Saturday, October 30, 2010

Dumb and Dumber

Two things have the blogo-sphere all a-twitter of late:
  • Some fools at City Hall floating the idea of bringing the Georgia Music Hall of Fame to Dunwoody; and
  • The rather childish, but quite expensive branding effort and associated "Logo".
They speak to the same underlying issue that permeates this City: lack of character. What do these things say about our city officials, our elected leaders and the community that elected them? Not much, and none of it good.

The motivation behind relocating the Music Hall of Fame is much like that of the Richard Gere character in Pretty Woman: to sell off the juicy bits and bleed cash out of what is left. Truly a noble act.

And the "branding"? Tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars wasted on a copy-cat logo which at first glance says "Dunwoody-Village Without An Idiot" but really says "Dunwoody-You're So Dumb We Have To Tell You How Smart We Are". Arrogant, condescending and by any objective measure, untrue. But 100% unadulterated Dunwoody.

If we had a legitimate Fourth Estate perhaps we would be reading about the linkages between folks in City Hall and companies involved in developing a music venue or maybe we would find that someone's relative runs an ad agency that is in dire need of help and is, well, getting help. Perhaps not, but without investigative reporting we will never know. All we really know is something smells and we're footing the bill.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cry No More...

...or let the tears be tears of joy.

Until recently, the view provided by the Fourth Estate into all things Dunwoody has been narrow and proscriptive as if we were allowed to look at someone else's painting and then only through a narrow, tinted lense. The Dunwoody Fan Magazine had neither the chops, nor the inclination to serve the citizens or businesses of Dunwoody. It doggedly served the purpose of promoting the Farmhouser--Dunwoody Yes! machine that ramrodded Dunwoody into cityhood and was rewarded by being anointed the "Official Organ" of Dunwoody but did little to fulfill the role of the free press in a democratic society.

Living in Dunwoody does not have to mean ignoring, or worse yet, fearing everything outside Dunwoody. And there is more to Dunwoody than a navel-gazing "I, Me, Mine" government or the rather small group of vocal and intellectually incestuous Cro Magnon's who can somehow worship an iconic farmhouse whilst denying the more agnostic their homegrown eggs. It may surprise some to learn that Dunwoody was not dropped by god, whoever she may be, as a neo-Eden in an otherwise desolate landscape. In fact, Dunwoody is surrounded by our substantially more well-to-do Sandy Springs, the progressive and hip Brookhaven and the chic and savvy Buckhead.

And that part of the Fourth Estate that has so well served our neighbors has embraced Dunwoody.

The Reporter Newspapers have come to town bringing with them a modern look both in print and on the web, a fresh perspective, and exposure to goings on in and adjacent to our community. This paper is well produced, with professional layout, excellent use of color throughout, and provides relevant content from, shall we say, "more contemporary" sources. Contrast this with the Dunwoody Fan Magazine which resembles a farmer's almanac (is there a farmhouse tie-in here?) that caters to the folks who aren't convinced Celestine Sibley has passed. The Fan rag publishes a column by Don Farmer (can we get away from that word?), whilst The Dunwoody Reporter published a piece by Rick Callihan, a local blogger who actually lives in Dunwoody and though he has reportedly been seen at the community garden that is a garden, not a farm. Perhaps the Sibley Fan Club is confused, having missed the fact that Don and Chris moved to Florida some years back, and that the dashing gent on Channel 2 News that strongly resembles Don is actually his son, not the product of Demi Moore's plastic surgeon.

The Dunwoody Reporter brings us much more than an updated look. It offers a perspective not only on Dunwoody, but on the surrounding communities of which we should increasingly become a part. The expanded vista comes in the form of improved coverage in articles and columns, and also in broader, more extensive advertising. Subscription-free papers live and die on advertising, but some do it better than others.

Because the Reporter Newspapers serve neighboring communities and thereby the businesses in those communities, they are better positioned to serve our community as well. In the past only word of mouth or the web would have led someone in Dunwoody to venture to Brookhaven to dine at Au Rendezvous or Sandy Srpings for Canton Cooks. Surely there are many in Dunwoody who would want to know there is an excellent new gun club and range offering training classes right on Roswell Road near Pitt. Now we have ready access to information about nearby products and services.

This goes both ways--expanded exposure in neighboring communities can only help Dunwoody's businesses. Could Mudcatz survive on Dunwoody alone? Perhaps, but they don't look "closed for renovations". Does anyone really believe there are no Banks and Shane fans left in Sandy Springs they could have tapped into? After all, Banks and Shane did operate a nightclub/restaurant in Sandy Springs for years. Surely being able to reach a broader range of potential customers in a high quality publication will help local businesses survive these hard times and thrive in better times.

After the war (the last we declared and won), it was said that "it's hard to keep 'em on the farm once they've seen Paree". Well, we've been held down on this farm for far too long and Paree is looking mighty fine.