City Desk

Park View Strikes Back

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

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  • Steve D

    Thanks Kent. I'm still trying to figure out exactly which parts are full of this so-called "humour" that they are supposedly so famous for.

  • Mike B.

    Hahahaha what a douchebag. Get a sense of humor, Kent. Why can't people just buy a goddamn house in this town without expecting free blowjobs for life? Christ!

  • Tom Anderson

    Dear Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Boese:

    Thank you for demonstrating exactly why Petworth needs more voices like Petworthies. Your comments are trite, hidebound and humorless. I’m glad our short tenure in the neighborhood offends your small priesthood of ineffective activists.

    Let’s boil down your arguments to their core: 1. We are gentrifiers. 2. We hide from public scrutiny and berate community achievements. 3. We are socially naïve and divisive. 4. We are irresponsible.

    Since points 1, 3 and 4 are basically ad hominem attacks, I’ll concede those points to you. Yes, I did buy a home in an affordable neighborhood. Naïve is a subjective term, but most people who know me well would say that I’m divisive. As for point 4, the “puerile and undergraduate” posts on Petworthies should give you an indication of where I fall on the responsibility spectrum. Adam can speak for himself and I’m sure he’ll disagree with me.

    As for point 2, plenty of other outlets provide the unconditional praise you seek. I know it’s a heavy crown you must wear as Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner. So please refrain from visiting Petworthies until you have built up your self-esteem by reading local blogs that give every neighborhood effort an A-plus. We grade on a curve. I am not smart enough to figure out how to allow comments on our Tumblr posts yet. But when I do, you’ll be the first to know. Adam and I have put our names on the site since day one. Readers can always contact us using the general
    Petworthies email address, And if readers ask nicely, I’m happy to provide them my personal email address and phone number. No one is hiding from you.

    Finally, I don’t care if you don’t like our humor. If Park View’s honor can’t withstand a few corny jokes from a Tumblr account with a handful of beautiful and brilliant followers, then the neighborhood should disband and join Greater Petworth. Col. Petworth would welcome the new recruits.


    Tom Anderson

  • JM

    Good lord... was there ever a more useless thing to argue about?

  • D.P.

    I'd weigh in with my own opinion, but I only moved to Park View last year (2010), making me a "newer resident" in Kent Boese's eyes, so I guess whatever I have to say couldn't possibly be of any relevance.

    Thanks Kent for making me feel so welcome. I'm looking forward to the next ANC election (2012).

  • Anonymous

    @D.P. Read again. He was speaking specifically of "uncaring, detached newcomers." We welcome new residents who care about the neighborhood; it's the ones who don't give much of a shit about anything who are problematic.

  • [dave]

    FWIW I too found the Commissioner's remarks to be "clearly" dismissive towards newcomers.

  • IMGoph

    If the gentlemen involved actually took the time to meet Kent, they'd realize their view of him as ineffectual and hateful towards "newcomers" is misinformed.