7 February 2011
Where the Buffalo went
If you're a previous visitor to this site you've perhaps noticed that there have been no postings here since October 31. A letter went out to the BR mailing list explaining why, but some people not on the list have visited the page, found no new postings, and have written to ask why. Here is a copy of the letter that went out to the listserv.
January 29, 2011
Thanks to all of you who have written to ask if they'd accidentally fallen off the Buffalo Report mailing list or if something dire had caused me to stop sending the mailings and stop posting items on the site.
Nobody fell off the list, nothing dire happened.
I've decided more than eight years of Buffalo Report as it was was more than enough of that. I started the Report at a time when there were very few people posting and distributing local and national political commentary on the Internet. Now there are thousands, maybe thousands of thousands, of newsletters, public and private sites, paid and free sites, sane and lunatic sites, original text and aggregator sites. In Buffalo alone there are at least a dozen active sites covering a wide range of political, community and artistic issues.
Buffalo Report's first motto was A.J. Leibling's great line: "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one." Thanks to the Internet and what we've learned about using it, lots more of us enjoy that freedom than ever. Another of our mottos came from Lily Tomlin: "No matter how cynical you get, it's impossible to keep up." That hasn't changed a bit.
It used to be fun scouring what came in each day and looking around the Internet for pieces that were interesting and insightful or pieces that revealed the scoundrels and slimytoads for what they were. It was also fun writing such pieces myself or publishing contributions by BR's several regular contributors.
But after a while, the scoundrels and slimytoads get boring and repetitive: how many times, after all, can you say the obvious about Fox News, Sarah Palin, John McCain, the situation in the Holy Land, the stupidity of war, the cupidity of bankers, the cynicism and cronyism and hypocrisy of local politicians? It's not that those things don't need saying; it just that I've said them so many times it's no longer fun doing it. And neither is it fun reading most of the pieces on the opinion sites, which more and more seem recycled or cookie-cutter pieces done on autopilot. I keep thinking of those lines in my late pal Robert Creeley's poem "Sad Advice":
If it isn't fun
Don't do it
You'll have to do enough
So I have been doing things that are fun. If you're in Buffalo, there's an exhibit of my photographs of the grain and cement elevators along Buffalo's waterfront that opened at the UB Anderson Gallery January 22 and will run through March 6: "American Chartres": Buffalo's Waterfront Elevators"." (Click here for the Buffalo News article on it and here for the Artvoice article.) A new book by Diane Christian and me, "In this timeless time": Capital Punishment in Contemporary America, was recently accepted by University of North Carolina Press and Duke's Center for Documentary Studies; we're doing final updatings and revisions on that manuscript now and it is slated for publication next year. I'm printing and curating an exhibit of Farm Security Administration Kodachromes, "Full-Color Depression," that will be at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery November 11, 2011—February 26, 2012. I'm working on a book about the torture gulag and I'm doing several more essays on film structure for Senses of Cinema. And, of course, Diane and I are still doing the Buffalo Film Seminars every Tuesday night at the Market Arcade Theater.
But what about Buffalo Report? Much as I'd like to move on to something else entirely, I can't let our wonderful George Catlin logo go unused. I'm going to keep the Report parked a while longer. If and when it reemeerges it will probably look and act differently. It is time for reconceptualization of the whole thing and redesign of the whole enterprise. Save for that pissed-off Catlin Buffalo bull. He's not going anywhere.
In the interim, the site will stay up and all the links should still work. March 1 will be BR's ninth anniversary. Perhaps something will emerge by then. If not, later. The villains and their villainy will surely still be with us.
Until then, thanks for reading and for all the comments, submissions, suggestions and encouragement.
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