I’m a whiny lefty curmudgeon with a closet full of axes to grind with everyone from national celebrities to local politicians, not to mention countless random individuals and doofuses on social media. I’m also the person who is in charge of the hard news at DigBoston, and so I often fill this space with rants and segues to our larger features and investigations, which we use to shovel deeper toward the core of all these ills that bother not just me, but lots of other people too. At least, that’s my hope as I sit down to wrap up each week’s newspaper and pen this column.
Even with the aforementioned attitude and outlook, however, I pine for positive material every now and then. And while we faithfully feature inspiring arts and entertainment writing every week, as well as hopeful interviews galore with artists, activists, and other Bostonians who are helping to responsibly make Mass a better place, I tend to fill my reader’s note with piss and pickles, making for a salty intro to a publication that doesn’t necessarily read darkly throughout.
I have been wanting to share thoughts along these lines for weeks now, but it’s never the right time. Either white supremacists are rumored to be coming into Boston, or President Not-See himself says something insanely hurtful or ignorant. Or both. That much can be counted on to happen on an almost daily basis nowadays, while this week I felt guilty being chipper due to the depressing natural horrors down in Houston. If you’ve been near a radio, computer, or television, it’s hard to think about much else.
Still, I see a little bit of promise. I see it in the youth our writers work with at the Transformative Culture Project, where high school media students just completed another season of intensive training in filmmaking. I also find hope in the community and elected leaders who are working overtime to bring more wet establishments to underserved neighborhoods like Mattapan, which as of now has not a single sit-down restaurant where you can get an alcoholic beverage. You can read more about that in Haley Hamilton’s Terms of Service column this week.
I am excited about the Jamaica Plain teenagers who unearthed proof that TD Garden has held back on promises made to the community years ago, and also about the brilliant young digital innovators who did what city administrators failed to do and programmed an app to connect youth with free public activities.
I apologize for slipping some contempt for Boston bureaucrats into that last one, but if you can’t see the negative space, it’s hard to realize what the positive’s supposed to look like.
CHRIS FARAONE, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.