor answered the initial email, I doubt I would have commented on GuitarTown at all until the ten foot guitars were unveiled. Even then it would have been as a critic, not as a political story. I’m still surprised by the “furtive energy” (Hoefer’s phrase) that the mayor and his friends put into shutting down any inquiry into GuitarTown, but it allowed a well-timed column to appear during Sunshine Week.

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