Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Does Anybody Take This Guy Seriously?

At the end of last month The O’Zone published a copy of a letter from a former assistant principal severely criticizing her former superior.

Shortly thereafter I published an article pointing out that, despite his shortcomings, Scott Lazo had been overly-vilified in some quarters, overlooking the many contributions he has made to the community. 

The very next day I fell victim to the outrage of the blubbering blogger for breaching the sanctity of the letter, concealing the identity of the addressee and for supposedly siding with Scott Lazo in current school committee squabbles. Coincidence?

Shortly thereafter I responded to his misguided missive rebutting every one of his accusations.

If I had expected an apology, I certainly had forgotten the history of the man who once had the temerity to write, “I can say with all honesty that I never truly hated anyone. I have always tried to see the good in people; this was true of students I taught and any adults with which I came into contact. It took until the last two or so years of my teaching career to realize that I was capable of hating anyone. I worked among and for some of the most evil people I have ever known.”

For the next two weeks I endured a relentless barrage of petty insults from the preening pundit referring to, as he put it, “that other blog” or “the tabloid blog”. Also came accusations of spin or a willingness to publish even the most spurious anonymous comments.

Finally I responded by relegating my reply to my weekly cartoon segment, feeling that The Massachusetts “Disserver” had earned the distinction of being nothing more than the butt of a joke.

Rather than addressing this gnat seriously for the following week I again added him as a subject in the latest set of lampoons.

He immediately responded with threats and a mischaracterization of the ‘toons as an attack on his former profession. Nothing could be further from the truth, insofar as I have the highest regard for the teaching vocation. Rather the first cartoon was making fun of his incessant whining.

The second cartoon addressed his pompous pronouncements on public policy without ever having made even the effort to be more than a bomb throwing critic.

In retrospect, the prince of posturing has a record of throwing stones and then portraying himself as a victim when the volley is returned. This is accompanied by a willingness to shift positions on any issue when it suits his purpose to a degree that would make even Mitt Romney blush. All of this is accompanied by a freewheeling willingness to rewrite history in the process.

Take for instance his current taglines promoting the merits of the local newspaper.

It wasn’t that long ago that he wrote a regular column for that paper. Someone asked him about his departure from that role on yet another blog.

“Brent, Why did your column in the Southbridge Evening News end? I remember there was some sort of disagreement between you and the paper, but not the details. Also, what became of Walter Bird? He also wrote a good column but I haven't noticed if he is writing anywhere now. Thanks. – Commenter”

He responded by saying, “Commenter, I chose to end my column with the Southbridge Evening News due to my disagreement with the editorial policy of the newspaper at the time. It does not seem necessary to revisit that. I have written for the Southbridge News since ending my weekly column, and I have no doubt that my contributions would be welcome. I do not wish to commit to a weekly schedule however. As for Walter Bird, I'm sure he would be happy to hear that you enjoyed his column. You can continue to read Walter's work at Examiner dot com Boston. I would provide the link for you, but this comment section doesn't allow for it. Let's try it this way: Click the link for my web site, The Massachusetts Observer. When you get there, you will see a link called, Southbridge and Vicinity Web sites and Blogs. Click on that link. Once you are at that web site, look at the links on the right side. The link for Walter's column is the last one on the right. Be sure to bookmark so that you can get back to his site easily. I hope this helps. - Brent Abrahamson”

The reality is that the split was significantly more contentious than that remark would imply.

He wrote a column in the Southbridge Evening News of April 14, 2010 titled “A Hate Filled Column” responding to an editorial by Walter Bird. In concluding that piece he wrote, “. Indeed, my own column about bullying spurred by the Phoebe Prince tragedy was rejected at the prerogative of Editor Bird. Friday’s piece by Columnist Bird should have been rejected by Editor Bird as well.”

The Editor appended a comment to the column that read, “Editor’s Note: The column referenced by Mr. Abrahamson had previously run on his blog and he offered the editor the choice of not running it since it had already been published. Mr. Abrahamson’s columns on a variety of issues have appeared regularly on the pages of this newspaper and are all solid examples of diversity of opinion. None of Mr. Abrahamson’s columns have ever been rejected because of content, nor have any contributed columns ever been rejected by the editor because of content.
This newspaper does not select which material should be published and which shouldn’t based on political or ideological views.”

Incapable of letting the matter go, just as in the current situation, B.A. pushed on with three additional articles on his own blog, Just the facts, Ma’am on April 23,  Southbridge Evening News RIP on April 30, and  UPDATE: Hardly anonymous on May 1.

He was still bashing the paper a year later in Where is the Southbridge News? On March 4, 2011

His tendency to bite the hand that once fed his ego was no less the case when it came to denouncing The Worcester Telegram after his blog there ended. See his denunciation of that paper in Why the T&G is not for me.

But, beyond this victimizer turned victim meme, is his willingness to change his stance on issues when they no longer suit his current agenda.

Take for instance his criticism of The O’Zone . “I will give you some time to switch back to that very comfortable forum where you can post anything you wish to your heart's content.”

That’s a far cry from his earlier bluster. “Don't worry about comments. You don't need to display them, or you can display the ones you want. In fact, my blogs are the only ones in town that do not require prior approval before you can post. Now that's free speech!”

Then there’s the matter of his political astuteness on matters of town government. On Tuesday, June 22, 2010, he wrote, “Southbridge should adopt a Representative Town Meeting form of government. There should be a 3-member elected and paid Board of Selectmen. The pay for each should be one-third of the present Town Manager’s salary. This pay is significant enough to attract qualified, intelligent candidates. A number of representatives (perhaps 8 to 10?) would be elected from each precinct to vote on behalf of their precincts at the annual Town Meeting. This vital role would not require a great commitment of time and perhaps some of the otherwise busier professionals in the community would choose to engage in this type of public service.”

Just over four months later he wrote, on October 27, “Finally, in the long run, we must work toward the popular election of a strong mayor. It is the only way to assure that the will of the electorate trumps the power-driven agenda of a politically aggressive few.”

Finally, there’s the whirling dervish behavior on the matter of unions when it comes to his current crusade. He has long portrayed himself as a supporter of unions, going back as far as 2008 when he wrote, “Some of the comments I have read include: The unions ruined the country. The unions represent socialism. The unions are anti-American.
Amazing rhetoric. And, in my opinion, wrong. In fact, the time should be ripe for unions to begin flourishing once again….
Management has long held great antipathy toward unions. When one member of the union is treated unfairly, then the entire union has been treated unfairly. There is strength in numbers.”

But so much for the value of unions and their membership when they get in the way of a new agenda. In his view we need the state to take over the school district, so the union goes under the bus. “The Southbridge Public Schools need to come under complete and total control of the State before any further damage occurs.  The state must take the power to make all decisions, including the power to hire and fire regardless of collective bargaining agreements.  They must make all decisions that would normally be those of the School Committee.”

I am sure that I will be accused of taking statements out of context, and that’s why I’ve provided the links to allow the reader to judge for themselves. More likely, I will be attacked on a personal level, although I’ve been careful to characterize my detractor in terms of his own writings.

In closing, if you want to take this clown seriously keep in mind that he is, in my opinion, as treacherous and devious a harlequin as Stephen King’s Pennywise. If you choose to agree with him you will rue the day when you decide to disagree. If you are in accord with his view on any given day you will almost certainly find yourself having to reverse positions before long to stay in sync.

I did not start this nonsense. I can only hope, contrary to all experience and precedent, that this will be the end of it.


  1. Don’t waste any more time on this. It’s clear he has no serious response to your fact based replies to his childish insults. He’s a shallow bitter publicity seeker who should go back to writing about the music and TV shows of the 50’s.


    Ken, For everyone who has ever done the disagreement tango with the "treacherous and devious a harlequin as Stephen King’s Pennywise", victimizer turned "preening pundit ", I salute you!

    While his coming of age to realize that he could hate people is coming late in life I'm not sure he fully understands his unfriendly, pompous prominence that pushes people away into the category of becoming "some of the most evil people I have ever known.”

    His rebuttal, if any,will most certainly be a personal attack and it will end with you most likely being called a racist somehow.

    I've done the Disagreement Tango with The Massachusetts “Disserver” and it always ends exactly as you have described. He can say all he wants about anonymous posts but his behavior actually makes the case for having anonymity more so than not having it. My name is therefore ANONYMOUS and I endorse this blog post.

    1. I agree. Thanks for exposing this bully.

    2. It's amazing how some people forget how what they put in writing can come back to haunt them.


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