Reality Bites by James A. Norton



Once a ‘Villen, always a ‘Villen…it doesn’t matter where you live, only where your heart is.


I ran into someone I have known for many years in Stop & Shop two weeks ago, and I thought they were going to fall over. Like they had seen a ghost or something. They couldn’t believe their eyes that I was “amongst the people” (their phrase, not mine) in the local grocery store. Not for nothing, but, I do more stuff related to “Villens” on social media (whether you realize it or not) than probably 95% of the people who live here, and yet, because I am not running around the city in a very public manner all the time, I must have moved to New Hampshire or something. Nah, just 7 miles away in Woburn, thanks.


Stuff like that makes me chuckle now – but I will be honest, for a long time it used to piss me off. Oh, I know I spent a lot of time in the 00’s writing about my personal life, and I dabble here and there now in what’s going on with me and my family, but, truth be told, I rather like being under the radar. For the most part, when I run into people on the street (the shock of it not withstanding of course), I am greeted with enthusiasm and praise for the things I have written over the years in various local publications. It’s very rewarding, which is why I continue to do it.


Then you get the asshats who get all bent out of shape when they read words like “asshat” and think that I don’t have the right to say anything about local issues because I don’t live here. Even though I am a part-owner in a local business, spent 44 of my 48 years living here, and am in Somerville almost every day. Right. Makes no sense. Then you get the asshats who get all bent out of shape and think that even though I write an opinion column, I shouldn’t be able to say whatever the Hell I want. Right. Makes no sense, again.


So my new mantra is to ignore the ignorant, to laugh at the arrogant and dismiss the asshats of the community. Whether they’re real people or fake Facebook accounts trying to stir up trouble and provoke someone here. Whether they think they’re untouchable. Whether they think they’re right and want to call me out – I am right here, bring it. Listen, if I have no problem calling out the Mayor when he does something questionable, and I consider him a personal friend – what makes anyone else think they’re safe? They’re not – at least not within the confines of my opinion column. Chew on that.


Look, this is a community-based newspaper and there’s a few of them in this city – and no, we don’t like each other to be blunt. But hey, that’s good for you – the general population/readership – because you get a variety of information and opinions. If you don’t like what is written in this newspaper or specifically in my column, then please don’t read it – we understand and hope you have an excellent day. If you enjoy it, then enjoy it. Join in the conversation. Be part of the discussion.


To that end, can’t we all just get along? #GMK


One thought on “Reality Bites by James A. Norton”

  1. What a great article about how much everyone loves you!
    Look James, I personally don’t know you and don’t want any kind of battle with you. My comments here are mine and mine alone. My reasons for being upset with you were the contents of your column. As a Somerville resident I felt that your opinion column was not appropriate for a newspaper representing my community but I was actually fairly impressed with your last column. You put away your usual unnecessary vulgarity and insults to write a column about your affection for the city in which you’re writing for. Kudos.
    But then you slipped back into your old ways with this column. This week you use the word “asshat” several times to refer to people, tell your reader to “Chew on that”‘, and add yet another veiled threat against any who may disagree or take offense. Why? Don’t you have anything better to write about it?
    We all understand that your column is an opinion piece, but it is an opinion column written for the residents of Somerville to read. So why go out of your way to use vulgarity and insults? Those who open your newspaper aren’t looking to read about whatever or whoever is pissing you off lately. Those kind of angry rants should be posted on your personal social media, NOT in a community newspaper. I stand by what I’ve said earlier; these kinds of angry rants and dirty laundry have no place in our city’s newspapers.
    James do you understand how you come across to the average person reading your articles? What kind of man would write this kind of stuff?
    I’m not implying that you don’t have friends or followers. I’m just saying that you could do something positive with your column instead of filling it with negativity and insults; which in turn would attract more interest to your column. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
    I don’t hate you James, even despite some pretty shady and bogus attacks you launched against me (which I could publish here with the proof to back it up, but I won’t. It’s called “taking the high road.”) You can keep insulting and alluding to myself and others, or… you can write more articles like your last column. Positive things about Somerville’s residents and the community or an interesting piece on a particular topic. Please stop using the newspaper to write about yourself, your personal life, and everyone you think is an “asshat”. I hope to read your next column and see a vast improvent, but I know that I will likely be reading more low-brow insults directed at myself and others. Please prove me wrong. Squash all that hate you got inside of you. It’s no way to live a happy life. Good luck on your future columns.

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