In that this is among the last entries of this weekly column, I figure it's a good time to look back and reminisce — not just on the past year, but on Over the Edge's nearly three years of columns. So without further ado, here's a recap and update of the some of the most controversial of its more than 130 installments.
The Circle of 300 — May 24, 2012 — The premise behind my most obtuse of theories: There's only 300 people in this whole big wide city of ours who really pay attention to what's going on in the indie music scene. Just like there are only 300 people who really follow local art, and 300 who follow local theater and 300 who follow independent film, and 300 local foodies, and so on. Just 300. Everyone else is completely oblivious or just a casual observer. Well, two years later — despite the ever-growing "connectivity" of social media — I stand by that number, and will add that it's harder than ever for bands, artists, actors and chefs to get noticed by that circle of 300. The Internet continues to make the world smaller.
Dinner (review) for schmucks — June 6, 2012 — This column about Yelp helped get me banned from a couple of Benson restaurants. One of my Yelp reviews even has become fodder for a Block 16 parody video. Though Yelp restaurant reviews seem to have lost their relevance to many of us, the fact is people visiting our fair city depend on them because, well, where else are out-of-towners going to find restaurant reviews? The core problem with Yelp: It's a world where first impressions —good or bad — last forever. Casual Yelp reviewers rarely return to update their reviews, and in some cases (such as mine), aren't allowed to.
A Fashionable War — June 21, 2012 — The essay about then-Omaha musician Laura Burhenn of The Mynabirds' "New Revolutionists" photo website — designed to show "what true revolutionary American women look like" — got a lot of heat and accolades from those who agreed or disagreed with my questioning whether it was philanthropy or marketing. It easily was the most controversial column published over the course of Over the Edge. I won't go further other than to say Burhenn, who hasn't talked to me since venting after the column was published, has a new Mynabirds record coming out sometime in the near future, and I look forward to hearing it.
Un-Embraceable Me — Nov. 15, 2012 — In a millennial world where people hug hello and hug goodbye — both women and guys — I'm still among that group that's on the outside looking in, and I don't mind. A handshake will do just fine, thank you.
Gun Laws Will Never Change — Jan. 17, 2013 — Written days after the Newtown, Connecticut, massacre, where 20 children and six adults were shot by a wacko at Sandy Hill Elementary School, the column said that even in the face of that tragedy, once the smoke cleared, nothing would change regarding gun laws. "They'll never ban guns in this country, no matter how much people want them to or how afraid gun owners are that they will." Readers wrote in to tell me I was cynical and naive, that surely this time things would change. But two years later, nothing has. People have forgotten the families of Newtown, while we wait for the next massacre to occur.
River's Edge Is a Game Changer — May 30, 2013 — Boy, did I miss this one. Everyone had high hopes that Tom Hanafan River's Edge Park, located on the Iowa side of the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, could become a new concert destination to rival anything in the area, including Stir Concert Cove. But other than a couple small attempts at oldies concerts, the park has been delegated to dog walkers and Frisbee throwers. Oh well.
You Can't Always Get What You Want (But You Can Get What You Need) — June 13, 2013 — Written after it was announced that Bucky's gas stations had purchased the Louis' Market property in Benson. People took to social media to scream in outrage, saying the last thing Benson needed was another gas station, especially in a "food desert." I said a gas station beats the current state of the property. Well, a year and a half later, the buildings that housed Louis' Market and Louis' Bar continue to rot right before our eyes, and no one seems to know what's going to happen with that property, though local politicians say the bulldozers could arrive any minute. Don't hold your breath.
Take It from a Non-Fan: Pelini Deserves a Break — Sept. 19, 2013 — Then Husker Football Coach Bo Pelini was about to suffer through another non-championship season when Deadspin made matters worse for ol' Bo by publishing comments made (presumably) in private two years earlier following a victory over Ohio State; comments directed to "fair weather fans," such as they can "kiss my ass on the way out the f***ing door" and "We'll see what they can do when I'm f***ing gone." Needless to say, Bo's future was in doubt. I said if Nebraska fired Pelini, it would mean another 10 years of a headless body of a football program, blindly flopping about the gridiron, searching for direction. Well, they didn't fire him back then, but…
Stay tuned for Pt. 2…
Over The Edge is a weekly column by Reader senior contributing writer Tim McMahan focused on culture, society, music, the media and the arts. Email Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org