Buzzardbilly (my separated-at-birth-and several-years-younger twin whom I’ve never met) has been blogging here, here and here about Chris Needham’s bashing of West Virginia and NBC’s publishing of said article.
The story broke about a week before Christmas, but I’ve been lost in my own little world and didn’t hear tell of any of it until just a couple of days ago. The governor is furious and lots of people, rightly, are asking for a retraction, an apology, and a follow-up news story.
Upon hearing the news, I was disgusted and my ire rose, but not enough to drag me into the fray. I was just too tired. (And I call myself an Appalachian Activist. Shame on me.) Well, after a few days of round-the-clock sleep, I’m about as mad as a body can get. My panties are twisted and knotted big time.
What an ass! (I’m referring to Chris and not that part of my body where the twisted panties are.)
Now Buzzardbilly has a way with words and, really, she’s the best person to read to fully understand why the original news article was so offensive as well as why Needham’s and NBC’s response to the criticism was so woefully inadequate. NBC pulled the article from its website and the people of West Virginia (and only the people of West Virginia) got a sorry if you were offended type of statement issued only to a West Virginia news outlet.
Now, personally, I’ve never thought an apology you had to ask for was worth a shit in an outhouse, but if you do ask for one and you get a “Gee willikers, I’m sorry you were offended,” well that’s just an additional insult. Neither Needham nor NBC is owning the problem, much less making restitution.
As much as it bothers me, I’m a Drama Queen. As such, I can’t bear the thought of being just another irate email, just another West Virginia blogger shooting volleys of words, or, worse, just another Appalachian sitting around saying, “Well, what can you do? People have been saying this stuff for years.” It is not because I don’t think the written word is powerful, but because chiming in at this late date means there’s nothing I can say that hasn’t been said. (Drama Queens just hate that.) Our point has been made (and re-made) and I’m pretty sure Chris and NBC stopped reading a couple hundred emails ago.
Now don’t misconstrue that last paragraph. I think it’s vitally important to send email and letters. Vital. Important. They may not read them, but they’ll note they’re coming in. It is also important to blog about it and talk about it. Inundating both Needham and NBC with our complaints will have an effect even if they don’t read our words.
But. I’m a Drama Queen in Good Standing. I have to work to retain my tiara. (It’s not all rhinestones, sequins and boas.)
So. I put my tiara on and sat to thinking. I came up with what I think is a pretty good idea, but I needed NBC Washington’s mailing address. Shouldn’t have been that hard to come up with, but it was. I don’t think NBC really wants snail mail, because the address is nowhere on their website. I was all over the web before I could find anything at all. I called 202-885-4200 and verified the *mailing* address. So, unless that woman lied, I mailed two bouncy balls to this address:Chris Needham NBC Washington 4001 Nebraska Ave NW Washington, DC 20016
Bouncy balls? Yes, bouncy balls – ones the size of volleyballs. Pink ones, as a matter of fact. Two of them. And if it is true that NBC doesn’t want snail mail, I figure two, bright pink, bouncy balls will get their attention.
I know for a fact that if you take two bouncy balls down to the post office with the address written on the balls with a Sharpie and hand them to the clerk, the clerk will slap postage on those suckers and mail them off. No packaging (talk about environmentally friendly!) – nothing but bouncy balls in the mail sack to get dumped on some poor person in the mail room. (Take a moment to savor that image.)
On the side of the ball opposite the address, I wrote:
Dear Chris and NBC-Washington,
Since y’all don’t have the balls to issue a proper apology to the people of West Virginia or a proper retraction to your readership, I thought I’d help you out. Sincerely, Connie
And the second reads:
Dear Chris and NBC-Washington,
Here’s the second ball. I wanted to make sure you had a pair. Sincerely, Connie
I have hopes of provoking a smile on the face of that mailroom person. With any luck, said person will not like Chris Needham or be from West Virginia, or both. Now if it was me in that mailroom and a postal person handed me two bouncy balls, I’d be flying down the hallways to hand deliver those suckers. But it could be that’s just me.
Now I get the giggles thinking about what might happen if a few people sent Chris bouncy balls. Or more than a few. In that part of my imagination where grandiose dreams live, I think about hundreds of bouncy balls landing in the offices of NBC Washington. (Now savor that image.)
There are two reasons I like this idea: 1) it’s visual, spatial, colorful, and, well, bouncy (kinesthetic, if you will); and 2) it is permeated with a sense of humor. These reasons sum up West Virginia rather nicely, I think. Besides it’s just the kind of a thing a Hillbilly Diva Drama Queen with twisted panties would do. It’s not like I had a choice.
So, if you’re of a mind to, feel free to send a bouncy ball or two to Chris Needham.
Note: I had to do a fair amount of talking at the post office to convince the clerk that yes, indeedy, I could send bouncy balls sans box through the mail. She finally agreed. They cost me $1.73 apiece in postage. If you do decide to send Chris a pair and your postal person balks, you might mention this company. All told, I’ve got less than$8 invested.