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Mission Mission blogger Kevin Montgomery, never one to shy away from controversy, had the temerity to post a critique of the Knockout’s “Debaser 90’s Alternative Dance Party,” a regularly-scheduled evening intended to “take a look back at the decade we grew up in and try and suss out a few dominant themes, sounds, feels.”*
There was a time when some guy on a blog said something like “what brand of douchebag goes to a club that, presumably, hires some jackass” (actually, as Montgomery noted to me, the “jackass” in question is Chris Brennan, one of Debaser’s organizers) “to take photos of their trashed customers, watermarks/brands/copyrights the photo, and upload them to flickr?” and you’d hear nothing but crickets. I know this, because I said shit like this all the time in desperate bids for attention and traffic during my tenure at the early days of a local blog which was far less monolithic then than now.
But this is not 2004, this is the post Yelp bookstore beatdown era! So Debaser (should I be writing “Debaser” in all caps, like a Gate commenter? They write it in all caps. I HATE THE 90S.) goes all fatwa on Kevin’s ass, telling its “fans” “this guy at mission mission thinks you all are a bunch of douche bags. no joke. please flame him.”
We asked Montgomery, who earns more than his fair share of negative comments on the best of days, if he’d gotten “flame”d on his blog. “I don’t think I’ve received more negative comments, I think I’ve received more comments from people with @sfsu.edu email addresses.” Montgomery said.
“In reality, asking people to “flame a blog” is generally an immature response to criticism and only makes the whole operation look more pitiful than bragging about their ‘press’ in 7×7 already did,” he said.
Montgomery says that his point is that “taking ‘sick’ photos of your customers is douchey and, guess what, for all the promotion you do, the ‘party’ really wasn’t that ‘sick.'”
I asked Montgomery do you think that Mission Mission is seen as an institution, and that maybe they felt picked on? This unleashed quite a tirade.
I think Debaser is so used to having free press in 7×7 because they have a pretentious photographer taking “party shots” all night that they are not used to people telling it like it is.
They act like the place was a non-stop dance party but no one was dancing for 2 hours.
To claim that leaving around midnight makes me a “party pooper” is kinda ridiculous. I’ve never been to a “club” in which people stood around that late. I paid 5 bucks to dance. Rolled in there with 9 people and it was dead.
We got drunk, bullshitted for hours then decided the place was not as exciting as eating Mexican fast food.
So, maybe they felt picked on, but in reality, I don’t think they are used to having to be compared to good club nights.
Sadly, our attempts to contact Debaser organizer Chris Brennan haven’t gotten a response at publication time, (I am already scared of “flaming”!) but we’ll update if we hear back.
Regardless of whether or not Debaser sucks** (as Tommy Lee Jones said in The Fugitive, “I don’t care!”), what do you think of Debaser’s retaliatory response to Montgomery’s assessment of their party? Over reaction to honest criticism, or quid pro quo in an era when the critic/critiqued relationship is a permeable membrane?
Update: huh! A tipster directs us to this update from Debaser, which says “oh my god! they are totally trolling us!” then follows with “ps. i don’t see how the dozens of really nice, supportive comments people have sent is attacking. you people are crazy!”
No, Debaser, we’re not trolling you. We’ve tried to reach you through your FaceBook page and through the email form on one of your organizer’s, Chris Brennan’s site. Writing an article about you is not “trolling.” (And, hey, Chris just commented, so I’ve emailed him twice, after both his comments. More soon!)
As I noted in the comments and in my original footnote to this article, I was hopeful that we could have a discussion about the changing relationship between critics and the businesses they cover. It looks like that’s not an option. That’s too bad, it would have been fun.
*It is true, I did not get enough dominant theme sussing in undergrad!
**Because, right? We know how middle school this sounds. Someone was mean on a blog, then someone was mean on FaceBook OH NOES. But get past that, if you can. This is an interesting example of how businesses respond to criticism in what’s a new day.