TJCrawdad Emerges Into the Light

TJCrawdad aka Tom Cantrell has emerged from behind his mask over at his Let the People Vote Blog. He hit several local blogs where folks have written about his shenanigans (LUSFTTH, Timshel, LafayetteProFiber) making comments in response to particular posts.

The most extensive discussion took place at Timshel where I had guest blogged a summary of the week’s fiber news and included material on Crawdad/Cantrell that I had posted at Lafayette Pro Fiber that week.

I am happy to see this out in the open. It had really irritated me that Cantrell so happily took potshots at folks who were trying to do their jobs while being shielded by the annonymity of blogger from any real consequence. Oh–he is absolutely right that I got his title wrong. I am not sure where that crept in but it’s my mistake.

I’ll make a few comments at the end but in all fairness you oughta get a chance to read what he says before I weigh in. Here is the exchange that took place in the comments:

Bonjour. Thanks for all of the recognition on your blog, but I must set the record straight. First, I am not a Vice President, I am but a lowly director, but thanks for the promotion. Second, all of the stuff in the profile is true. I was born in La Rochelle, France so I do love all things french, the Pelican Brief is among my favorite movies (I listed it because I thought it was apropos), etc… As for living in Lafayette, I’ve spent about as much time there since May as I have in Tyler… It’s my “home away from home.” There are no lies sorry to say. Finally, I agree with you completely on the silliness… That was my intent. If we were all a little sillier about this, we’d all be better served. I hope you’ve had as much fun with it as I have. With that, I bid you goodbye.

TJCrawdad | Email | Homepage | 09.28.04 – 2:06 pm | #

Ah, you know how it is. There are all these people who think a lie is a lie. They are sooo unfun to have around. They tend to think that the word “resident” has some particular meaning. It’s so irritating and unreasonable. They are the same annoying sort that tend to think that hiding behind a mask while you punch your legitimate opposition is, well, dishonest. You know, because they can’t punch back.

Such fun to take a little shot from the dark. Wink, Wink, Nudge, Nudge, Tee Hee….

If you don’t want folks to say ugly things about you then you could always try being open and aboveboard. You could say who you are on the blog and who pays for the bread on your the table. You could try not lying about being a neighbor of the folks you are speaking to. This wasn’t some quiet little blog where someone wanted to muse in anonymity. This blog was advertised around the clock on channel 14 for weeks. Its intent was to deceive.
John | Email | Homepage | 09.28.04 – 10:48 pm | #

Did you really watch channel 14 for weeks around the clock? That should win you some kind of record.

Let me be clear about something; I blog for those who are my friends and who ARE your neighbors and for whom you have so little regard. They are the Cox employees who don’t have the luxury of “blogging” like you do because they have real jobs. They work incredibly hard to try to provide quality services to their fellow residents. In the meantime, they have to listen to you and those of your ilk pontificate about things you know nothing about.

Tom Cantrell
a.k.a. TJCrawdad
TJCrawdad | Email | Homepage | 09.28.04 – 11:59 pm | #

Behind my “mask”, as you call it, are over a hundred decent residents of Lafayette that work for our company that you have no qualms about dissing if they dare to have an opinion and express it in the letters to the editor. Incidently, it is not “my mask”, it is “our mask”; I am our collective voice.

OK, I’ll come clean; I get paid by Cox Communications to tell our side of the story and to stick up for our folks – to give a voice to people you clearly distain.

Now it’s your turn; what are you in it for – glory, fame, money – your turn to come clean – and please don’t give me that technology of the future jazz – you don’t have a crystal ball and obviously you are no businessman.

Tom Cantrell
a.k.a. TJCrawdad
TJCrawdad | Email | Homepage | 09.29.04 – 12:00 am | #

Honest injun Mr. Cantrell? I’m in it for my community and my grandchildren. I doubt that is actually so hard to understand.

There are values beyond glory, fame, or money. They don’t appeal to everyone but they appeal to me.

I do appreciate your coming clean. Thanks.
John | Email | Homepage | 09.29.04 – 12:53 am | #

Mr. Cantrell says: “I get paid by Cox Communications to tell our side of the story.” Yes, and that is understandable. What I objected to and still object to is not simply saying that plainly. My guess is that he worries that saying so on his blog might impair his effectiveness–with the general population of Lafayette he hopes to sway and with the governmental officials that it is his day job to deal with. Secrecy is not an accident; it serves real, corporate purposes.

I don’t buy the idea that Cantrell imposes on his employees out when he says: “I am our collective voice.” I was a carpenter for nearly a decade and know what it’s like to sweat all afternoon in the July sun and come home with salt crusted in the creases of my t-shirt. My experience leads me to guess that this executive doesn’t speak for the linemen. If I were in their shoes I wouldn’t like it. Maybe I’m wrong. But this “I am our collective voice.” bit sounds awfully arrogant to me–and hardly gives him license to pretend to be a resident of Lafayette. For the record: I respect the folks who do the work and maintain the cable and internet connections that I use everyday. Its not hard to see they do a real job under tough conditions. I don’t always find it possible to respect their bosses.

Finally, it’s revealing to me that the possible motives for wanting a fiber network for Lafayette and fighting for it seem limited in Cantrell’s view to “glory, fame, money.” There is no glory, fame, or money in what I am doing on this website and no prospect of any. I am an educator–or at least that is what I have spent the largest part of my life doing. There was no glory, fame, or money in that either. My wife and I came back to Lafayette because we love Louisiana and our people and want to be with our children and grandchildren. I want the very best for Lafayette and those six small children. Nobody needs to pay me.

2 thoughts on “TJCrawdad Emerges Into the Light”

  1. You work for free? Nobody needs to pay you? I find that hard to believe. Don’t you think those six small children need to eat?

    Come on now… let’s be a real “honest injun” and tell everyone who pays you? Who do you count on to feed those kids? Tell us what you do for a living… I did. It felt good. Just let go.

  2. Ah Mr. Cantrell, you seem so certain that what motivates you motivates others. It really doesn’t have to be so. You get paid as you say “by Cox Communications to tell our side of the story.” But some people have opinions about this story that they are not paid for. I am one of those people.

    You ask: “You work for free?”
    I reply: “Yes, I work at this for free.”
    You ask: “Nobody needs to pay you?”
    I reply: “No, nobody needs to pay me.”
    You say: “I find that hard to believe.”
    I reply: “I believe that you do.”

    And I do believe you about this one thing: That it doesn’t make sense to you that I have an opinion about this matter that I am not paid to hold.

    But it makes sense to me. I happily hold all mannner of opionions that nobody paid me to hold.

    I am recently retired and pretty happy about it. The last thing I did before returning to those grandchildren you mention was to work at the University of Delaware as a professor. One of my areas of specialization was educational technology, and I was on the graduate staff in that area. I know what bandwidth can do for education. I dream of what universal, cheap access could do for education and for the community. And I want all that for those grandchildren. It seems easy to understand to me. Is there something in your question I am missing? The bottom line is that I am beholden to no one but my own sense of what is best for the community i hope those kids will grow up in.

    This is all basically a matter of public record. See, for instance, the “who are we?” page available in the index block to the left. Follow that link to where I talk about why I do this site.