I thought since people are already “upset” with me because I take Newburyport’s political journal, the Undertoad with some seriousness, I thought, what the heck, I’m going to come right out and say it, I think the Undertoad is really important to the city of Newburyport, Massachusetts. Yup, how about them apples.
If all those people who have been “Toaded” were upset with me before, imagine how pleased they are going to be with me now.
A paper like the Newburyport Daily News is in a kind of a bind. It needs to keep it fairly light and not too controversial because it depends on its advertisers. I don’t imagine the Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank would hang around for very long if the Newburyport Daily News started to aggressively rake them over the coals for tearing down One Temple Street, which was part of Newburyport’s historic down town. Yes, they did do some articles, but they were balanced.
And looking back at the article the Newbuyrport Daily News did on Nick Cracknell earlier this year, it was quite frankly, more balanced towards the business community. Important members of the community really got to sound off on how frustrated they were with Mr. Cracknell’s approach, shall we say.
Important things that happen in the community slowly, very slowly and gingerly start making their way to the front page of the Newburyport Daily News.
Reading that Bossy Gillis was “honest, tough, resilient and, when aroused, politically cruel,” reminded me of guess who, yes, Mr. Ryan the editor of the Undertoad. People who have been “Toaded” (and their families and friends) have a really hard time getting beyond the politically mean aspect of the Undertoad, and let’s face it, it’s lousy being “Toaded,” yes, it really, really hurts a lot.
But there is the “honest, tough and resilient” part of the Undertoad. Without the kind of background information and press, the Access Road might now well be a reality, and the Open Space that has been acquired, might not be in existence. As I remember it, the anti Access Road was talked about in the Undertoad way before it became politically correct enough to be able to make the front page of the Newburyport Daily News.
And the CPA, well Mr. Ryan went to bat for that in a big way. And I remember when so many of us banded together and put yellow bows of caution tape around the trees for the Yankee Homecoming Parade. I kept thinking, why isn’t there a front page story in the Newburyport Daily News about this? Talk about a good picture opportunity. Talk about a great story. It took a very long time for High Street to make front page news, and then it did in a big way. But the Undertoad talked about the fight to save High Street over and over again. Jane Carolan’s article a “Call to Arms” which was front page on the Undertoad in the early winter of 1999, did in fact become a “call to arms.”
Could we as a community have used an Undertoad when the waste treatment facility and the oil refining project were being seriously considered? You bet cha. Could we as a community have used an Undertoad when the powers that be were considering razing downtown Newburyport instead of restoring it? Yup.
Think about it, the future of Newburyport with Mr. Karp as a major landlord is unknown. Who else in town would be gutsy enough to take a good long hard look at what Mr. Karp is up to and if it’s not good, let everybody know about it. Not me, I can tell you that. Big power, big money, I’m chicken.
So folks, as much as there is this love, hate relationship with Newburyport’s Undertoad, as a wild left-wing, radical progressive (you know this is hyperbole right?) we need the Undertoad for all sorts of reasons that we don’t even know about yet.
Mary Eaton, Newburyport