This blog has been going on now for about two and a half years. During that time I have received many comments and emails asking questions about Kotzebue, the people and the culture. For the most part I am happy to address these questions. I have also received comments emails asking my opinion about certain social issues and whatnot. Which brings me to this comment......
By now many of you, at least those of you in Alaska, are familiar with the Dillingham blog debacle. You can read about it here on the Anchorage Daily News. Basically, the former news director for the local Dillingham radio station had a obscure little blog. Someone didn't like what she wrote and emailed the blog ALL over Dillingham and then all hell proceeded to break loose.
When people ask me why I don't write about local politics or social issues my answer is always the same...."You don't anuk where you eat." Especially in a town that consists of 3,000 people on a gravel spit one mile long and a half mile wide 500 miles from the nearest Dairy Queen.
I have received one comment and several emails about this issue and for once I am going to break my rule and give my opinion.
On her blog, Eileen Goode liked to go on and on about this and that, part of which included "humorous" social commentary. In her most recent post she states, "I am an insensitive jackass who more or less was trying to be funny and was not attempting to write a comprehensive or particularly journalistic account of Western Alaska"
The problem is, there is not much funny about alcoholism, domestic violence, social dysfunction and death...no matter where you come from.
I think Eileen Goode's view is that the people of Dillingham are angry because they want to cover up the town's problems and that her blog was just bringing these problems to light and if no one knows about the problems then nothing will be done about them. Well, that's a good theory, but bad form.
One person commented on her blog... "I’m getting sick of people saying that we Dillinghamers are denying that we have a problem and that we are avoiding whats really going on, WE ARE AWARE! We are aware of these things that go on, and we aren’t ignoring them! But we also aren’t making fun of them and using them as entertainment for the entire world to see on the Internet."
Eileen seemed willing to air Dillingham's dirty laundry but I am not so sure she was backing it up being involved a grass roots effort to make a difference. Does she think her blog is a form of advocacy? Airing Dillingham's social dysfunction on the internet but not being part of an effort to effect change is no different than idle gossip in a coffee shop.
The thing that gets me is that she claims that she loves Dillingham. She states, "I do not look down on, or hate this area or these people. Quite to the contrary, I love it here, it is beautiful, it is unique and it a real community where people are no anonymous to each other." She goes on to say "I believe that it is no sign of respect or love or care to look the other way and refuse to tell someone when there is something wrong, something broken and something that needs to change."
Well you know what...I love my son too, but sometimes he does some stuff that really drives me crazy. I probably won't be putting that stuff on my blog anytime soon because it would be hurtful to him and wouldn't make it any better. Heck, maybe Eileen does love Dillingham. Maybe she does wish that things would change. I disagree with her methods. You know the old saying, "If your not part of the solution your part of the problem".