Not everyone north of Park Road is a fan of Petworthies, a new Tumblr that’s been stirring things up on Twitter and sparring with other neighborhood blogs. Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Kent Boese, who represents Park View, just south of Petworth, writes to critique the site and defend his constituents’ turf:
As a resident of Park View, I read your November 15th Q&A featuring the creators of “Petworthies” with interest. Sadly, after reading the interview and examining their blog, I have come to the conclusion that their endeavor can only do harm to the (greater) Petworth area. Through their actions and writings, they have identified themselves as the epitome of the down side of gentrification—uncaring, detached newcomers for whom change cannot come fast enough regardless of the casualties.
With little apparent regard for the deep roots our Georgia Avenue neighborhoods have, or the shared problems, successes, and challenges those of us constructively active in our communities face, newer Petworth residents Tom Anderson (2010) and Adam Mazmanian (2008) have chosen to civically engage through ridicule and “puerile and undergraduate” humor.
Their hilarity, apparently more humorous to the authors than their readers, takes the form of inside jokes and insults. With tongue in cheek, they desire to annex Park View, label Brightwood the enemy, bemoan the lack of a civic association, and criticize the Petworth Market for only being open for four hours one day a week. Enmeshed in their snarkiness, they hide from public scrutiny and comment by posting on their blog without giving their readers the ability to post feedback.
Their views are socially naive and divisive. They make it clear that Anderson and Mazmanian have not taken the time or made the effort to make the community connections necessary to build the great neighborhood they feign to desire. It is also clear that they fail to recognize Petworth, Park View, and Brightwood as the great neighborhoods they currently are.
Great communities, like those along Georgia Avenue, grow and develop when their residents come together with mutual respect and understanding to work toward common goals. This is not the approach the Petworthies have chosen to take. Instead they have decided to engage as irresponsible newcomers who hide behind humor to berate community achievements and mock those making a difference.
I encourage them to rethink their approach. It is possible to be socially responsible in a light-hearted and constructive manner beneficial to all. For them to participate in making Petworth a better place they will need to find this path.
Kent C. Boese
Commissioner, ANC 1A08
Blogger, Park View DC