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PDD Herzog Zone

If you’ve followed Perfect Duluth Day for any length of time you know one of the more prolific commenters is “Helmut Flaag,” who for a five-year stretch went under the handle “Herzog.” I’m often curious about whether people enjoy his contributions or find them annoying.

Personally, and as one of the moderators of PDD, I have mixed feelings. I often find Helmut/Herzog’s remarks to be well crafted and amusing, but they occasionally consist of a flurry of antagonistic threadjacks about how lumbersexuals are destroying rock and roll with their old-time banjo music.

So it’s time to start a thread specifically dedicated to our mysterious opinionated friend.

For the uninitiated among us, some background …

PDD is a community weblog that has morphed over the years from initially acting like a Duluth version of Facebook (before Facebook existed) to a bit of a news and culture website with a limited budget that combines the work of a few paid contributors with posts from random people in the community writing about subjects relevant to Duluth.

Prior to 2012, PDD did not require people to log in when commenting on posts, which meant there were numerous trolls posting anonymous garbage that moderators had to either delete or deal with, leading to the creation of the infamous PDD Troll Zone of 2010. The Herzog Zone is obviously patterned after that.

PDD has become a different beast in recent years. The log in requirement almost completely did away with spammers and trolls. Combined with the proliferation of Facebook, it also drove the overall number of comments down. Logging in is a hassle, after all. So a Herzog Zone on PDD isn’t likely to blow up the way the general Troll Zone did six years ago, but that’s no matter. The point is that Helmut/Herzog is a unique character who deserves examination. PDD moderators can’t let him threadjack and be a nuisance, but it’s not like he’s threatening death and mayhem and should be banned.

It should also be noted that Helmut/Herzog is not just a commentor on PDD. He has authored 25 posts to date, covering a broad range of relevant topics.

The problem is that he loves to chime in as often as possible to let us know he thinks Trampled by Turtles suck, etc. Sometimes the moderators think that’s fine, but when there’s a minor onslaught we tend to delete the comments. Below are examples from three recent comments, all removed from the posts they fell under.

Regarding Anna Tennis’s essay “To the Battlements, Wherever and Whatever They Are

Ms. Tennis, to discover when how and why Americans went wrong, we need look no further than the Oh Brother Soundtrack- that monolithic metronome of mundanity for lumbersexuals which I categorically lay the blame on for sending us down Satan’s slippery path of copycat mediocrity, forever shit-staining what might have been visavis great rock and roll in the next millennium. Instead, sabotaging many a young musician’s sense of personal artistic freedom who now because of it, can’t rock their way out of a wet paper bag. So I beg of you young musician full of hope and dreams, tear asunder that soggy diaper of spiritual infertility, and let your inner rock god tear you a new one. Trade in that musty dulcimer and mandolin for a Flying V and a Sitar Pedal now, and let her buck. You have but one life to rock, and that old timey horse-shit on the ears stuff is no way to go out. Think of your grandkids.

Regarding “My friends went to Duluth and all I got was this crummy mug

I went to Duluth and all I got was Appalachia, post-metal, and moan-core.

Regarding the PDD Calendar Index, no doubt referring to a picture of Dave Simonett

God I love the stone wash and white T look. So biz caz. I’d own it myself but it’d be soiled by dawn. Twin Ports got Appalachia though. We should be moving into WWI-era tunes any moment now as Mitch McConnell bursts through my stomach lining and slithers across the bar singing ‘Hello my baby, hello my darling, hello my ragtime gal.”

Any of those comments might be fine by PDD moderators on their own, but as a campaign it’s just a bit too much.

At any rate, here’s a place for Helmut/Herzog to say what he wants, if he wants. It’s also a place for anyone to state their feelings about his commentary or his general internet existence. Do Helmut/Herzog’s remarks tend to enhance or sour your PDD experience? Here’s your chance to say so without hijacking a different thread.

22 Comments

Frank Novitski

about 2 years ago

I consider him a warm flannel freund

Special K

about 2 years ago

Hogwarts isn't Hogwarts without Slytherin, so it is with the internet and trolls.

Helmut Flaag

about 2 years ago

Hey, come on now. They also said good things about them and commended the efforts of PDD to stay abreast of the current trends. Everyone is unique. Life is Beautiful.  Every moment is precious. But you forgot Rand McNally and Miles A Broad, and they are all looking forward to when Duluth gets into Big Band.

TimK

about 2 years ago

I have appreciated the lack of trolls, though I admit being one on occasion. Herzog's comments generally seem innocuous -- I know plenty of Duluthians who don't care for TBT and banjos. Who am I to complain? I can throw a flaming bag of internet when the situation calls for it.

Helmut Flaag

about 2 years ago

Thanks Tim, but this is supposed to be an old fashioned dog-pile on the rabbit, so just play along for now. 

Further,  I don't believe the word "suck" was ever used.  If it was, then it was wrong.  And I, apple-ogize.  Duluth has talent, and also a great many beards and banjos, and bands and beer.  Then it has more restaurants and beards and bands. Repeat. These are the knowns, as PDD has chronicled them over the years- more than humanly thought possible.  HF, MAB, RM, and HRZG have indeed all at one time or another challenged that authority, and for that, they are forever not sorry.  But there is not simply one kind of troll is there? You'd like there to be.  To have your troll and eat it too,  and keep it in a nice little box? Just as there is not one kind of politician or lover. And this, as the record shows, is what those posts were really about. Truth and justice.  Fear greed and loathing, and what was lost and never found.

PDD, it's been real, I'll be around.

nicolai

about 2 years ago

I like his posts.  Even though I think he pissed me off once about some flannel and beard rant.  TBT/banjos are straight up garbage.  Homegrown is pretty crappy too.

Helmut Flaag

about 2 years ago

LOL Nicolai, thanks. Hey, it was much of it a joke, and maybe one toke over the line. Paul's right. There's a time and a place to mention alien parasites like the GOP ripping through your body cavity to do a performance on the bar- and the Monday morning weekly isn't it, so I owe you that much PDD, but you probably owe me a few grand in royalties, are we even?  Maybe I'm just really really good looking, and effective at sounding serious while tearing fads a new one and calling out general dipshittery, but I cannot be the judge of that, nor can I help it if I'm addicted to sarcasm and satire, or if I hate stupid fads that go on forever and ever and never fucking change in my bizarre lifetime.  Its a terrible affliction. A catch-22.

Most of the newgrass musicians have more technical ability than anyone, they just don't expand their horizons very often.  Perhaps they simply need to take all that money they made in the Lumbersexual boom that Duluth anchored, and take a trip around the world?  Nothing cleans the valves more than travel.  I remember seeing Tony Trischka playing with a badass metal guitarist in upstate New York in 1998.  It was amazing. I thought it was the future, that we'd see a lot of branching out in the new century, but I have to say almost 20 years later, sadly, old-timey and a lot of other things haven't changed much.  I don't really care if one prefers whiskers and flannel or not, because chances are you just hate shaving. Take Nick Offerman, he  happens to be trendy by accident.  It so often seems to me that a lot of folks, often sensitive artists who take themselves too seriously, like the platoons of them you find around these parts, can't take a joke, which is probably why I dug in.  Alas, we all got a little lumbersexual in us. So, to stand my ground while the calvary shoots me to pieces, I'll leave you here with this thought... Tough titty.

Sam

about 2 years ago

Mike Judge once said "There is a little Bevis in all of us."  It is sometimes entertaining to see a person's Bevis go full Cornholio, and that is what I see in Herzog.  Sometimes it is fun, sometimes it is weird, and sometimes it is very weird.

Fitz

about 2 years ago

It's probably my useless English degree talking, but I have occasionally spent some time with a Herzog post trying to decide if it's a well crafted stream of consciousness masterpiece or a stoned ramble that I'm overexamining.  I have never been able to reach a conclusion.

ElPete

about 2 years ago

I appreciate weird, creative, & articulate speech.  I also appreciate writing articulated in a weird way.  He kind of reminds me of Reverend Norb.

bhall

about 2 years ago

I'm with you, Fitz.   Sometimes I am entertained, sometimes I am aghast, and sometimes I am confused.

bhall

about 2 years ago

Helmut, I appreciate your articulate defense of your sarcasm.  I will read your comments with a (larger) grain of salt from now on.

Helmut Flaag

about 2 years ago

I guess this makes me an Iggy Pop to Duluth's Beaver Cleaver?  Just begging for someone to throw a bottle.  How did this lonesome and thankless quest for lost rock and roll go so terribly wrong?  We must've got into some kind of weird parallel universe where I wake up twenty years later to nothing's changed and I'm going around like an old man wheezing to a bunch of whippersnappers to 'turn that 1920's music down!'  Y'all can make fun of me for liking Lawrence Welk though, and Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman, and we won't even twist our undies over it. Why?  Because those guys went down swingin'. 

 Here's an existential question: If the world's in deep shit, but I'm not, can I still go home now? 

Tune in next week for 'The Really Hungry Bear who Devours the World'

Niff Bimrod

about 2 years ago

hey ELPETE! Do you know Rev Norb? i grew up in Green Blah and know him from SUM days

ElPete

about 2 years ago

Hi Niff,  No unfortunately not.  I saw Borris the Sprinkler Play at a coffee shop that is now downtown computer. I don't remember its name.  Great show, very entertaining,  great & weird stage presence.   I wonder if he is in any bands these days.  Maybe you could hook up or help me hook up a show?  Sorry for being a thread pirate here....

Frank Novitski

about 2 years ago

Rev Norb and the Onions is his band now and they still do shows. I think Herzog would enjoy this, so I don't think we are hijacking.

BadCat!

about 2 years ago

Herzog is the equivalent to the guy at the party who loves talking so much, he'll begin shouting when the host turns up the music in an attempt to drown him out.

He isn't offensive, and thus shouldn't be treated as an attacking troll. However, his wordy non-relevant posts always seem to be the sign of attention-seeking behavior.  I imagine him as a sad man saying "I'm still here - remember me!" to anyone that will listen.

Honestly, I don't read any of his posts or comments anymore. They do not add anything to the conversation, and often detract from or completely derail actual interesting conversation. I've honestly considered creating a Chrome/Firefox extension to remove his comments from PDD, but that would just be giving more attention to a man who has already demanded so much.

BadCat!

about 2 years ago

Paul - does Wordpress have any per user comment/post limit settings? Limiting the number of comments/posts he can make per day may reduce some of the inane clutter that he adds to PDD.

Niff Bimrod

about 2 years ago

Fuck censorship, try just not reading him.

Paul Lundgren

about 2 years ago

I don't know if WordPress allows limiting user comments as a standard or plugin option, but of course anything can be engineered. I don't think that's an appropriate thing to do, however. I think deciding on a case by case basis is much better than setting a limit.

But anyway ...

One surprising thing that just occurred to me is that Herzog never commented on the "Homegrown Banjo Breakdown" post of 2013. I mean, there it was, the big chance to weigh in on Duluth's biggest controversy.

ElPete

about 2 years ago

Whether you like Helmut or not, the fact remains that he is a better writer than 90% of the folks on this site, including myself.

Helmut Flaag

about 2 years ago

And Badcat, you remind me of that nurse in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

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