Billie lives in the small town at the end of the story

Newspapers managers do a lot of hand wringing about user comments. They are so … distasteful and base. It’s such an issue, it’s becoming a popular seminar topic.

And reader comments threads at the bottom of stories at knoxnews often aren’t for the faint of heart and can be far from uplifting. Granted my view may be a bit tainted. I can spend a good chunk of my day reviewing the ones users have found objectionable.

But then again, there is something going on in user comments that has nothing to with discussing the issue at hand or solving world problems – or even local problems. There’s an organic community evolving that operates much like a small town. It’s not a everything-always-ends-sunny Mayberry, but then again Mayberry was a mythical TV place. No, I’m talking about a “real” small town.

People “know” each other by their user names and “know of” many more. Just like a small town, it can be painfully gossipy and catty and sometimes down right mean. But the characters and voices are rich.

Beyond the end of the story may be the best reads of the day.

Here ItFrom.Us thought so on Monday, blogging:

Billie is amazing.  If the KNS could find space to give Billie his/her own column, or at least a blog, I would be eternally grateful.

If you like to laugh until you cry, it’s a must read.

“Billie” is a commenter that is in a mere 67 comments is developing a fan following of sorts on knoxnews.

A couple recent comments:

Posted on April 21 at 7:42 a.m.

A dolphins the smartest animal in the world. They have slippers instead of fingers. They can swim and bite. i would like to adopt a eagle. If a eagle had a fight with a snake it would win and I would not get a snae bite. I would call my eagle a good name but I cant think of one to name it yet. It would be a girl eagle like me. maybe i can adopt it from somebody who sells them to you.

On Young-Williams Animal Center looks to public for help

Posted on April 21 at 7:25 a.m.

One time i did bite somebody. At leat a dog cant shoot you. A monkey could shoot you. That is the only animal who can do it because of the fingers they have on them. If they had a gun with a different way of shoting a dog could shoot it. If the gum was like a gun for only dogs. i never saw one.

On Young-Williams Animal Center looks to public for help.

You can see all of Billie’s comments here.

Does Billie need a blog? I think Billie has a blog, just some of us think it’s a news site. Would we be smart at knoxnews to give Billie a blog or a column? Now, that’s a question to kick around on the bench outside the general store.

What do you think?

Photo is of Aunt Bee and Opie (Frances Bavier, Ron Howard) from “The Andy Griffith Show” set in the mythical land of Mayberry somewhere near Mount Pilot..


  1. Helloooo Jack,
    Interesting piece on blog comments. Odd, but interesting. It is almost a call for comments and therefore I will add one.
    Yes, by all means give Billie a blog, well actually Billie could start their own blog on Blogger for free, then they could leave comments and attach the link
    to drive folks to the blog. Billie could then add Google search options and get revenue for placing ads on the blog, before long the folks who comment on Billie’s blog
    could build a following and start their own blog and ad Google Ads, but I digress.
    I like that Billie comments on YOUR blog and is a part of the community of opinion with the central virtual Knoxville gathering/typing site.
    For those of us that are East Tennesseans in exile, it is fantastic to read comments from folks with a connection. We like to know if the Bijou Theatre is still in use, or if the parking shortage in Downtown has actually changed any, or even if they still call it downtown? or has Yankee influence overtaken the area and changed the name to Uptown?
    maybe Uptownington?
    Well that’s my four cents, I think more people should just comment and join a conversation and not try to “sell” their own product, spam, link, promote, etc.
    Also the folks up in Mount Airy would argue that they are a real “Mayberry” town.
    I am not certain the blogpulation up there, but we get many comments from the area on our site.
    Oh and don’t forget that Mount Airy also is known for more than just the Mayberry connection. They also proudly display exhibits in the museum on Donna Fargo (Luckiest Girl in the whole USA) and those Famous Siamese Twins, (The stuck together guys)

  2. The Bijou has been renovated and is doing well, I think.
    Parking is ample downtown. I still call it downtown, but it’s gone uptown to a certain degree with a downtown movie theater and residential condos in the old buildings.
    There is more activity downtown than any of the 24 years I lived here, which is a good thing. Course the center of the shopping universe has moved all the way to Farragut at Turkey Creek.
    Back to Mayberry. Yeah, Mount Airy is a nice town, but never struck me as quite Mayberryish to match conception of the TV town. Francies Bavier did “retire” to Siler City, NC, which is small and not quite Mayberry either. She was somewhat recluse during her years there.

  3. I’m thinking for the House. Could be a worthy rival for Campy. Of course, this is just an observation from five hours to the west.

  4. I used to be tempted to comment on stories on news sites but it didn’t take long for the forums to be reduced to anonymous shouting matches. It’s a shame that good discussions get drowned by the din.
    Unfortunately, and are already taken.

  5. Billie definitely needs a blog, titled “Get Me Some Help”
    I agree with sadcox, though, I laughed til I cried. Poor Billie, bless his heart……

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