20212_10151154308362675_637475268_nBy Billy Liggett

The Joker never wanted Batman to go away. His mere presence made life fun … even if the caped crusader was a huge thorn in his side.

When I was editor of The Sanford Herald, Keith Clark was my thorn. A blogger who launched the Lee Dispatch in early 2008 (shortly after my arrival in Sanford), Keith was critical of just about everything The Herald did, and thus was critical of just about everything I wrote. In 2008, he called me “inconsistent” and “annoying” during our coverage of the Jamie Kelly-Herb Hincks “sign-gate” … a story he tossed himself into head first by filing a complaint against Kelly with the Board of Elections.

In 2010, he took a photo of one of my reporters looking down (or blinking, or thinking … who knows) and reported on his blog that she was sleeping.

And there was plenty in between. But every newspaper editor out there has a Keith Clark (or several of them), and the sane editors learn to appreciate their critics. Hell, some even have fun with it. I chose to have fun with Keith. I once photoshopped his face on a “Braveheart” poster and changed the title to “Brave Fart.” It turns out, Keith had fun with it, too. He applauded my photoshopping skills, and laughed it off.

A few times, we were on the same team. Keith and I were both regular whipping boys on a blog run by a group of local conservatives hiding behind the names and images of the country’s Founding Fathers. They were much harsher on Keith, poking fun of his weight and mental state.

Keith announced this week that his blog has come to an end. This comes less than a year after an unsuccessful run for the Sanford City Council and a few months after he was appointed to the Central Carolina Community College Board of Trustees. I don’t know the reason for the decision, but I wish Keith the best.

Here’s hoping he will one day find another newspaper editor and annoy the shit out of him.