Anyone wanting to see how bad boosterism – the desire to push a local project regardless of sound arguments and actual experience to the contrary – can get should look to the 2018 ‘Warriors and Wizards’ festival in Jefferson, Wisconsin. Formerly a Harry Potter Festival, it was rebranded after Warner Bros. clamped down on obvious infringement with intellectual property rights.
Now, one reads in the Daily Union – a paper that’s flacked this festival despite many readers’ experience with the low-rent, disappointing affair – that the promoter may have failed to pay not just an out-of-town actor (in itself both wrong and predictive of deeper problems), but local vendors, too. See Suppliers, attractions still await payment (“Bounced checks, declined credit cards are reported”).
Predictably, the officials from the City of Jefferson (and in some stories the DU) are still rationalizing this disaster as a good time, despite hundreds of accounts – literally – of bad experiences or obvious lies from the promoter and local municipal officials (for example, wildly inflated claims about attendance, charitable contributions from non-existent profits, etc.). See Jefferson council to assess festival in December.
This publisher (Knox), this editor (Spangler), and this reporter (Whisner) flacked for this event again and again; ordinary readers saw through their mendacity. The one reporter who gave a good account of problems before last year’s festival (Alexa Zoellner) is gone from the paper; her lengthy history of the problems the festival had in Edgerton, Wisconsin was pushed aside for a string of forced rationalizations and lies about the 2017 event. (These were lies that ordinary people debunked easily on Facebook.)
Someone should tell the Daily Union’s ‘crime reporter’ that reporting on crime doesn’t require rationalizing alleged criminals’ crackpot festivals.
As for the local officials (and the risible newspaper people) who keep making excuses, well, they’ve betrayed the needs of their neighbors for their own pride.
One once often heard – and can even now read – a teaching on this point that still matters to some of us.
As it turns out, it’s a teaching that takes a dim view of pride.
Previously: Attack of the Dirty Dogs, Jefferson’s Dirty Dogs Turn Mangy, Thanks, City of Jefferson!, Who Will Jefferson’s Residents Believe: Officials or Their Own Eyes?, Why Dirty Dogs Roam With Impunity, Found Footage: Daily Union Arrives on Subscriber’s Doorstep, Sad Spectacle in Jefferson, WI (and How to Do Much Better), What Else Would a Publisher Lie About?, Iceberg Aside, Titanic‘s Executive Pleased with Ship’s Voyage and New Developments About Jefferson, Wisconsin’s ‘Warriors & Wizards’ Festival.