AND THE ANGELS SANG!
And the sun burst through the clouds. As the newsflash I’ve been waiting for, for almost three years, lifted my heavy heart and brought a huge smile. Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss are history. Removed from their painfully incompetent stewardship of the Lakers. Kicked out the back door like the dogs they are. Dr. Jerry Buss can stop spinning in his sarcophagus. Hope is alive. I can root for the Lakers again. Maybe, even, the magic will return.
YOU DON’T WANT ME NEXTDOOR
Well, some people don’t. At least one person. Maybe only one person.
I regularly post this weekly column to a handful of relevant Facebook pages, and to Nextdoor, the neighborhood social networking site. Unless I’ve been considerably pointed in goring someone’s sacred ox (?!), I have no problems with Facebook, nor the admins of those pages.
Nextdoor, I’m toast.
In this day of not creeping but galloping fascism, it seems some folks are more than happy to lay down their re-reading of Orwell and point the finger at their neighbor. “He’s being political! Not here! Off with his head! At least lock him up!
Oh, okay, start with deleting those terrible words he wrote. Now!!”
As anonymous as the process is there, it’s pretty fast. Last week, two hours after I got a notice that my post had been reported, with no further explanation, with no response from me, with no due process — my post of my column was removed. Talk about instant karma.
When you get your notice from Big Bro… uh, The Nextdoor Team, they inform you that: 1) your neighbor reported you; 2) which Nextdoor Community Guideline your neighbor accused you of violating (mine lately is “Be Helpful, Not Hurtful” — I have to point out that I get a lot of “thanks,” and notes about how helpful what I posted was); 3) messages that violate the Guidelines will be removed; 4) your neighborhood Leads have been asked to review whether your message complies with the Guidelines.
But, “This report may simply indicate that another member has misinterpreted either your message or the Guidelines.”
Here’s where it gets
SUBJECTIVE, VAGUE, MYSTERIOUS
You don’t know who your accuser is. By chance I found out one time. That person seems to hate a lot of people, passionately, and I am probably one of them. It may be that same person every time, who knows? It only takes one anonymous, lurking, smirking, stinky, stupid, perverted, evil troll. (Oops. Got a little carried away there.
It is easy, isn’t it? Wait — is my name on this?)
I don’t think it takes more than a couple of clicks to start the censorship process, and apparently not much more than an hour or two to finish it. Boom! Bad words gone! What fun! And I’m doing good for the nation, the world, and Ocean Park.
One time, only one time, I got a long, somewhat specific, respectful email signed by Corina, a Neighborhood Operations person at Nextdoor. Case #823843, the very fine print said. I responded with my side of the story and a number of questions and told her I looked forward to her response. Nothing.
I’ve stopped contacting my local Leads, supposedly the final arbiters with the power of censor or let it be. The warnings always tell you to contact your Leads. I have two of them. One is a woman I don’t know who has never answered me, ever. The other, my oh my, turns out to be Mike Bone, a friend for many years. But I don’t bother him any more either.
HIS RESPONSE IS NOW PREDICTABLE
“I know nothing about this next door stuff. How my name got on it is beyond me.”
“Who is running this ship? I want off.”
“This thing is like herpes… you cannot get rid of it.”
I suppose I should be glad to have two such lackadaisical Leads. But my columns
get pulled anyway.
“The crux of our Guidelines can be boiled down to one simple statement: Everyone here is your neighbor. Please treat each other with respect.” Yet I have been raked over the coals in my birthday suit more than once and I’ll bet you anything that never got reported.
“Your politics are not welcome on Nextdoor. I’m tired of the constant ranting. Keep it off or I will report you.” “Charles’s vitriolic… desperate… brainwashed…” “Communist… fascist… limousine Liberal…” — whoa.
As for politics, there is plenty of it Nextdoor, so no consistency there. Before the election there were hundreds of posts by people obviously being paid from the million dollar kitty by the No on LUVE crowd, and those impassioned posters, sometimes pretty disrespectful of their “neighbors,” disappeared right after the polls closed, never to be heard from again.
“Because of the diversity of people in any neighborhood, please keep in mind that while something may be disagreeable to you, it may not violate our Community Guidelines.“ Oh, that helps.
Down the rabbit hole. It’s silly. But happening now, it’s also sinister. Winston Smith, please advise.
TOM HAYDEN MEMORIAL
It was last Sunday at UCLA’s packed Royce Hall. Did you know about it? Saw the notices in your local papers? No, you didn’t; there weren’t notices.
Bobby Kennedy Jr. eulogized him, as did his ex-wife Jane Fonda. (She admired our Jerry Rubin’s “Not My President” shirt.) Bonnie Raitt, Holly Near and Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) sang for him, as did members of the First AME choir. Two of his fellow Chicago Eight were there. Former California governors, current local politicians. Activist actors Ed Begley Jr. and Alfre Woodard, and Dolores Huerta, cofounder with Cesar Chavez of the United Farm Workers. Three hours of tributes.
It floors me how such a prominent citizen, not to mention our state assemblyman and senator for 18 years, could pass with so little recognition from his home town media. When he died last October, it got big coverage in the LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post, CNN, NBC, BBC, Rolling Stone, the Guardian, Daily Mail — everywhere. Everywhere else. The LA Times ran a large story on the memorial, worth reading.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What happened to those cool wide, woodsy chairs that appeared suddenly a couple months ago at the mini park at 6th and Ocean Park, and then last week vanished?
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Gentrification and consumerism… have destroyed the character of my favorite American haunts, like North Beach, Berkeley, Venice and Aspen.” — Tom Hayden Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 31 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.