[Updated on June 11, 2007]
As those who have visited opposition blog MoPornNorthampton are aware, Jeff Hobbs, Jennifer Ruggieri and their associates have engaged in savage personal attacks on Northampton anti-porn citizens for months. These self-styled heroes of free speech actually suppress it by fostering an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, inducing many citizens to abandon the debate.
Recently Mr. Hobbs, the principal of consulting firm Uncanny Valley, put his considerable technical skills to work in creating a game where the object is to toss a graphic of Adam Cohen’s head as far as you can. Mr. Hobbs lists the Springfield Republican among his clients. The Republican’s online home is called MassLive. In May, MassLive began featuring a new blog by Mr. Hobbs, Link Farm.
Jennifer Ruggieri appears to freelance for MassLive. On February 28, for example, MassLive published her restaurant review of Tabella. On the same date, MassLive also published a technology article by Jeff Hobbs, and notes his masslive.com email address. Both of these articles are sophisticated and intelligent. The same cannot be said for most of the content of MoPornNorthampton. Some excerpts:
I can’t believe these two assholes are at it again! They have filed a complaint that the permits for the adult video store are not in compliance with the regulations of our town. When will these cretins understand that very few really care for them or their views of what should be allowed in Northampton… When will you realize that most people don’t really care for your antics and that if you truly cared about Northampton you would sell your house now for what you can get and move out of town? Please do the world a favor too and neuter and spay yourselves so that you will not bring up children with your perverse attitude that sex between two consenting adults, whether it be for money or for fun, is wrong. You, Adam and Jendi, are a pox upon Northampton. Please do the local community a favor, sell your house and leave the area…
- Grab NPNAdmin’s big, wrong head.
- Throw it as hard as you can.
- Repeat as necessary, until your outrage has passed.
Knowing how upset the Reiter/Cohens must be about the current game here on Mopo, I was thinking that perhaps we could have a new game where you have to throw Adams head up into a huge ass at the top of the picture. The object being to get his head into the hole. Kind of like shooting baskets but yet realistic, as it seems that is where his head can normally be found.
Nice work, Northampton. You’ve let a sexless, impotent half-man and his frigid and humorless wife dictate public policy for the rest of us relatively normal people. In the town I’d want to live in, talentless gasbags Adam Cohen and Jendi Reiter and their transparently self-serving cause would be shunned by us all, lest their repulsive and fascist behavior be somehow construed as representing us all. I had thought better of you, Northampton. I figured you for the kind of town where you would trust in your citizens’ ability to choose for themselves. Apparently not; apparently Northampton is so cowed by the idea of grown-ups having sex that you’ve let freaks like Cohen and Reiter — two people who clearly haven’t had sex in years — hide behind their impenetrable fortress of hopelessly dull propaganda and methodically impose their creepy puritanical fetish on the entire town. Just because Adam’s not getting anything doesn’t mean that needs to be your deal too, Northampton.
It’s time to suggest to The Republican that it sever its ties with Jeff Hobbs and Jennifer Ruggieri. This association dishonors The Republican and might even put its objectivity on the issues into question. To contact The Republican, click here.
See related articles in our Media Ethics category.
————————– (added 3/28/07)
On March 7, we offered Peter Brooks of TalkBackNorthampton a choice:
We are always up for a quality
debate, but I have become concerned by the increasingly personal and harsh
nature of the attacks on Jendi and me at Mopornnorthampton. I remain
dismayed you participated in the head-tossing game and don’t seem contrite about it. The nature of your participation at Mopornnorthampton, which has not been critical of their tactics, suggests to me that you condone these tactics and don’t mind if the debate strays from legitimate issues into personal
I request that you withdraw your participation from Mopornnorthampton starting now. If you are unable to make this pledge, I regret we will no longer publish your comments on NoPornNorthampton…
I am sorry to have to make this request, but I have begun feeling rather foolish providing a forum for you and making efforts to be fair and on-topic while you participate with Mopornnorthampton and let their tactics take place without criticism.
We regret that Peter appears to have chosen the side of “trash talk” over a quality debate that sticks to the issues. He wrote on March 23:
…when we become more solicitous of the feelings of “delicate people” than the right to share, review and judge for ourselves improvident trash talk, we risk sacrificing any scraps of truth that may get thrown out with it…
All this whining is about the power to control not only how we behave, but also how we think, by controlling what we can hear…
Go Moporn, go!
————————– (added 6/6/07)
Yesterday we had to deactivate our standard commenting system because some individuals persisted in abusing it. Abuse typically means heckling, harassment, unsupported assertions, and a disinclination to engage with us on the facts.
The main tool our blog host provides to manage hecklers is to allow us to block selected IP addresses. However, Mopornnorthampton discovered and has promoted since March a way to defeat this system. We are now requiring all comments to be submitted by email to improve accountability and the quality of the debate.
Not much remorse is coming from Moporn, and they add a false accusation to boot:
I imagine a whispered *Eureka* in the long, bone-dry hours of the night over at NPN headquarters when they came up with that high-powered security protocol.
What a relief, though– the proxy server workaround was a pain–and as a peripheral bonus, the new method will cut down on the long hours Adam spends crafting fake comments to post under fake names. Unlike his opponents, who posted real comments under fake names, he can now skip most of the tedious web interface and do a nice cut and paste from what I imagine as a single five thousand page Word document.
We have never crafted a fake comment. We have no trouble finding evidence for the harm of porn. For Hobbs and Ruggieri, however, it’s apparently more fun to leave ‘dry’ facts behind in favor of subverting the debate process through technological subterfuge and plain old lies.