Dear Birmingham logo

Be you, Birmingham

12.31.2008 by André Natta · → 8 Comments

Read Offline:

As you read this, I’ll be in downtown Philadelphia (arriving yesterday via a really cool bus service), beginning the final chapter of what was supposed to be a four-day trip out of town on business. It started out as a trip out to Colorado and became an unplanned visit home to New York because of my mother’s unexpected triple bypass surgery. For those interested, she’s doing better now and her first follow up is scheduled for early next week. A quick thank you to the folks at New York Presbyterian – you have no idea how much my brother and I appreciate you right now.

This was the second time in the last 11 months that I’ve had to make a detour up to the Big Apple. In January, my father luckily survived a bout with kidney failure. I’ve learned some valuable lessons as a result of these trips. First and foremost is that it’s true about folks in the medical profession being among the most stubborn of patients.

I’ve learned that there are a few folks out there that still may not get why this website exists but will volunteer to let folks know that it’s alive and kicking. I was told earlier this year by a former contributor that I didn’t show enough appreciation; I only hope that the ones that stepped up while I’ve been out of town to help us show signs of life know how I truly feel.

There may be some that may be expecting me to say something about learning to shut it all down and walk away. The weird thing is I’ve known that the entire time the site’s been up. I would say that I would build on that lesson and offer this bit of advice as you enter the New Year – BE YOU. 

That message can be applied to individuals as well as to this great city, once the largest in the Southeast. To paraphrase a phrase I’ve seen floating about town, WE are Birmingham.

Despite the egos, the attitudes, the negativity and the economic downturn, we are a community that can be empowered to do great things. Every once in a while, someone shows their ass for their face and makes me realize just why those local attitudes are what they are – because of outsiders who take pot shots just because they can and they have the platform to do so. BTW – I know that I will always been viewed as an outsider as well, no matter how long I decide to call Birmingham home.

For those waiting for me to take a greater dig at Dashiell‘s “retaliation post” on Deadspin, all I will say is his ignorance is bliss. We are not a perfect city, but I’m from what’s known as the Greatest City in the World and you should hear what we say about it. (we’re pretty hard on ourselves too).

Well maybe one more thing – if people continue to take stances like his without some commentary from those who truly love the city, warts and all, – hint, hint – then it is much easier for many to continue to discredit the importance of blogs to continuing conversations.

I can say that The Terminal is definitely going to be what we need to be in 2009 and not worry about criticism… yet.

So it’s a quiet week here at Birmingham’s hub and for those expecting more, you may be waiting for a while. I hope you will help us ring in the New Year in belated fashion on January 8 as we host a Terminally Happy Hour at The Bottletree (and hope that you hang out for the show afterwards).

If you want to talk to me before then, I’ll be back in town on Friday afternoon – meaning that Saturday morning I’ll be in the corner at okafes! by about 9:30 a.m., catching up on the world that’s always passing us by, so long as my mind remembers that I’m back in Central after spending some time in Eastern and Mountain.

If 2009’s going to be a revolution, this site’s ready to take the lead… are you ready to step up too?

André Natta is the managing editor of The Terminal.

Read Offline:

Filed under: Commentary

8 comments
Andre Natta
Andre Natta

Thanks Jeremy, and everybody else, though I didn't write the response that was referenced in the Deadspin piece. I was out of town and did not know of the original post until afterwards. This diatribe I posted here served as my version of a response.

Jeremy
Jeremy

While I completely agree that Deadspin could not be more wrong. For a sports blog that thrives on satire and ridicule at least they posted the full body of your response. Birmingham's not perfect but having traveled to many other cities big and small Birmingham is a great fit for me. It is a city with a dark and troubled past and is easy to stereotype but I think it is learning from its mistakes and is growing into a vibrant supportive community. I applaud the work you've done documenting the city and being one of its greatest advocates. I personally would not have as great a appreciation for Birmingham and its wonderful blessings without the Terminal. Your work means alot. Thank You.

Jeane Goforth
Jeane Goforth

I have learned to love Birmingham and its people even more deeply over this last year. I really appreciate your commitment to the city. Thank you.

Josh Self
Josh Self

Good to hear about your mom, and that was a great reminder to all of us to get out into the internet / blogosphere and spin some positivity on our city every chance we get!

Scott Schram
Scott Schram

So glad your mom is recovering. What's this about you being considered an outsider? It's good to keep our perspective about the need for improvements here, but you're as much Birminghamian as any native son. :)

Nicki
Nicki

I'm glad to hear that your mom is doing better! Will look forward to seeing more of The Terminal in '09. :)

jenna
jenna

Thanks for being so positive about the city - we definitely need people like you to push us to see what's good about Birmingham and to work on being better. Have a happy new year!

Tom Brander
Tom Brander

Glad the trip seems to have worked out ok and that Mom is doing well. Best wishes to all for the New Year. May we all soar in the new year in whatever endeavors we are working at! Best, Tom