Two Stupid Twitter Arguments

18 Aug

Two of the dumbest arguments broke out in Buffalo’s Twittersphere yesterday afternoon, and it all started with this simple question:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/nateatsbuffalo/status/103922579991048192″%5D

The suggestions came in fast: San Marco, Siena, Trattoria Aroma, Carmine’s – people came up with helpful ideas almost instantaneously; Twitter is all about instant gratification in 140 characters.

Then came this:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/nxtARROWpres/status/103922814737846272″%5D

Twitter is also all about seeing stuff that makes you shake your head in astonishment.

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/nateatsbuffalo/status/103923543850487808″%5D

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/buffalopundit/status/103924656817442816″%5D

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/nateatsbuffalo/status/103926644858826752″%5D

I think you see where this is going. It’s another 2005 vintage suburbs vs. city online argument, in this case begun by a self-described “city snob” who remains deliberately ignorant of the suburbs; someone whose business is to attract entrepreneurs to the region.

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/nxtARROWpres/status/103924047670284288″%5D

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/nxtARROWpres/status/103926170134913024″%5D

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/buffalopundit/status/103926404403560448″%5D

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/nxtARROWpres/status/103926531218350080″%5D

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/buffalopundit/status/103926640035368960″%5D

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/nxtARROWpres/status/103927278907555840″%5D

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/buffalopundit/status/103927558369837056″%5D

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/buffalopundit/status/103927715274559490″%5D

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/nxtARROWpres/status/103928095920226305″%5D

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/nxtARROWpres/status/103928674981642240″%5D

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/buffalopundit/status/103928615326064640″%5D

It went on and on from there, and I tried to redirect the conversation with this:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/buffalopundit/status/103929636001546240″%5D

But @nxtARROWpres kept trying to backtrack and change the subject to how sprawl “kills” and how ignorant and insensitive suburbanites are. He called for MetroRail to be expanded for the sole purpose of bringing suburbanites downtown to see all of the city’s cultural wonders, ignoring the fact that an improved Metro system would also help city dwellers reach jobs located in the ‘burbs.

So, argument #1 was a group of people rebutting some vividly ignorant views on regionalism. Thanks to @nateatsbuffalo, @buffalucci, @edwardmichael, and @speljamr for fighting the good fight. Regional cooperation trumps dumb city/suburb cleaves every day.

Ah, but I promised two dumb arguments.

In the midst of all of this, “@BuffaloRach” tweeted this:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/BuffaloRach/status/103932240349761536″%5D

Now, let me be clear – I had given @nateatsbuffalo the San Marco and Aroma suggestions. I didn’t jack the thread – @nxtARROWpres did, never giving a suggestion thanks to his deliberate ignorance of all things suburbs. Furthermore, I haven’t argued with @nxtARROWpres on Twitter for literally months, about anything. So, I thought @BuffaloRach was out of line and full of crap, so I defended myself. That’s when, for the second time in as many weeks, I got this argument:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/buffalopundit/status/103932500170113024″%5D

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/BuffaloRach/status/103932695117176832″%5D

There’s this meme that’s started in town about how I react to the opinions of others. Essentially, it breaks down like this:

a. Someone writes something stupid;

b. I argue with the person, inviting them to defend their stupid statement;

c. I am accused of not respecting the opinions of others.

That’s not how it works. If you write or think something stupid, you don’t just get to do so without challenge.

Hey, Obama is a socialist! Thank you for your opinion!

Hey, the suburbs suck and the city is the greatest! Let’s agree to disagree and not discuss this at all!

No.

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/BuffaloRach/status/103935144959803392″%5D

What does that even mean?

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/buffalopundit/status/103935528927379456″%5D

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/BuffaloRach/status/103935725514399744″%5D

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/buffalopundit/status/103936118654906368″%5D

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/buffalopundit/status/103936282853523456″%5D

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/buffalopundit/status/103936696478998528″%5D

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/BuffaloRach/status/103936480673665025″%5D

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/BuffaloRach/status/103936939664748544″%5D

Again, it went on from there. Now, I was using Twitter to argue a deeply existential argument about our very region – the political, economic, and social future of Buffalo and WNY hinges, I think, on government consolidation, regional government, and the city and suburbs working together. That is extremely important to me, and here I am arguing with somebody who thinks I shouldn’t argue on Twitter because it annoys her that I don’t just instantly roll over for stupid opinions.

If the topic is “Twitter threads that annoy me”, I should go ballistic every night of every fall, winter, and spring with idiotic and facile one-word-Sabres Tweets as people watch hockey – stuff that belongs on an IRC chat, not for the public’s benefit. If the topic is “Twitter threads that annoy me”, I should call out the little PR/social media expert Twitter cliques that like to prove what great friends they are and what fantastic social lives they have as they make plans – in public, on Twitter – to meet for drinks and food after work – stuff that belongs in a text message, not for the public’s benefit.

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/buffalopundit/status/103952753679810560″%5D

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/buffalopundit/status/103941811655028737″%5D

So, to recap:

1. Arguments about how the city sucks and the suburbs are great, and vice-versa, are idiotic and counterproductive. They are damaging to the region as a whole, which needs to work together to move forward;

2. When I am confronted with a stupid argument, such as the one shown in number 1, supra, please don’t tell me what I can and can’t argue about, or that I’m wrong to not just roll over and quietly accept other people’s dumb opinions; and

3. If you have a bad Twitter habit like making plans for drinks on the patio of the Mansion with your Twique every other day, and otherwise using a public platform for your private conversations, don’t hammer me for my bad Twitter habit of engaging in arguments about important political, economic, or social issues.

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/BuffaloRach/status/103950207305265152″%5D

Thanks!

73 Responses to “Two Stupid Twitter Arguments”

  1. Michael August 18, 2011 at 7:43 am #

    oy

  2. bill August 18, 2011 at 8:04 am #

    I can’t wait until the next time buffalopundit gets in a fight on one internet medium and sprints back to another internet medium to blog 2500 words on it and declare victory. What are we in, 7th grade? #growup

    • Alan Bedenko August 18, 2011 at 8:38 am #

      So, Bill, why do you (a) read; and (b) comment? Seems like a waste of your time.

  3. Jay August 18, 2011 at 8:14 am #

    So where did Natalie go for dinner?

  4. William August 18, 2011 at 8:22 am #

    So what restaurant did she go to?

  5. Jennifer August 18, 2011 at 8:31 am #

    This is GREAT!  

    “Little PR/social media expert Twitter cliques that like to prove what great friends they are and what fantastic social lives they have as they make plans – in public, on Twitter”   

    Thank you, Alan, for so accurately articulating this for us.

  6. Derek J. Punaro August 18, 2011 at 8:33 am #

    Hah… I’m off Twitter for one day and a good argument breaks out…

  7. Alan Bedenko August 18, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    Akron House. The choice got away from her. 

  8. Colin August 18, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    Not to stir up a city/suburb shitstorm that I don’t have time to participate in, but . . .

    The idea that we’re all in this together is nice, but it’s also contradicted by both current events and decades of history. The “cleave” isn’t the product of the occasional small minded urbanist nitwit badmouthing the suburbs — it’s written into the law, and practiced at a very deep level by almost everybody. It’s very real, and not the kind of thing that can be overcome by a simple attitude change. Anything more than superficial regionalism would require real sacrifice from those who have benefited from the cleave by using it to segregate themselves, their wealth, and their bright children from everybody else. I have a hard time imagining that happening.

    • Alan Bedenko August 18, 2011 at 8:55 am #

      @Colin, I think changing people’s attitudes is the first step towards establishing the regional change that’s needed legislatively. (That’s before we get into any interesting discussions about how certain city populations have segregated themselves by using private schools, charter schools, etc.) Easy for people who can afford to send their kids to Elmwood Franklin to hate on suburbanites who can’t, don’t you think?

      In any event, the city’s school system is the biggest impediment to the city regrowing its population, and there’s no signs of that improving anytime soon.

  9. Jack Sinclair August 18, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    A couple points:

    1) I argue with a handful of your posts on here and you’ve accused me of ‘always’ disagreeing with you when, in fact, when I don’t say anything that means I generally agree. That, of course, is the point you made in your Twitter argument with buffalorach. Good to see you’ve come to your senses. 

    2) You’re seemingly an educated, smart guy with a job and wife and kids. Was taking an hour out of your life to create this post really worth it? It seems stunningly inane and that you’re arguing with a twentysomething about arguing seems particularly. . . sad. 

    • Alan Bedenko August 18, 2011 at 9:12 am #

      It is sad. However, it’s August, it’s slow, and the alternative at this point is to post a comparison post between Collins’ and Poloncarz’s competing TV ads.

      Obviously, I do think it’s worth it to take time out of my morning to write this post because I think that exposing things that I consider to be stupid is generally worth my while. Obviously, you’re entitled to disagree, but it’s my time in the early morning, and this is how I choose to spend it. (Job starts later, everyone else is sleeping).

      The suburb/city divide is, as I point out, critically important to the region’s collective decision whether to move forward or stay sucky. I like to provoke people when it comes to this. As to Buffalo Rachel, this line: “i actually agree with you this time. but ive NEVER seen you consider an opinion that doesnt match yours.” boggles. I have no idea what that means.

  10. Mr. Food August 18, 2011 at 9:02 am #

    So where did she go to dinner last night?
    Or did she say screw it and just ordered a pizza instead?

  11. Eric Saldanha August 18, 2011 at 9:05 am #

    Sabres on the warpath….OOOH-AHH! #intentionallystirringthehornetsnest

    • Alan Bedenko August 18, 2011 at 9:13 am #

      Kaleta!

  12. BuffaloRach August 18, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    I love how you conveniently leave out the tweets from this conversations that dont support your side of the story. Also love how you put words in peoples mouths, presume to interpret their exact intention from 140 characters, etc. You’re free to argue with whoever you want just as I am free to stop following your tweets. If I’d known you’d be so torn up about it, I’d have invited you for drinks too. 

    • Alan Bedenko August 18, 2011 at 9:22 am #

      Ah, luckily I used a method for people to follow your entire feed, and mine, and John’s. Ample opportunity. I have no idea about any “conversations that don’t support [my] side of the story”, as my inbox was figuratively flooded with kudos and attaboys yesterday and this morning. I didn’t really put words in people’s mouths, either – I merely re-stated the underlying sentiment in a different way, using different arguments.

      I invite you to not only stop following my tweets, but to block me. You’ll also be surprised to learn that people in Buffalo are quite pleased indeed that I called you guys out on your incessant “let’s meet for drinks” Tweets. But if I unfollowed and blocked people for annoying me all the time, that’d sort of defeat the purpose of a microblogging platform.

      ive NEVER seen you consider an opinion that doesnt match yours

      that is a sentence that isn’t true, to the extent it means anything at all. Thanks for participating!

    • Christopher Smith August 18, 2011 at 9:38 am #

      I think BuffaloRach needs to get back to Twitter, she has some “LOLZOR” and “YES!” and “ZOMG, LMAO” tweets to share with her fellow yentas as they plan their social activities in front of thousands.

  13. Mike In WNY August 18, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    Hmmm, drinks on the Portico sound pretty good after digesting this whole exchange.

  14. Jack Sinclair August 18, 2011 at 9:27 am #

    On some level, though, do you feel bad for devoting 1,000 words or so to berating a twentysomething for some kinda dumb Twitter comments about your argumentative nature? We all thought and said dumb things when we were in our 20’s (and some keep it up into their thirties and forties and so on) and it seems a bit over-the-top to blow it up into a blog post (give that this blog actually has traffic and readers). 

    Also, you only seem to get your back up on the city-suburb debate when someone pro-city goes anti-suburb. That’s odd since there about 5 pro-suburb anti-city bozos for every 1 pro-city advocate. 

    • Alan Bedenko August 18, 2011 at 9:30 am #

      That’s odd since there about 5 pro-suburb anti-city bozos for every 1 pro-city advocate.

      And they’re all on WBEN, which is a station I don’t listen to. I’m unaware of anyone having online discussions about how great the suburbs are and how sucky the city is, except maybe on Speakupwny, which is the 7th circle of dumb.

      I don’t feel bad at all. If you’ve got the balls to Tweet something to an infinite audience, re-posting your tweets to an audience of mere thousands seems tame.

    • Christopher Smith August 18, 2011 at 9:36 am #

      To offer som additional clarity here for Jack…, John Wingspread Howell is a 50 some year old man supposedly in the business of attracting entrepreneurs to our region. Also, Alan, myself and many others think regionally, not pro-suburbs or pro-city. Once we get people to ignore the subjective lines that divide our villages, towns, and cities, we’re on our way to sensible public policy that benefits us all. Parochialism of any sort is what gets our backs up at WNYMedia.

  15. Mike August 18, 2011 at 9:32 am #

    This is going to be wnymedia.net’s most popular post/topic ever! So much for in-depth political reporting I guess. Goes to show, you can never lose by underestimating the public.

    • Alan Bedenko August 18, 2011 at 9:34 am #

      Actually, Paladino’s horse porn takes that prize.

  16. John Howell August 18, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    Since I’m the one who started the city suburb fight referenced above, let me clarify. Alan did not include the whole context of my comments. First, I was rude to hijack Natalie’s tweet. I don’t know what came over me. Second, I clarified my position that I am not anti-suburb, but I am pro-city, and by taking a triage approach to addressing the region’s economic problems, we must start with the city. There are those who would prefer to let the city languish, because they see the city as irrelevant. I flippantly said the burbs are irrelevant. But my point that the city needs priority on any resources available to help the region, or the region will also continue its decline is the point I meant to emphasize, and that’s not stupid! That’s an important point to consider.

  17. Jaquandor August 18, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    OK, I need a bit of teminological help here. On Twitter, are there really “threads” that someone can hijack? Seems to me that Twitter is conversations, not threads. Anyway….

    • Christopher Smith August 18, 2011 at 10:07 am #

      Conversations are organized into threads, most twitter clients give you the ability to organize by discussion threads based on “@” replies

  18. Red August 18, 2011 at 10:08 am #

    I find it hilarious that this mash up of “City v. Suburbs” and “What Twitter Should Be Used For” has gotten this far. Don’t forget “Millllllller!!!!! #Sabres”.

  19. Greg August 18, 2011 at 10:11 am #

    Twittersphere? I thought it was Twitterverse. #madeupstupidwords

  20. Hank August 18, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    This was very good ” Arguments about how the city sucks and the suburbs are great, and vice-versa, are idiotic and counterproductive. They are damaging to the region as a whole, which needs to work together to move forward”. Agree 100%.

    This is probably a reason I refuse to either read or write tweets. Too much of what Alan said—-people should be texting their dinner/drinking plans, not exposing them to the universe.

    Ever wonder how much money could be saved by North Tonawanda/Tonawanda City/Town of Tonawanda/Kenmore combining and just being “Tonawanda”??? I’ve been wondering about that for 40 years. Seems just in Police/Fire/EMS alone the savings could be huge.

    In one of the only times I’ll agree with Chris Smith, people should really be neither pro-city or anti-suburb. Nothing is going to change until everyone works together, which is just as likely as all the closed GM plants in WNY re-opening.

  21. Ethan August 18, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    I’d sell your heart to the junkman babyFor a buck, for a buckIf you’relooking for someoneto pull you out of that ditchYou’re out of luck,you’re out of luck
    The ship is sinkingThe ship is sinkingTheship is sinkingThere’s leak, there’s a leak,in the boiler roomThepoor, the lame, the blindWho ore the ones that we kept inchargeKillers, thieves, and lawyers
    God’s Away, God’s awayGod’saway on Business. Business. God’s Away,God’s Away God’s Away on Business.Business.
    Digging up the dead witha shovel and a pickIt’s a job,it’s a jobBloody moon rising witha plague and a floodJoin the mob,join the mobIt’s all over. It’s all over, It’s all overThere’s a leak,there’s a leak,in the boiler roomThe poor, the lame, the blindWhoare the ones that we kept in charge?Killers, thieves, and lawyersGod’saway. God’s away, God’s awayOn Business. Business.God’s away, God’saway. God’s awayOn Business.
    Instrumental BreakGoddamn there’salways sucha big temptationTo be good, To be goodThere’s alwaysfree cheddar ina mousetrap, babyIt’s a deal, it’s a dealGod’s away,God’s away, God’s awayOn Business. Business.I narrow my eyes like a coinslot baby,Let her ring, let her ringGod’s Away, God’s AwayGod’s Awayon Business.Business……….

  22. BuffaloRach August 18, 2011 at 10:36 am #

    Wait, so twentysomethings and fortysomethings have different communication styles?! HOW UNBELIEVABLE AND ENRAGING!

    Jennifer, Chris, etc, if it will make you feel better you’re all invited to join us for drinks too. You’ll be surprised to learn that we dont exclude and we’re perfectly capable of having intelligent conversations without speaking in abbrevs. Even with old farts like you guys. 😉

    • Christopher Smith August 18, 2011 at 10:48 am #

      Why would I want to join you for drinks? That’s rather the point of this whole discussion to begin with.

  23. Jack Sinclair August 18, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    @ChrisSmith – is his name seriously john wingspread howell? Also, I guess I take your word for your claim that parochialism of all sorts gets your collective backs up but I’ve only seen the pro-city stuff get pilloried. To a casual observer, it smacks of a couple of guys who live in the suburbs and are defensive about it. 

    @Hank – all-time classic sentiment – I don’t read or write tweets because it’s too often people making dinner plans. Umm, if you don’t read it, how the fuck do you know what the fuck it is? You don’t. Or you do read it. Both can’t be right, fool…

     

  24. BuffaloRach August 18, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    …dude… it was a joke…

  25. Tom August 18, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    Where Twitter fails is that a layered discussion such as this, with multiple people and topics going around in circles trying to make their point in 140 characters.

    Had this discussion happened over email or in a bar, I don’t think it gets nearly as hot as it did. 

  26. Johnny August 18, 2011 at 11:57 am #

    Buffalo Pundit is just afraid of living in the city because of the minorities. He also hates to pay for parking! He would rather live in Pleasantville because of all the white people and shop on transit rd because because there is more parking and its free! Thats fine but it doesn’t mean you can defend the fact that sprawl destroyed the city! Also he has faulty taste buds because the restaurants in the suburbs are just not as good!

    • Alan Bedenko August 18, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

      Really, Johnny? Where do you live?

  27. Prepare August 18, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

    Who has the link to that You Tube video they did about what would happen if social media were real life? I’ll try and find it…may have been College Humor that put it together.

  28. Chris Charvella August 18, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    Here’s the one I was looking for: If the Internet Was Real

  29. Leo Wilson August 18, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    Totally agree with the Trattoria Aroma recommendation. Since you’ve displayed good taste, I’ll have to try out San Marco..

  30. Leo Wilson August 18, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    @Johnny, sprawl destroyed the city? As I remember, the businesses moved when construction of the subway/rail system turned everything off. Sprawl was a symptom, the survival instinct of businesses that couldn’t wait for the interruption to end.

    Those that stayed are just as gone.

  31. peteherr August 18, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

    Gosh, it makes you miss Mike Hudson.

  32. Johnny August 18, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

    I live in Amherst. Buffalo Pundit is a racist. 

    • Alan Bedenko August 18, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

      You live in Amherst and I’m a racist. Understood.

  33. Johnny August 18, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

    Oh right, I forgot it was the subway that destroyed the East Side. That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard in my entire life. You are so stupid and don’t know anything. 

  34. peteherr August 18, 2011 at 1:37 pm #

    Why would you even follow Alan on Twitter or Facebook if you don’t want to see his opinions. The currency he trades in is opinions. You don’t get voted Best Blogger by not having them. If you are offended by his opinions, don’t follow him. Worked for a certain former Bills player who is more conservative than me. He didn’t like what I had to say and blocked me a long time ago. I still sleep at night. Alan will too, if you block him.

  35. BuffaloRach August 18, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    I’m not blocking Alan. I was only acknowledging that if I didn’t like what he was doing on Twitter I could have just blocked him instead of complaining about it.

  36. Chris Charvella August 18, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    When my wife at the time and I moved back to the area in 2006, we considered living closer to Buffalo so she could have more job opportunities and a shorter commute in the. For what it’s worth, we never considered actually living in the City of Buffalo because we planned on having kids and the school system up there is a fucking train wreck.

    If we had settled in Erie County, it would have been in the suburbs; not because we’re racist, but because we would have wanted to live in a school district that wasn’t a complete tire-fire.

  37. Jon Splett August 18, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

    I’m going to amp up the amount of meaningless personal tweets I post now just to annoy the shit out of people who think twitter has a purpose outside of wasting time. 

  38. Jon Splett August 18, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    Also, Elmwood Avenue and Allen Street are as white if not whiter than Amherst so unless these pro-city types live off Bailey or in the fruit belt, their opinions are ridiculous. 

  39. Leo Wilson August 18, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

    LOL Maybe Chris is right… I am a product of the Buffalo School system and, according to Johnny, am so stupid and don’t know anything.

    Or, maybe Chris is mistaken – three of my four kids went to City Honors (on the East Side) and got superior educations that prepared them, very well, for continuing education.

    Of course, Johnny is sort of right, in that I did refer to the downtown area that might make Buffalo a ‘destination’ rather than the meat and potatoes that fed families.

  40. Jeff August 18, 2011 at 3:40 pm #

    Wow, this reminds me of high school. It’s pretty pathetic how all involved just want to feel important. Depressed I spent my time reading this, kill me.

  41. Pauldub August 18, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

    I dunno Jeff, I’m seeing the humor in it. Everyoneventing, getting in each other’s grill, and none of it is going to result in a trip to the emergency room or central booking. A shitload of tweets, over 50 comments. All because a nice lady wanted a dining suggestion.
    It does make for an entertaining read.

  42. Bbill August 18, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

    Slow news day, apparently.

  43. Dave August 18, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

    Positively fascinating blog. Forget politics guys.

  44. Dave August 18, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

    A positively fascinating read. Ditch the high-brow political stuff… this is much more interesting.

  45. pirate's code August 18, 2011 at 4:36 pm #

    @splett (comment #50) — Absotively right.  Proof that Twitter starts with “twit” for a reason.  Is that less than 140 characters?

  46. Colin August 18, 2011 at 5:14 pm #

    Alan: yeah, the BPS is a bit of a mess. I worked there for a few years, and I’ve got family that still does — I’ve seen/heard it all. But I also know that the single best thing for those schools would be to add more well-prepared kids to their student population. Back in June I spent a week grading the AP US History exams with 1200 other high school/college educators. I was struck by how high school teachers introduced themselves to one another. To get a sense of their lives as teachers, they didn’t describe the techniques they used, or the curricula they followed, or even the standards their states forced them to teach to — they all talked about the demographic makeup of their districts. It was all anyone needed to know.

    I guess my point is that statements like “I won’t live in the city because the schools are bad” is more than a neutral statement of fact. It’s also an action that helps create the situation and harms those with fewer choices. And it’s hard to reconcile that action with statements about how we’re all in it together and the city/suburb divide is bogus.

  47. Chris Charvella August 18, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

    @Colin

    That’s a sad truth that you laid out there, but it won’t change how parents who have the ability to do so choose a school district for their kids. I don’t know of any parents, including myself, who would send their kids to a substandard school because the kid will make the school better. We send our kids to a school that will make our children better.

    Maybe the Buffalo public school system would benefit from having my well prepared child attend class there, but I’d view it as a disservice to my daughter if I didn’t find a school full of other well prepared, well-taught children that would challenge her.

    It’s a difficult situation, I know, and I don’t want to just sit here and bag on the City school system. Personally I think that education starts at home and kids whose parents are involved in that education will probably do well no matter where they go, but the schools have to take responsibility as well. I hate what you told us about how the teachers view their jobs through the prism of demographics. That’s the sort of defeatist self-efficacy that needs to die a quick death if we want our education system to improve.

  48. bill August 18, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    Its nice that Alan and Chris are the twitter police. Also interesting that where ever theres a pissing match, therrrreeees Alan #internetisseriousbusiness #yourpoorwife

    • Alan Bedenko August 18, 2011 at 8:35 pm #

      1. I don’t think I’m the twitter police. You apparently cannot read.

      2. If arguing on the Internet is so lame, why are you trying to provoke me?

      3. What does my wife have to do with anything?

      I won’t hold my breath waiting for a reply.

  49. bill August 18, 2011 at 8:57 pm #

    1.) your mocking of people for what they use twitter for “#onewordsabrestweets” 
    2.) im not trying to provoke you, im bemoaning your annoying tendencies 
    3.) i feel bad for your wife if you display the same inability to walk away from arguments that a.) dont concern you b.) dont matter and then go onto turn them into mountains out of molehills, in real life

    • Alan Bedenko August 18, 2011 at 9:46 pm #

      1. As I point out, BuffaloRach turned the topic to “tweets that annoy me”. I was pleased to show her that she and her pals could Tweet annoyingly too. Simple as that.

      2. What do you care?

      3. What do you care? (Apparently, the topic is quite important to you, otherwise you’d have (a) ignored it; and/or (b) not taken time out to leave comments.)

  50. Brad August 19, 2011 at 2:43 am #

    @ Alan

    I’m a suburbanite too (suburb of Rochester, actually), but I am a former resident of Buffalo.  I have to say that your stance on public, private, and charter schools absolutely boggles my mind.  Do you know the demographic information for Buffalo’s charter schools?  Because Clarence is 97% white.  I doubt that any of Buffalo’s private schools are even that homogenous, let alone the charter schools.  Both Tapestry Charter School and Elmwood Village Charter School are 47% white.  Just because there are some wealthy white people who send their kids to those schools doesn’t mean that they are the functional equivalent of suburban public schools.  Clarence and Lancaster are tied for the whitest districts in Erie County.  That’s just a fact.  You cannot make a rational argument that charter schools in the city of Buffalo are just as segregated as your town, because they aren’t.  It isn’t even close.  City Honors, Buffalo’s best public school, is 67% white.  The only suburb in all of WNY (including Rochester and its suburbs) that has a lower percentage of white students is Cheektowaga, and even then it is only the “Cheektowaga District” and “Cleveland Hill District” within Cheektowaga that has 50-60% white students.  Cheektowaga-Sloan and Cheektowaga-Maryvale are still roughly 90% white.

    You live in the wealthiest, whitest town/school district in Erie County.  That isn’t a criticism or a compliment.  It’s just a fact.  Regardless of how you feel about that fact, you should stop making completely made-up claims that private schools and charter schools in Buffalo are just as segregated as your school district.  It isn’t true.  By continuing to repeat the mantra that charter schools are just havens for the “stuff white people like” crowd so they can stay in the city and thumb their noses at suburbanites like you, you do a incalculable disservice to intelligent discourse in WNY.  Please stop.

    • Alan Bedenko August 19, 2011 at 5:54 am #

      Interesting you didn’t bring up a very detailed racial breakdown of EFS, Sem, Nichols, Canisius, St. Joe’s and other privates.

      Here’s what I wrote, to recap:

      @Colin, I think changing people’s attitudes is the first step towards establishing the regional change that’s needed legislatively. (That’s before we get into any interesting discussions about how certain city populations have segregated themselves by using private schools, charter schools, etc.) Easy for people who can afford to send their kids to Elmwood Franklin to hate on suburbanites who can’t, don’t you think?

      In any event, the city’s school system is the biggest impediment to the city regrowing its population, and there’s no signs of that improving anytime soon.

      People use charter schools to segregate their kids out of the general school population, to ensure that they are in school with other kids from families who place importance on an education. Luckily in the Clarence school district, I don’t need to go to a special, separate school for that – just about all the families have college graduate parents who place a high value on a good education. People in the city do.

      I never said segregation was based on race, and I don’t care if a kid is black or any other ethnicity. The charter schools, however, undoubtedly serve to separate out one distinct group from the general school population. That’s all I meant.

  51. Leo Wilson August 19, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    @54 you nailed it, Paul. Both humorous and way off track… at least I got a lead to try another restaurant out of it. 🙂

  52. Leo Wilson August 19, 2011 at 10:36 am #

    Great discussion about BPS, too, and the importance of students who are prepared and motivated at home. I’d like to see more.

    My take is that the magnet school program within the BPS proves that public systems can deliver excellence when determined to do so. I’d like to see more competition that would loose the excellent educators in our system from the strictures that their bureacracy (both BPS and the BTF) stifles them with. I sincerley believe that, if a voucher system were introduced, public educators would whup ass and take names from the competition because their greedy managers in BPS and BFT would let the teachers show their worth if revenues depended upon it.

  53. Hank August 19, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    @33 Jack Sinclair—-Other than what I see on blogs or other website of twitter, I don’t know shit about Twitter, don’t want to know, and will NEVER use it. Alan observed that many people who are tweeting would be better off texting.

    I don’t tweet and I don’t text. I don’t need that. I’ve got a phone capable of both, but have no time for it. My cell phone is for convienence, to talk to people when I’m not at work or at home. It’s not a bionic appendage to my hands or my belt or pocket. Obviously you must be another youngster who never had to wait to call a friend on a rotary dial phone with a short handset cord because the other person on your party line was discussing whatever. While you’re at it—BITE ME, FOOL.

  54. Darren August 19, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    Fascinating!!! I live in the city of Buffalo and am an advocate for the city.

    I did grew up in the Southtowns. What happens is that when you are born and raised in the burbs the people in that area have a tendency to feel comfortable in that setting because like minded individuals reinforce like mindedness and that like mindedness does not have to be based on facts or real life experience. That goes for many people in the city as well. In fact if all you know is one side and everyone agrees there seems to be no need to change. It seems obvious but that is the case of any contained group. For myself, my mind was made up. My way of life was right and my mind was closed. After a while I started to question, the racism, the homophobia, the comfort of the concrete, the traffic, the close quarters, the corruption etc. etc. etc.and all the jokes that reinforced a large percentage of the people around me in the suburbs who really knew nothing about city life.

    When I was deciding on a college I went to orientation at Fredonia, UB, Canisius, and realized that I was only going to continue to reinforce my suburbanite (non-derogatory) mentality. I decided on Buff State because of the higher ethnic populations and realized I would change and grow. Since then I’ve lived for short periods in different locations from FL to White Plains NY and am very fond of the City of Buffalo. I found that the city of Buffalo helped and continues to help me grow. An individual cannot help but have to tear down some of their belief systems and create new ones based on the actual information available to ones environment which in turn creates a new form of like mindedness. The city is level playing ground. Separation mentality in the city cannot work or every 10 feet you would have to outcast someone for exactly who they are. Black,White,Rich,Poor,Gay,Straight,Democrat,Republican. etc.etc.

    What happens is that you find that you have more in common with people that you think are different than you and you actually find the differences to be an asset to your own growth. If you don’t change or if the small communities don’t change that lack of tolerance will reflect in the community. Education happens less in school then it does challenging your own belief system in a place that reflects the people from all around the globe. Colleges and schools in the city can offer that experience. My son will not grow up in a well thinking that it’s water is the only water that has value. He can get his education in the City of Buffalo, He can eat food that is fresh from the farm and not have to shop only at Wegmans or Tops with processed foods. He can learn tolerance rather than intolerance. There are so many wonderful things the City of Buffalo has to offer and I never knew how limiting my belief system was until the city helped tear it down. I love the City and all the surrounding areas. Without the suburbs and rural areas the city would not survive and opposite applies as well. Kudos to all the different perspectives!

  55. Hank August 19, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    Alan said it all when he said “In any event, the city’s school system is the biggest impediment to the city regrowing its population, and there’s no signs of that improving anytime soon.”

    For those who are wondering, St Joe’s is more racially diverse than in previous decades, but still likely 95% or more white. My grad class 35 years ago had one “Native American”, and 2 “African Americans” for the politically correct among you. The black population of the student body in the first half of the 70’s was always less than 10 in a student population of about 400. Increased donations by alumni and a caring attitude by the Christian Brothers community has provided more scholarships, I don’t believe that there is any preference for minorites—all has to do with your score on the Entrance Exam. Let’s face it, at over 14K a year, not a lot of minority families can pony up that kind of dough.

  56. Leo Wilson August 19, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

    @Hank, the 70’s were nearly a different planet. When I started at Hutch Tech in ’72, there were exactly three girls attending. It was the first year they were allowed at all. There may have been a lot of black guys, but my brother (only 4 years older) said he was there when the first dozen or so of them arrived. More, when he was stationed in Norfolk in ’74, there were still racially segregated beaches. I think New York still had laws that could confine people with alternate lifestyle choices to prison for “laws against nature” or some such (I could be badly mistaken about that last).

    The 70’s were a lot like military service: it’s nice to reminice about the good things, but it’s far more important to remember how much work it was to overcome the “suck”.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. What I’m Eating Now – The Akron House | Buffalo Foods - August 19, 2011

    […] I stirred up an intense Twitter debate while I was pondering where to go on my dinner-with-dad-night this week.  It started out with me looking for an Italian food recommendation in Williamsville… but after all that Twitter drama, I ended up in Akron.  It turns out, Dad had some colleagues in town, and dinner-with-dad became a Kreher-family-affair.  This was fine by me, as Wednesday was an exceedingly rough day… I may have driven out to Akron with tears jabbing at the backs of my eyelids, but as I sat surrounded by the laughter, goofy smiles, and encouraging words of my family, I was able to drive home with a big smile and a light heart. […]

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