The Real Quincy Code: Snarking on Globe Columns
Globe politics editor Glen Johnson’s analysis of Scott Campbell’s acquittal, and the “Quincy code” he lived by to achieve it, has elicited some snide commentary from folks who find the column’s depiction of Quincy as some kind of omerta-ruled frontier a bit … overwrought. Scott Campbell, of course, served as Tim Cahill’s chief of staff, and Wednesday he was acquitted of charges that he conspired to spend lottery funds on an ad campaign in order to boost Cahill’s gubernatorial candidacy.
In his post “Cahill co-defendant Scott Campbell lived up to Quincy code throughout trial,” Johnson sought to explain Campbell’s behavior through the trial. He sets his tone from the first sentence, which opens, “In Quincy, loyalty is more prized than a cup of Marylou’s coffee.” (This comparison seems off, as Marylou’s costs about $2 and is not particularly prevalent in Quincy.) Johnson continues:
South Boston has the reputation as the place where secrets go to die and grudges never do, but its South Shore neighbor is no poseur on either count.
That code explains how Scott Campbell got in the trouble he did, the way he addressed it when he faced the very real prospect of jail time, and why the 41-year-old was left virtually speechless when a jury announced his acquittal today.
This is Johnson’s way of characterizing Quincy-native Campbell’s decision not to speak publicly about the trial throughout or to take the stand in his own defense. But to some of us, this Quincy code of loyalty by which Campbell supposedly lived seems a bit … mythical. On Twitter, Dorchester Reporter news editor Gintautas Dumcius tweets in response:
— Gintautas Dumcius (@gintautasd) December 11, 2012
Others found it a bit overly cinematic:
I do not understand this Globe column. “Quincy code?” What? It’s like a pitch for a terrible screenplay. boston.com/politicalintel…
— Anne Hjortshoj (@annesaurus) December 11, 2012
And while we usually shudder at the idea of venturing into the comments section of Boston.com (the quality of which is only a few steps up from the commentariat on YouTube) the conversation happening there is fairly entertaining. WYOMING92 writes:
THE QUINCY CODE ????? HOW ABOUT THE BROOKLINE CODE……WHERE THEY RAT YOU OUT IF YOUR DOG POOPS ON THE GROUND….. HOW ABOUT THE CAMBRIDGE CODE.. IF YOU DON’T DRINK A LATTE, YOUR BANISHED TO SOMERVILLE.
We asked Johnson by e-mail what he thought of the criticism, and he seemed to address the complaints of people who suggested, in the words of one commenter, that “Globe writers didn’t grow up around here, and really do not understand the area.” Johnson told us, “It was a piece of analysis written by someone who has lived around here for nearly 40 years. People are free to agree or disagree.” He adds that he’s heard from appreciative members of the Campbell family “so the Quincy caucus may be split!”
Maybe so, but it seems to us that if there’s one Quincy code — a prescribed set of expected behaviors from its citizenry — that can be easily sussed out here, it’s this: one must respond to overreaching Globe analysis with unbridled internet snark.