Monday, March 30, 2009

I'll Huff and I'll Puff

I have a new neighbor in my neighborhood. This one didn't build a fence; he built a glass house. This is my pile of bricks, I built it, I love living here. I could not ask for better neighbors. Always there when you need them, always willing to help build community. I try to do the same.

Before being introduced, the new neighbor started throwing rocks at all the houses in the neighborhood. "All your houses are constructed without foundations," he yelled at us as he threw rocks. "None of you have credentials for building the type of house you live in." More rocks.

Then he put a sign in his yard warning others to "Keep Out" of my house and those of my neighbors. Entering our homes would result in dire consequences he warned.

I went to the glass house to convince him he was wrong; that I was sure he hadn't meant so broad a condemnation. I brought one of our building blocks. I couldn't find his front door. No mail box either; no name under the doorbell. Who is our new neighbor?

I looked around, I searched the building permits. I left a note telling all my neighbors what I had uncovered about the glass house.

I left another note with a small blue bird, should the man in the glass house happen by; that note contained a prime example of a house with a great foundation in our neighborhood built by a neighbor with plenty of credentials. "That's one," he yelled from behind the glass. "There are 100 more bad ones for every good one."

"I meant to do this," he smiled. "Better building may even result."

Then he found the note to my neighbors. Very saddened he was. I had signed my note - fM. I did leave a map to my house, a doorbell and more foundational examples. But I just signed my initials. He found my -fM so much more disrespectful than making us search for his name.

My note said he was trying to garner attention for his glass house. Again, he was saddened, my remarks were so personal. "Isn't that what we all want?" he asked. "Attention?"

"NO!" I reply. That's the antithesis of why our community builds. Very saddened am I!



Blogger Thomas MacEntee said...

Well, leave it to me to stir up a controversy! Thanks for the above parable although to be honest I wish it were just that and not a true experience!

I think the ensuing discussion has served to highlight a much deeper issue: why is it always us (tech embracing, Web 2.0 savvy genealogists who blog, tweet and what not) vs. them (those who believe genealogy research is achieved only by attending society meetings, using local libraries and Family History Centers, traveling great distances to archives)? Can't we all just get along?

March 30, 2009 at 7:59 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

You are a disturber, my friend!

Had he qualified or substantiated any of what he said it would not have created such a stir.

I know, sticks and stones, but words ruin reputations. A responsible journalist/genealogist/blogger would not have written this without a second thought:

"Just like personal websites, blogs are a good source of unreliable information simply because anyone who can type and use the internet can make a blog site. And since the credentials of most bloggers are questionable especially when it comes to history, blogs will provide no help in your genealogy research. So when looking for a historical account, stay away from blog sites."


March 30, 2009 at 8:30 PM  
Blogger Diana Ritchie said...

I love this post - and chuckled as I was reading it. Oddly, until reading Thomas's comment, I had not really viewed this as the tech savvy vs the Luddites. I saw it more as someone making sweeping, and unwarranted, generalizations. As I said in my comment elsewhere, I could certainly accept caveats about info found on blogs. What disturbed me were the very sentences you quote, fM.

Thanks for this wonderful retelling of the tale…

March 31, 2009 at 6:15 AM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

Thanks Diana, I needed a chuckle too.

We're safe here, the man in the glass house must take his own advice and not read genealogy blogs.

Gosh, I should have given that a citation to the source, but we've made him infamous already.


March 31, 2009 at 5:45 PM  
Blogger Bill West said...

Nicely put, fM!

March 31, 2009 at 10:14 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

Thank you Bill!

Always good to hear from you.

Don't you miss Janice Brown when something like this rears it's ugly head? Now she was a disturber.


March 31, 2009 at 10:21 PM  
Blogger Bill West said...

I certainly do miss Janice. I hope that she is well and
someday will be back with us!

March 31, 2009 at 11:57 PM  
Blogger Jasia said...

One of your very best, fM! How I enjoyed reading this. Thank you for making my day :-)

April 1, 2009 at 7:09 AM  

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