And I'm back. That to me was the funniest thing that SNL guy who everyone is slowly forgetting about did on that show. What was his name? Jimmy Fallon. It was the bit where he played the morning DJ. The Osama-Saddam phone bit he did with the fat guy was pretty funny too. Those skits stand out, especially since SNL is as dull as dirty dishwater these days.
Anyway, right now there's words swirling about the reason I've been gone. Hell, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle is even offering to fill in for me. Seriously. So you may be treated with a guest post from hizzoner in the near future. Another mayor, Mara of Hollywood, didn't have the decency to notice I was gone. But she still found the time to rant about a recent Hollywood post. Here's part of an e-mail she sent to the editor on Monday:
"I was forwarded Bob Norman's Blog by another Mayor who was concerned with a statement by a respondent that could be taken as a threat, rather than as a "cute" comment to make Mr. Norman happy. I was actually more interested in the blog itself--really rather surprised that New Times would allow a key reporter to have a blog like that, as well as to have the participation of another key reporter in a blog that ridicules and targets the people they are purportedly required to be covering in a fair and "unbiased" manner for New Times. ( It has been my experience that most newspapers require their reporters to keep their personal opinions about individuals under wraps so that they can cover each subject objectively, eg. Buddy Nevins being taken off the political commentary beat.)"
Next thing she's going to be accusing me of snatching her purse at that gas station (actually I'm thinking Trevor Aaronson had a hand in that. He's sneaky that one). And what's with all these mayors' sudden preoccupation with the Pulp? Which one do you think "forwarded" it to Giulianti?
The truth is that I stopped doing the blog because I found a new hobby: Spinning. That's right, I'm burning calories, people. Get off your butts and exercise. I can't relay a more important message than that. After all, the ass you lose might just be your own.
Okay the real truth is I don't spin, unless you count how I'm going to explain the absence. There was a bit of spat here at the Pulp. It was a legitimate journo-blogging argument betwixt me and folks of a higher paygrade. The post included a signed e-mail that I had received and wanted to publish that NT ultimately felt might libel some very well-heeled individuals who reside in this here county. No sense getting into the details, but a post was squashed. Then another post was squashed.
It was a conflict, not a catastrophic conflict, but a conflict. What happened last week happens at newspapers every day, including NT on occasion. The difference is that this blog isn't essential, like, say, my column. It's a hobby. So I can take a break when I need to -- and I needed to. I'm over it. (I needed a break anyway, and am indeed digging into an investigation right now.) But there are a few things I want to clarify:
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1. My editor, Tony Ortega, never dictates content (he's the one, for instance, who put the words "Bob Norman's Blog" on the masthead) and has been an amazing advocate for the blog. Other than the spat last week, he hasn't been heavy-handed at all and has been a very good steward of this experiment.
2. A team of lawyers does not hover over the Pulp. During its existence, there has been only one instance of an NT atty even looking at the thing (last week).
3. Yes, NT is a big company. But let's not forget that, pound for pound, it has 19 times the balls of, say, a Tribune corporation. And you still get more hard-hitting journalism in a single issue of New Times than you do in a months' worth of a daily. A soulless conglomerate isn't crushing the Pulp's spirit. Rare conflicts, though, are inevitable.
And this one is over. Expect regular posts to resume soon.