I’M VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY, DISAPPOINTED IN YOUR TWEETS
I’ve been following @prairiedogmag on twitter for a while now, and I was very disappointed recently to see a few tweets sent out under this handle.
After the wastewater treatment referendum on Sept. 25th at 9:29, the tweet “So there’s 21,025 skeptical, free- thinking, engaged citizens in this city. Pretty fucking stoked about that. That’s enough to work with.” was sent out by the @prairiedogmag handle.
Naturally there was some reaction, some hateful, some otherwise. @RobVArmstrong I thought was fairly cordial when he said “Holy shit. Give it a rest. The majority voted No, don’t make assumptions about what kind of people they are.”
Rather than realize that the original tweet was perhaps offside in assuming that all who voted contrary to the beliefs of the poster were non-free-thinkers, the response was simply: “Nah, we’ll keep talking and having opinions, thanks. Unfollow if you don’t like it! :)”
Yes, Prairie Dog Twitter person, you do have your right to your opinion as an individual and you have the right to express that opinion. But I do not think that it’s wise to act in such a way as to belittle people based on their opinion on public financing.
It’s very closed-minded to judge people based on one yes or no answer.
It’s also bad form to be so dismissive, as you were to @RobVArmstrong, and not try to engage in a conversation.
Further, my understanding of journalism is that it is an attempt to objectively and neutrally report on events. Now it is only natural to have a bit of a slant or bias on some issues, but your goal as a journalist/editor/worker-for-a-magazine should be to remove that bias from your writing/reporting.
I think when you tweet remarks as you did, and are completely devoid of remorse as you were, you show that you aren’t interested in both sides of the story, nor finding the objective truth.
Not only is that bad form as a journalist, but it’s also counter to the ideals of free-thinking.
Mitchel Sherar, Regina
THE VILE PERPETRATOR RESPONDS: Hullo Mitchel, thanks very much for the letter. I’m the author of the offending Tweets. You’re right: they were snotty, flippant and made absurd overgeneralizations.
But there is a method to my obnoxious madness.
That tweet was specifically meant to cheer up the 21,000 people who voted Yes and were, as a group, crushingly disappointed with their city after the referendum vote. How disappointed? You should see my Facebook feed: people are devastated and they’re all talking about moving.
Regina is a tough place to live for people with progressive politics. If you’ve read Prairie Dog over the years you’ll be familiar with a never-ending stream of bad public policy — off the top of my head: school closures, demolition of affordable rental units during a housing crisis, committed and talented civil servants being fired for shadowy reasons, attacks on public art galleries, attempts to close libraries, disregard for heritage architecture, more disregard for heritage architecture, lack of public consultation on public projects, short-sighted developers undermining sound urban planning principles and now a semi-privatized wastewater facility.
It’s a huge bummer for a lot of people, and on Sept. 25, 21,000 people who’ve been repeatedly punched in the face by this town collectively asked themselves why they live in a place that appears to hate them.
Hopefully, my dumb little Tweet gave them a good reason to stay: each other.
As for Rob Armstrong, I think his “give it a rest” snipe is redonkulous. Public engagement doesn’t end just because a referendum is over.
While Regina will have its next sewage plant managed by a private company (which I still think is alarming), there will be other projects that might require similar activism. /Stephen Whitworth
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