Friday, October 19, 2007

"We Intend Now to Break the Silence and Resist."

"The two of us live here, our kids go to school here, and we begin every day confronting the issues of journalism here."

(From "Breathtaking Work of Staggering Self-Congratulation Abuse of the Constitution," Phoenix New Times.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Fear and Loafing

Somebody wake up Ben Bagdikian. Comes now word that Creative Loafing Inc., owner of eponymous alt-weeklies in Atlanta, Tampa, Sarasota and Charlotte, has added Washington City Paper and the Chicago Reader to its quiver. We confess to only a passing acquaintance with the Creative Loafing papers, though we've always regarded them as a sort of backwoods cousin to New Times Village Voice Media, Randy Quaid to VVM's Chevy Chase. Now they appear to be traveling upmarket. We'll spare you the standard handwringing and garment-rending over media consolidation, but we would like to offer one plea to the Chicago Reader's new Loafer overlords: Don't fuck with the Straight Dope.

Also: Don't forget to add your Andy Van De Voorde description to the pile below!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Who's the Man?

"He looks like a Holocaust survivor in a Men's Wearhouse suit." -- Current New Times VVM employee

Friends! As most New Times VVM team members know, there exists a mover and shaker within the company who inspires fear and offends fashion senses wherever he slithers. His name: Andy Van De Voorde (hereafter known as, "VDeV"). A shadow dweller, he is the New Times VVM hatchet man who fires staffers across the land without notice or explanation, tweaking the organization (well, such as it is) to ensure its readership receives only the best journalism, week in, week out (i.e. stories about dicks).

But, as we learned recently, not all New Times VVM scribes are savvy enough to understand their employer's canny style of management. More to the point: Few staffers, we realized, would be able to recognize VDeV even if he molted on their keyboard. And thus, in the spirit of helping others, we hereby announce a new little endeavor: Those of you in the know, would you kindly leave in the comments section -- anonymously, if you choose -- your best description of Mr. VDeV, just like the one above? Using the descriptions, we will enlist the services of a sketch artist to render the visage of VDeV, so that future generations of VVM employees will recognize the embodiment of cold death before he arrives with their walking papers. You can also probably poop on the drawing if you like. Let's have some fun!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot ...

Our vigilant interest in New Times Village Voice Media has taught us many important lessons (when in doubt, think with your dick, for instance), and this week we once again learn that in one's pursuit of that heady, chode-scented brew of sod and sweat ( ahem), one is never exempt from the swift steel of the guillotine. We can only imagine that the human resources department of New Times Village Voice Media is a busy, busy place.

LA Observed reports on the departure of Kate Sullivan (her blog is here, but she didn't grant us permission to read it -- don't tell her we sent you). She is being replaced by Randall Roberts of the highly-esteemed Riverfront Times, who proves he's a dutiful soldier in New Times' Village Voice Media's assault on language by saying, "My plan all along was to be in LA. Getting the job was the icing." (His inscrutable blog is here.) The analogy brings to mind that timeless chestnut from web-guru-cum-music-writer Bill Jensen: "At some point, the bullshit gets so thick that you have to flush the toilet and clear the air."

Speaking of Bill, the SFist posted a letter from his departing underling, SF Weekly web editor Matt Stroud, who apparently doesn't know how to take marching orders from vaguely threatening out-of-town bosses, and who was a little put off when he realized said bosses were encouraging a bit more bloodlust in a publicity-stunt boxing match with a crosstown rival from the SF Bay Guardian. Seriously. Needless to say, this seems hilariously ill-timed for the Weekly.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Alt-Country -- Highlights From the World of Weeklies

An Alt-Weekly Death Watch contributor recently made the comment: Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in. Yes, AWDW took a break. But shit, these talented fuckers didn't, and it became so painful to sit on the sidelines and watch as they practiced Extremely Powerful Feature Writing that we simply couldn't help ourselves. So then, to the magic...

Alt-Weekly Death Watch is having a contest! The first person to forward us the memo instructing New Times VVM staff writers to write thousands of words about boobies, butts and dicks will receive a signed copy of Mike Lacey's vagina. Seriously, what's wrong with these people?

With the recent departure of Michael Tortorello, that just about completes the mass exodus of Minneapolis City Pages editorial staff members that took place in the wake of New Times VVM's acquisition of the paper and subsequent installment of the clearly talented and genial Kevin Hoffman as Editor in Chief. Are we the only ones to notice that the irony in New Times VVM's constant bragging about all the awards it receives is that it is also constantly chasing away its award-winning journalists?

Wait a second, wait a second -- really?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Masterpiece (Of Shit) Theatre Presents: The Ghost in the Machine

INT. OFFICE – NIGHT. A pervading sense of despair, futility, and dread fills the SF Weekly newsroom. Suddenly, out of the chilling gloom, a thundering, ghostly voice – not unlike Sam Elliott’s, only meaner and without a lick of his frontier soul – shakes the walls, and Managing Editor Will Harper’s eyes dart around the room, trying to find its source.

VOICE: Will Harper … Will Harper … This is the fax machine talking. Do I sound like a guy you’d want to mess with?

HARPER: No, oh great voice in the machine. You sound like Mike Lacey.

VOICE: Goddammit, I thought we fixed that. Oh, well, at least it fooled the Justice Department. (Beep) I am spitting out a piece of paper. (Beep) It’s your next story. We already have a headline: “Unfair Lawsuit Act.” The folks here in Phoenix think that’s a really catchy title. And get a load of the deck: “SF Weekly moves to dismiss the Guardian's lawsuit, which is light on witnesses and evidence.”

HARPER: Wow, that’s just the kind of unprejudiced fact-finding that separates the Weekly from those lefty rags like the Guardian.

VOICE: Put that in the story! Oh, and in the first paragraph, you’ll point out that I grew up in New York, and that I am “famously unafraid of a fight in life or business.”

HARPER: “Famously?”

VOICE (as the lights on the fax machine blink an angry red): YES, FAMOUSLY!

HARPER: Okay, okay. But won’t any intelligent reader see this article as a transparent, desperate attempt by a megalomaniacal owner to use his own newspaper to pursue a personal vendetta against his competitor? We don’t pay that much attention to local news, especially local news that nobody else is writing about. This story is over 2,500 words -- hell, we wouldn’t write that much if the mayor was found face-down in a pile of coke.

VOICE: Well … we would if his transvestite lover found him, and if the mayor had a myspace page. But I see your point: That’s why you’ll make a “full, if obvious, disclosure” that I’m your boss. And at the end of the story, long after everyone’s done reading, and after extensively quoting Village Voice Media lawyers, our hired experts, and, of course, myself, you’ll quote Daniel Farber, a free-speech expert at UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall, who will call our argument “intriguing but not persuasive.”

HARPER (reading out loud): “After the Weekly described the argument and the case cited to him, Farber said, ‘It seems like a stretch to me.’” Ouch.

VOICE: We’ve had him dealt with. Any other questions, my boy? I have to tell Hoffman which underpants he’s wearing to the staff meeting tomorrow.

HARPER: Only one. Does this story count against my quota?

VOICE (fading into the ether): Of course … it was your idea!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Alt-Country: Last Week in Weeklies

Things from the woolly world of alt-weeklies that blew our minds and tightened our vaginas:

Exquisite turn of phrase: "Her labia would chafe from friction when she jogged."

Second-laziest attempt at justifying shopworn alt-weekly story staple: "Cockfighting has long been big in Ohio."

: "It's official, cocaine is back."

Most honest sentence in (full, obvious) suck-up job: "Full, if obvious, disclosure: Lacey is my boss." (More on this later)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Cover, You're Ass

Just because New Times VVM is splattering about the sea of the Blogosphere, begging its writers to contribute to its ever-expanding list of crap blogs for little or no extra money, that doesn't mean it's ignoring the tried-and-true tenets of old school journalism, namely -- put some boobies on your cover! Congratulations, Phoenix New Times! That cover is ass!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Bylines? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Bylines

Are we back? Who knows. Is this a new post? It sure is. Here at AWDW, we are occasionally accused of not using bylines. Without dredging through those icky comments from months back -- in which ostensibly professional New Times VVM journalists sought to discredit our enterprise (which admittedly seeks to discredit theirs) by stomping around the playground screaming, "BYLINE! BYLINE! FAGGOT! MY DICK IS BIGGER THAN YOURS!" -- let us simply point you to a notable curiosity that occurred this week, in a piece where Mike Lacey flung poo at SF Bay Guardian honcho Bruce Brugmann for the umpteenth time. As it originally appeared online, Mr. Lacey's byline was sittin' right there, like so:

Then, shortly thereafter, it disappeared entirely. Like so:

Why would Mr. Lacey want to have his byline pulled? Could it be because the notion of a busy executive editor of a 17-paper chain (and such a dignified one at that) running around flinging poo at indisputably smaller competitors might be construed as, well, embarrassing? Who can say. At the time of this writing, the byline, like Bigfoot and New Times VVM's dignity, remain missing. If you have information leading to the whereabouts of any of these things, you know where to find us.

Friday, June 29, 2007

"They just laughed, and drank more cocktails."

"I told them that going after somebody on the left does not prove you are not a lefty. In fact we do it because we are on the left. They just laughed, and drank more cocktails."
Read more: End of an Era at the LA Weekly

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Do You Hear the People Sing?

"I'ma do what I gotta do," Kevin Hoffman, the City Pages' apple-cheeked editrix and inveterate graf-buster, was saying on the phone the other day. He was talking to our source's voicemail, giving the words a little goombah top-spin that made the Hoff sound less like, say, Al Lettieri and more like, oh, Estelle Getty.

Over the past two weeks, the Hoff has rained both legal and vaguely physical threats on our source, who had provided this blog with small pieces of information about the Hoff's editing style and personal charm. In two phone calls and a voicemail, the Hoff said a great many things. He called this blog a "hate site" and demanded -- through our source -- that it be taken down. He raged about our use of "Pax." He generally proved himself to be every bit the foof we said he is. Our favorite moment, though, has to be the above quote, which we now have in .wav format on our desktop. From time to time, we set the mood with a little k.d. lang and give the clip a listen. It makes us laugh. And it makes us wonder how boring Minnesota must be. "Ahmuh dooh whuh ah gotta dooh." It's the New Times Village Voice Media ethic -- hollow and misdirected bluster, tinhorn machismo, the works -- busted in six words by the chain's doughty wonderboy. Quite frankly, he continues to make our point, in person and in print, better than we ever could.

It seems we've come to a pretty pass. Lately, our small satirical operation has occasioned some transcendent dumbfuckery on the part of journalists who should know better but would rather watch their dicks swing. There was, most recently, the string of comments to our previous post, which resulted in at least one writer being threatened with blacklisting. And there is the Hoff, who, you'll recall, buckled his swash so memorably around that comments section, going so far as to heckle his former writer about filing for bankruptcy. (Who wouldn't want to write for this guy?) There's more. In addition to haranguing another journalist's source (ours), even threatening to call our source's current, non-VVM boss, Hoffman says he is now weighing a lawsuit. Its purpose, it must be noted, would be to overturn a longstanding legal precedent regarding satire, buttressed recently by one waggish media company's hard-fought victory in Texas Supreme Court.

The case is called New Times v. Isaacks.

If our biggest problem were just one VVM editor who carries himself like some junior-varsity Ben Bradlee with a Clairol frosting set, we'd laugh, photoshop him into a flannel shirt, and go on our way. But when folks with no connection to this blog are named in a comments section that we have no yen to police, well, it makes us both sad and bemused. And it makes us ask: These are journalists?

We thought this over, debated, chewed our pens, and decided in the end that, rather than subject anyone to a misguided VVM-brand bloodwrath on our account, it might just be best to take down the shingle and close up shop, at least for the time being. (But look to the horizons for Alt-Weekly Death Watch balaclavas, coming soon to a second-tier American city near you!) To judge by your e-mails, there were times we served as a sort of bloggy id for the legions of disaffected in Mike Lacey's demesne. Apologies and many thanks then to those people, who, if they wish to contact us during our cicada-like repose, can still reach us at It's been fun. We busted many grafs. And now we'll bust one more before shuffling off.


--Your humble Death Watch

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Alt-Country: Notes from the Modern American Weekly

Come Again?
In Minneapolis, much has been made of the several infelicities busted recently by apple-cheeked editrix Kevin Hoffman of the City Pages. To wit: Hoff, in a mere 291 words, managed to 1.) write that new Minneapolis Star Tribune owner publisher Par Ridder had been “smacked around like a two-bit ho in a lawsuit”; 2.) refer to the Strib’s plan to outsource 25 jobs to New Delhi as “Operation: Sanjaya,” evincing both a steely grip of pop culture and the kind of delicate touch not seen outside of Flaubert and; and 3.) write that soon the paper’s ad designer “will be taking a rickshaw to work.” Oh, and the headline: “Local business, meet your new advertising partner: Habib.” (Habib, of course, is an Arabic name used by many Muslim Indians, but not exactly common to the subcontinent, and certainly not the predominantly Hindu New Delhi.) What’s more, the offending words – excepting the headline and the rickshaw crack -- were squeegeed from the City Pages’ web site, no explanation given. We really have nothing to add to the fine work done by Minnesota Monitor (not to mention the always-entertaining peanut gallery over at MNspeak), except to say that Hoffman continues to demonstrate why he’s the chain’s wonderboy.

The Hoff's Bust-A-Graf Counter (total grafs busted by Kevin Hoffman during his tenure at City Pages):

Ass. Editor Now On Top
We're pleased as spiked punch to relay news of a promotion at the Cleveland Scene, that seeming font of corporate teat suckers. "Associate Editor Erich Burnett [again with the names!] will assume a fulltime Corporate Editorial role and begin to work directly with all of the top editors at VVM," writes high-order brass polisher Christine Brennan (author, incidentally, of the most bloated and ridiculous New Times VVM feature not about whales). The email goes on to describe Mr. Burnett's new duties. We include them here, with additional explication.

1. "Overseeing corporate copy editing." The AP has yet to put forth a ruling on whether it's My Space, MySpace, or myspace. Regardless, this is where most of the alt-weekly readership has wandered off to. "Tom" is their friend now.

2. "Film syndication; editing of DVD reviews, Game On." Translation: examining the packaging of New Times VVM's Big Macs, Whoppers, Chicken Nuggets – the prefab "content" it ships out to its ostensibly local-focused papers for reheating and publishing. That's right: Neither Jordan Harper nor Robert Wilonsky live in your town.

3. "Fellowship recruiting." Wherein New Times VVM shills show up at college j-school programs, threaten hopeful graduates with news of the dearth of journo jobs out there, then open their arms like a Fagan character, offering them $400 a week to report on orgasm clinics and fight clubs. If they do not like this, they can, in the kind words of the New Times VVM brass, go fuck themselves.

4. "Qualitative oversight of online listings." I.e. take up the never-ending fight that is New Times vs. the Internet. This is so sad it's almost charming. As page counts dwindle and ad dollars go online, New Times VVM rushes to the Web in a covered wagon, arriving with its pan and shovel and china doll. There's gold in them thar online spaces!

Needless to say, we wish Mr. Burnett all the luck in the world, for he will most certainly need it. Should things not work out, rest assured he can go fuck himself.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Bury Those Leads

New Times Village Voice Media is known for its punchy lead writing. A VVM lead doesn't just set the scene -- it grabs your tits by their balls and hurls you into it. Here's a smattering of recent favorites.

With a 9mm Beretta strapped to his chest, Iztok Plevnik opened the passenger door of the bulletproof, black sedan and climbed in. (*)

The gray-haired professor cracks his whip in mid-air. "Wake up back there!" he commands the two dozen folks lounging around on plush cream couches. (*)

Paul and Cheryl Anderson were sinking into their king-size bed late one night in the fall of 2004 when they heard a loud, ominous thump. (*)

The 120 dutiful souls who'd answered their jury summons on January 9 had been sitting in the historic Waxahachie courthouse listening to lawyers drone on for hours. Then suddenly things got weird. (*)

Only a bad acid trip or real life in Orange County could conjure up this question: Is there a relationship between pudgy, polyester-clad U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher, 59, and the “Wascally Wabbit Vibrator,” “Miracle Dick Pump,” “Paradise Pocket Pussy,” “Triple Clit Flicker,” “So Real 8-inch Dong,” “Aria’s Pussy and Ass Inflatable Doll” and such cinematic wonders as Sprachen ze Dick and Everybody Loves Big Boobies, Vol. 3?(*)

After nightfall, western Hollywood goes dark and an otherwise featureless horizon comes to be dominated, suddenly, by the Hollywood Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, the phosphorescent glow of its turrets visible for miles in every direction. (*)

After he got sprayed with a face full blood while on the job last month, Minneapolis sewer work Ron Huebner—like a lot of the people who heard about the incident— responded with a mix of shock and repulsion. (*)

When Donna Dennis swung her legs over the side of her bed, planted her feet on the carpet, and took a few steps on New Year's Day 2004 — which just happened to be her birthday — she knew something was dreadfully awry. (*)

Shauntay Henderson sauntered past the TV cameras with a sly smile on her face just three days after she was arrested March 31 by Kansas City, Missouri, police. The 24-year-old had reason to gloat: She's among a very choice group of women criminals. (*)

Keith Hardine is a tall, fit African-American with a big smile; he looks not unlike a younger Ernie Hudson circa Ghostbusters, or Larry Elder if he hit the gym a little more. He shakes my hand and gives me some pepper spray. Hardine is about to teach me how to defend myself against Mexicans. (*)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I'm the Death Watch! I'm the Death Watch!

Today we draw your attention, somewhat belatedly, to a story in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, in which your humble correspondents are namechecked (and impugned).

Monday, April 09, 2007

Caliente! VVM Sex Story of the Week

As is well established, New Times gobbled up Village Voice Media with the intention of spreading the seed of Great Journalism far and wide. And what constitutes Great Journalism? Well, duh -- it's boners! Yes, as followers of VVM's brand of Great Journalism are painfully aware, the chain is obsessed hookers, orgies, swingers, nudity, sexual malfeasance, etc. etc. Is a bowling club too retarded a subject for these steely eyed observers of the American Condition? Not if it's a naked bowling club. And so, as the aforementioned seed spreads like semen 'cross a porn star's mug, we present: Caliente! VVM Sex Story of the Week.

Runner Up No. 3: Nashville Scene, "The Bitch-Ho Problem: Vandy scholar explores the sexual politics of hip-hop."

Runner Up No. 2: Cleveland Scene, "Gutter Balls: Adventures in naked bowling."

And now... the VVM Sex Story of the Week goes to... SF Weekly, "Sex and Sensuality: Touchy-feely "researchers" want to build community through the the practice of orgasmic meditation -- one stroke at a time."

Line that swayed the judges: "A timer is set, and for the next 15 minutes, the stroking is on. Up, down. Up, down. Up, down. Up, down. After putting on latex gloves, Sam began massaging Jessica's inner thighs and lower stomach. He went in for the lube stroke. 'If you follow the inner lips, her clit will pop out,' Sam said."

Congratulations, journalists!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Cover: You're Ass

A tipster writes: "Mary O'Regan is good looking, but to be on the cover of Seattle Weekly AND CP? That's just weird." No, that's synergy!

Cover feature, City Pages, April 4, 2007
"Catwalk Confessional: Jab me with pins! Feed me lettuce! Insult my ass! How I became a (not-so-super) model for Voltage, Minneapolis's rock 'n' roll fashion show," by Mary O'Regan

Cover feature, Seattle Weekly, April 4, 2007
"What You Like: Karla Starr searches for musical love online," by Karla Starr

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Philadelphia Story

As rumors circulate that Mike Lacey is at this very moment en route to Philly from his San Francisco bachelor pad, news breaks that New Times Village Voice Media is purchasing the Philadelphia Weekly! Early reports indicate that Weekly employees are mad as hell. We can't imagine why. Stay tuned for updates as they arrive. Disgruntled and soon-to-be disgruntled staffers should feel free to write in. While your job may not be protected, your anonymity will be.

UPDATE! Someone may have jumped the gun here. Still, any excuse to Photoshop Lacey's shit-eating grin over Katharine Hepburn, right?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Turn Your Head and Cough: A Closer Look At VVM's Nuts

Why, again, did New Times gobble up the Village Voice chain? Oh, that’s right – to teach America how to publish hard-hitting, well-written, “butt-violating” investigate journalism, none of that soft alt-weekly bullshit …

But lo! As we turn our jaundiced eye to Phoenix New Times, the one that started it all, we spy a cover story on rich little girls who have really expensive birthday parties, and ooh, does it drive their moms crazy! It’s no doubt a trend, because the writer, Robrt L. Pela (what is it with these names?), uses the actual word “trend” nine times in the 4,258-word story … the 4,258-word story about little girls’ birthday parties.

Let’s take a closer look at the “nut” section of the story, wherein a well-schooled writer-editor team presents a thesis it is wholly unconfident in, but tries to pass off as "literary" and/or "important" anyway:

Poor Sarah. Poor Sarah's mom. Today, in their giant backyard, draped in 40 pounds of streamers and encircled by thousands of dollars worth of merriment1, neither is taking much pleasure in knowing that they're at the best birthday party in the great, big gated Paradise Valley community where they live. It seems unlikely that either would care at this point — as the merry-go-round starts up for the hundredth time and the pony takes an unexpected dump on Raggedy Andy's shoe2 — that they're merely the latest in a long line3 of mother-daughter duos who are feeding the current trend4 in over-the-top, over-produced kiddy birthday parties. Neither Sarah (because she's too young) nor her mom (because she's too, well, frazzled at the moment) has given any thought to how they've been feeding the multimillion-dollar industry5 that's sprung up around Sarah's desire for everything she sees on TV and, just maybe, Mom's inability to "connect intimately" with her daughter.6

It's no surprise7 that experts are horrified8 by this burgeoning business9 in ridiculously opulent birthday parties, this newish industry10 that's busting at the seams11 with more and more lavish ways12 to acknowledge the first day of Little Johnny's fourth year. It's a trend13 forwarded not just by maniacal moms with disposable incomes and no extra time, but by moms in every income bracket who feel guilty because their busy lives keep them away from their kids. It's a trend14 that the super-est Super Moms support, even though many of them would like to give a permanent time-out to the guy who invented the chains of "grown-up" (some say downright sleazy) party places they're hiring for the day, places that pour their tiny daughters into glittery cat suits and glop them with enough eyeliner and blush to choke a birthday clown.15

1. VVM math: Verbs like “draped” and “encircled” + big numbers = false urgency.
2. Sure, dear reader, this may be a story about rich little girls' birthday parties … but unnecessary references to horseshit seek to remind you that this is, in fact, an alt-weekly. Motherfucka!
3. Warning: Trend ahead!
4. What did we tell you? And it's even worse than we feared: This trend is being fed!
5. Get this trend on a diet! It’s been fed twice in the last two sentences.
6. Editor: “This is only an award-winning story if you can get to the psychology of the modern mother/daughter relationship.” Writer (thinking): “But that’s bullshit.” Solution: The phrase “just maybe.”
7. Well, at least not to this writer.
8. You can almost picture the shellshocked expression on the bearded face of the Arizona State sociology professor. Almost.
9. It’s the confident writer/editor team who must continually remind their reader(s) of just how burgeoning and overfed this trend is. It is practically bursting at the seams!
10. Okay, okay. It’s “burgeoning” but “newish.” Or, in Lame New Times Story Pitch Speak 101, "That'll fly!"
11. We swear to God: We wrote footnote 9 before getting to this part of the sentence. (It takes awhile). At least we used “practically bursting" at the seams.
12. Will this trend ever sit still?!?
13. We repeat: It's a trend.
14. At this point, you've gotta be some kind of twisted, cynical baby-eater to continue denying the existence of this trend. So just stop it, okay?
15. Sorry. Got carried away by the writing. Color us "hooked."

Jerking Hoff

An orgy of alpha male journalism battered Minneapolis on Wednesday as Kevin Hoffman, the new editor of the City Pages, unleashed extremely powerful feature writing in a cover story about a pro hockey goon. This was The Hoff's first cover since arriving in town and it was filled with all the big dick charisma we've come to expect from the rugby cut Cleveland tough. Battle-scarred knuckles. Broken jaws. English as a second language. This story had it all. But even The Hoff knows that one manly feature does not a lesbian marriage pioneer conceal, so he also sprayed his byline all over the paper's website. His name appears no fewer than four times on his new bitch, all in connection with the same story. This super-max "online package" includes transcripts from The Hoff's goon interviews and a photo homage to his totally platonic new man crush, Derek Boogaard. It's almost too icy to bear.

And now for some data....

Total grafs busted: 119
Number of times Boogaard is called "The Boogeyman": 84
Number of appearances of the word fight (or variation): 39
Awkward or cliched similes: 9*
References to gorillas: 2
References to Yetis: 1
Number of times Boogaard is compared to a GQ model: 1
References to Boogaards "extra girth": 1
Description of hands like concrete blocks always thrown with bad intentions: 1
Examples of measured writing: 0

The Hoff's Bust-A-Graf Counter (total grafs busted by Kevin Hoffman during his tenure at City Pages):

* "The Boogeyman is tenderizing King like a cheap piece of meat."
"The Boogeyman streaks at his target like a heat-seeking missile."
"he almost looks like a model out of GQ."
"He was tired of being treated like a circus sideshow,"
"The Boogeyman ... continues his trajectory like a passenger ejected through the windshield."
"he was embraced like a long-lost relative."
"After one fight, his opponent ripped the name off Boogaard's jersey and tossed it to the crowd, like a matador circling the ring with an ear at a bullfight."
"the Boogeyman's skates were chewed up like a dog's toy."
"Gillies collapses like a marionette with its strings cut."

Monday, March 26, 2007

Bury Those Leads

New Times Village Voice Media is known for its punchy lead writing. A VVM lead doesn't just set the scene -- it grabs your tits by their balls and hurls you into it. Here's a smattering of this week's best.

On the night of January 27, 2003, Danny Holmes and Shawn Hamre stood outside a prostitute's door at an apartment building at 16 West 37th Street. (*)

You have to be Michael to understand. (*)

The first time Alana McCoy was labeled a dyke, the sophomore was walking back to her car in a Regis University parking lot. (*)

"Why say no when it's so much easier to say yes?" (*)

A certified wingnut runs around screaming on the corner of Telegraph and Durant avenues in South Berkeley, his underwear outside his clothes, a toy medieval shield in one hand, a toy axe in the other. (*)

The VIP card is a delicate and dangerous thing. (*)

People in the Bay Area are so busy mapping a fungus genome or rolling out the next digital porn platform that they rarely notice they still live amid two of the Great Society's most notable accomplishments: concentrated urban poverty and bureaucratic ineptitude. (*)

Felix Ellis is alone now. His wife, Genevieve, isn't around to make his favorite bread pudding. (*)

Steve Bison of Alabama's Cherokee River Indian Community says the war over 4-year-old Raven Laws may be traced back to the legendary Battle of Horseshoe Bend. (*)

Nima Daivari looked very gay on the night of March 17. (*)

Of all Southern hip-hop's flavors, none captures the lazy pace of an oppressively hot and humid day in the big dirty as well as screw music. (*)

With a deafening drone the airboat sped north. (*)

On Tuesday, February 27, Constable Mike Dupree abruptly left for vacation just hours after Dallas County commissioners ordered an outside investigation of his office after three employees said that the openly gay elected official was a little too openly gay, claiming that he came on to the younger Hispanics on his staff and touched them inappropriately. (*)

Ever wonder what Kansas should smell like? (*)

Ward Regan lived in 61A. In 1999, Greg Abbey moved into 66A. Abbey was depressed. Regan didn't notice. Abbey wanted to be alone. Regan didn't care. Abbey tried to avoid Regan. Regan, a big fan of Seinfeld, adopted Kramer-esque tendencies and showed up uninvited to Abbey's apartment in boxer shorts to watch his cable TV. After getting over finding Regan in his bathtub—more spacious than his own—Abbey finally warmed up to his oddly instrusive neighbor and discovered they had a common interest: cartoons. (*)

The two private Learjets landed at Key West International Airport. (*)

You have to be Michael to understand. (*)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Oh, Baby!

We've Been Had!
We were astonished to read that the Phoenix New Times' story on Anna Nicole's Native love child -- you know, the one that everyone was talking about, teased oh-so delicately around the chain under the headline "One night, Anna Nicole Smith saw red" -- was a hoax. Can you believe it? Completely fabricated! Oh man, the razor sharp funnymen behind that ruse really had us with our pants 'round our ankles for a minute. Thank goodness for Inside Edition, who proved that the only thing more pathetic than the humorless story was the humorless reporting on the humorless story. But seriously folks...

Go Hoff! Bust that Graf!
We were kind of surprised that MNSpeak gave lesbian marriage pioneer Kevin Hoffman's first month on the job such tepid marks. C'mon guys, if you can't handle weed and massage parlors, get out of the alternative newsroom! Our sources at City Pages tell us that the graf buster's attempts to bro down with his staff have yet to lead to anything sweet, and that he swears like a sailor in staff meetings. Pax, dude. Pax.

Polish Up Those Resumes, Ladies!
Space enthusiast Tony Ortega, the new captain of the S.S. Village Voice, posted a call for the vacancy left by Joy Press and is probably typing up another one right now for departing sports writer Emma Span. We tired pretty quickly of Emma's locker-room naif shtick, but she was far from the Voice's worst offender. It really is amazing: New Times Village Voice Media has a singular talent for making us feel bad for writers we don't particularly like.

You, Too, Can Hasten Death's Slow March
We on the Watch have been thrilled to see our li'l hit counter spin, and want to thank you, our faithful readers. Please, join us on myspace, and keep those tips coming:

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"If I've Lost Carr ..."

For those who didn't see it, we'd like to point you to David Carr's recent column in the Times, which is the media-crit equivalent of Walter Cronkite inveighing against Vietnam. You're late to the party, bro, but glad you came anyway.

Note especially the last two grafs, which thankfully move us beyond the tiresome "New Times Village Voice Media as rubes" meme:
Despite the myth, outsiders have always thrived here. William Randolph Hearst, a rube from San Francisco, came here at the turn of the last century and bought a newspaper that became the legendary New York Journal. Harold Ross, a rustic from Colorado, conjured up The New Yorker, while Harold Hayes came from the wilds of North Carolina to all but invent the modern magazine at Esquire in the 1960s.

But none of them worked from Phoenix.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Get to Know Your Brass Polishers: Kevin Hoffman

As the clock ticks onward, please enjoy this feature wherein we familiarize you with members of the charmingly zealous New Times Village Voice Media brood. First up, AWDW mascot and graf-buster Kevin Hoffman!

In the month since Kevin Hoffman was handed the keys to the Minneapolis City Pages, the 30-year-old lesbian marriage pioneer has twice graced the paper's news blog with his prose stylings. If you're unfamiliar with the vogue of the new editor-in-chief, imagine a doughy Sam Spade cracking retard and poop jokes. Hoffman favors bareknuckle phrases like "bust a graf" and "hit me back," often when giving instruction to writers.

Example: "Bust a graf about retards and poop and hit me back this afternoon. Pax, The Hoff."

You see, The Hoff -- as Hoffman's writerly persona is known -- fancies himself a hard-boiled crime reporter. In his debut post, an idea cadged from a story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Hoffman drills down on a local drug bust in which an auto mechanic tipped off police. Sure enough, The Hoff soon flashes his signature wit and deep knowledge of stoner culture: "Who knew 'the Midas touch' meant Acapulco gold?" he riffs. Kapow!

He also busts this graf: "After being hailed as a hero by the dailies—which are staffed by people who wear D.A.R.E. shirts unironically—the mechanic started receiving death threats."

Death threats, drugs, stupid daily reporters who lack a sense of irony? This is both the noir of Hoffman's imaginary cool and the idiom of the New Times Village Voice Media chain. No wonder this kid is its new golden boy.

Trust us, though, The Hoff's been smoking oregano for years. A quick tour of his previous work reveals Hoffman to be more tragic figure than tough guy, a naif obsessed with the netherworld. He's the dork who gets his milk money beat out of him and overcompensates forever. He's the rugby-cut (on the left) who goes to Frisco on his honeymoon and gets this sweet sweet comic book-inspired tattoo:

Title: Milk This, Bitch!
Artist: Andy Lee

Predictably, then, Hoffman's second blog post is about sex. Cadging from the AP, he tears into a state bill that targets masseuses who sexually penetrate unwilling clients. The measure is ripe for mockery and The Hoff obliges: "The new bill was proposed by Mary Olson (DFL-Bemidji), a freshman who apparently never got the memo that rape is already illegal."


Minneapolis, did you get the memo? The Hoff has landed. And you better not fuck with him or he'll cut you up. Real bad.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Cover: You're Ass

I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind...

Cover feature, Cleveland Scene, March 7, 2007:

Cover feature, SF Weekly, March 7, 2007:

Stealin' Segal

In our continuing coverage of "hiring week," we wanted to congratulate Dave Segal, the self-described "music journalist and editor who mostly champions unconventional, non-mainstream sounds, innovators, and paradigm-shifters." He is the newest music editor of the OC Weekly. We know that Dave's sterling reputation for unassailable journalistic integrity will be an asset to his new position. To quote the fond farewell offered by The Stranger, "It won’t be an easy job, but if anyone is up for it, it’s him." And, with any luck, a few wayward English comp majors in ad sales.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Мы вас похороним!

Explaining his hiring of Tony Ortega as the latest editor of the Village Voice, VVM Executive Editor Iron (‘n’ Wine) Mike Lacey had this to say to the paper’s blog: "Lincoln promoted General Grant late in the game. Stalin promoted Marshall Zukoff (sic) late in the game. Tony Ortega is the right man at the right time…”

Wow! How, as a journalist, can you misspell Zhukov's name so many ways? It got us to thinking … if Lacey is Stalin (overseeing his own “Great Purge”) and Ortega is Zhukov (“First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin!”), what about the rest of the New Times Village Voice Media Red Army? Which legendary figures of the Politburo’s Reign of Totalitarian Terror do they represent?

Executive Managing Editor Christine Brennan: Nikita Khrushchev, Stalin’s successor. As Wikipedia puts it: “an ardent Stalinist, carrying out Stalin's orders with uncritical obedience … Although intelligent, as even his political enemies admitted after he had defeated them, and certainly cunning, he lacked knowledge and understanding of the world outside of his direct experience and often proved easy to manipulate by hucksters who knew how to appeal to his vanity and prejudices.”

Executive Associate Editor Andy Van De Voorde: Vyacheslav Molotov, Stalin’s protégé who handled much of the Politburo’s dirty work. Wikipedia: “Trotsky called him ‘mediocrity personified,’ but his outward dullness concealed a sharp mind and great administrative talent. He operated mainly behind the scenes and cultivated an image as a colorless bureaucrat - for example, he was the only Bolshevik leader who always wore a suit and tie.” No word on whether those suits and ties came exclusively from Men’s Wearhouse.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Larkin: Vladimir Lenin, the main leader of the October Revolution, the first head of the Soviet Union, and the creator of the Secret Police. When he died and full authority shifted to Stalin, his body was embalmed and placed on permanent exhibition in the Lenin Mausoleum in Moscow. We’re just saying.

Former Village Voice CEO and President of Village Voice Media David Schneiderman: Leon Trotsky, former ally of Stalin’s who lost a power struggle with him, was expelled from the Communist Party, and deported from the Soviet Union to Alma Ata in modern-day Kazakhstan (a.k.a. “we made him President of the Village Voice Media Internet Division”).

New Village Voice Music Editor Rob Harvilla, who replaced the well-respected Chuck Eddy: Dmitri Shepilov, head of the Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Communist Party Central Committee, who denounced jazz and rock music, warning against "wild cave-man orgies" and the "explosion of basic instincts and sexual urges". In favor of Grandaddy.

Recently deposed Voice Editor David Blum: Sergey Kirov, “a prominent early Bolshevik leader, killed probably on orders of Stalin, who resented his popularity…” He was shot in the back of the neck as he walked to his office. Kirov, that is.

Director of New Media and interim Voice Editor Bill Jensen: Andrei Zhdanov, Stalin’s chief of Communist ideology. Just as Mr. Jensen so artfully articulated the VVM manifesto, Zhdanov’s philosophy “reduced the whole domain of culture to a straightforward, scientific chart, where a given symbol corresponded to a simple moral value. Roland Barthes summed up the core doctrine of Zhdanovism this way: ‘Wine is objectively good…[the artist] deals with the goodness of wine, not with the wine itself.’ In other words, “Spit and sweat. Vodka and pills. Chunks of sod, delta mud, lighter fluid and a well-placed red snapper. That's what popular music is made of.”

Former Seattle Weekly Music Editor Michelangelo Matos, who helmed an alternative to the Voice’s Pazz and Jop Poll on, drawing the scorn of Jensen and VVM: Josip Broz Tito, who as leader of the Second Yugoslavia “became the first Communist leader to defy Stalin's leadership … he was one of the few people to stand up to Stalin's demands for absolute loyalty … ‘Stop sending people to kill me,’ Tito wrote. ‘If you don't stop sending killers, I'll send one to Moscow, and I won't have to send a second.’”

Monday, March 05, 2007

Who's the Boss?

Man, alive! You turn your head away from the media empire for one second and what happens? They start running the bath and plugging in every toaster in the house. By now all you vigilant media hounds have had four early afternoon highballs in response to the news that space enthusiast and UFO believer Tony Ortega is the new Editor In Chief of that most venerable rag at 58 Cooper Square, the Village Voice. We want to add our voices to -- how do you say? -- the bienvenidos and say we're relieved to see that a person of color replaced that despicable racist Blum. Hopefully Ortega will return the Voice to the high journalistic standard that brought us "Ask a Mexican" and the recent claymation tribute to James Byrd Jr.

To help Mara Altman flourish in the Ortega system, we've culled some recon:
-- Mr. Ortega is an amateur astronomer.
-- A careful newshound, he's known to keep one eye trained on a television in his office, choosing to do most of his editorial critiques after a writer's story runs, via email.
-- Though the New Times Village Voice Media press release made mention of his bygone mohawk days, he's still on the bleeding edge. Just check out this hot story about him making "a leap of faith" and riding the train to work.

Some selected reading to help get acquainted with the new guy:
"There is no doubt that something real passed over Phoenix on the night of March 13. Hundreds of people reported what they saw passing slowly in the sky. Two New Times writers were among those witnesses."

--From The Great UFO Cover-Up in the New Times Village Voice Media mothership (get it?), Phoenix New Times.

"Yes, I'm a cardholding member of the Evil Empire, a New Times hack who's been at it for ten years, the boogeyman every Birkenstock-wearing hippie burnout still clinging to a paycheck at alt-weeklies sees in his sleep, coming to take his job and turn his paper into a soulless corporate moneymaker. Have keyboard, will travel. My corporate cookie-cutting overmasters have parachuted me into four of their newspapers in five different stints (Phoenix, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Kansas City, and now Fort Lauderdale) like the merciless mercenary that I am...Kansas City was a tough case. I think of it as my Fallujah."

--From a letter to the editor, posted at Association of Alternative Newsweeklies.

Related links:
-- The Media Mob.
-- Ortega's shocking series on edgy sex from New Times Broward Palm Beach, which informs us that "sex has come a long way since it was about a man climbing on top of his wife once a week." (Got that, Mara?) Part two.
-- UFO Maps.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Blum's Off

Gawker beat us to it, but we hear that Village Voice editor David Blum, the man who gave the world Mara Altman and the term "Brat Pack," has been fired after just six months on the job. Gawker suggests it has something to do with certain impolitic comments made at an editorial meeting. We hear it has more to do with the steady accumulation of his well-documented incompetence. Rumored replacement: Bill Motherfuckin' Jensen. At least in the interim.

If we could get a decent copy of Photoshop, we'd move the Alt-Weekly Doomsday Clock's minute hand to 11:59.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Razing Arizona

We Deathwatchers have waited a long time for the definitive New Times Village Voice Media story, one that doesn't linger tediously over Executive BSD Mike Lacey's boring politics (which is too generous a term for someone capable of writing childish and shallow and seriously addled crap like this), or the semiotics of his denim and cowboy boots or whatever. One in which the writer actually picks up the papers, reads the damn things and holds them up against some of Lacey's more extravagant claims about their fierce quality. This week, Adam Reilly at the Boston Phoenix -- itself not exempt from the alt-weekly death spiral (the paper did employ Bill "Dewey Defeats Truman, Motherfuckers" Jensen after all) -- comes reasonably close. There are some choice details. Like:

Another point cited in Fefer’s favor, though, is that he's more sophisticated than managing editor Mike Seely, who joined the paper after the merger and ran it between Berger's departure and Fefer’s arrival. Seely, this former staffer complained, is "kind of a backwards-hat guy." Dawdy, too, is a vocal Seely critic, and references an e-mail exchange he had with Seely last October to bolster his case. The conversation began with Seely citing a story from the East Bay Express, the company's paper in Oakland, as an example of the kind of stuff he'd like from Dawdy, who specializes in mental-health issues. The article in question, by Lauren Gard, was on the link between the Internet and sex addiction. "One thing the writer hints at here are the tendency for massage parlors to double as hand-job factories or more," Seely wrote. "I’d love for someone to gauge whether this sort of thing is going on in Seattle.

Dawdy then mentioned knowing a therapist whose business consists largely of Internet-porn addicts working at Microsoft. Seely asked if the therapist would go on the record. Dawdy said it was doubtful, but that details could probably be gleaned from online chat rooms. To which Seely responded:

"yep. think it might be futile to start from there and simply replicate this story. frankly, if you were up to visiting some massage parlors to see if certain practitioners would finish you off, that’s the sort of street-level expose i'd be up for running. but i'd never force you to do that."

Dawdy took a pass. A week later, he quit.

Less well-known, but equally telling, is the hostility Lacey and his lieutenants reportedly have for what they term "victim stories." Broadly speaking, these seem to be stories in which a member of some marginal group — the physically disabled, the mentally ill, the poor — is ill-used by a particular system or society at large. According to several current and former staffers, Lacey and his editors generally balk at these pieces unless something sets them apart, like a counterintuitive twist (victim as victimizer!) or plenty of lurid detail. So defined, "victim stories" were the specialty of Gonnerman, arguably the Voice's best young reporter before her resignation last year. They were also the stock in trade of Jarrett Murphy, who wrote extensively on poor neighborhoods for the Voice and recently left the paper. And they were the kind of pieces Dawdy frequently wrote for Seattle Weekly.

But that's just part of the story. Robson also left because he became convinced the New Times mindset would guide the new VVM, and that City Pages would suffer as a result. When Andy Van De Voorde, VVM's executive associate editor, introduced Hoffman to his new employees, Robson recalls, "he did it by saying, 'This guy was kicking our ass for the competition, so we figured it was a good idea to hire him to go kick other people's asses.' That’s emblematic of how they do things. It’s this kind of cheapskate-tough-guy swagger."*

But the keenest insight into the New Times Village Voice Media ethos comes at the end, in a series of embarrassing responses posted beneath the story from a claque of VVM toadies. The most measured of the bunch also happens to be the most hopelessly deluded. Here's Pete Kotz of the Cleveland Scene (whence hails lesbian marriage pioneer and new City Pages editor Kevin Hoffman):

Hey Adam: I have no beef with your story. Looks like you got to a lot of people and did your best to distill a he-said/she-said culture clash. The only thing I thought was off was the "victim" element. I've been with New Times for six years and I run these stories by the pound. (The latest: I think the difference is we don't try to write essay No. 765,982 on Why Bush Sucks, or Corporations are Bad, or that kind of generic screaming into the wind that's been done so many times before. It's not a political decision. In a way, it's just an aversion to writerly self-importance. The cool thing about the New Times ethic, at least to me, is that it's more respectful of the reader. The whole game is built to engage people -- meaning you have to report, ammo up with a fresh story and a fresh take -- because their time is precious and their allegiance doesn't come easy. You gotta make yourself worthy. I think the old Village Voice method too often put politics above engagement. The stories often seemed to assume that the reader naturally agreed with your viewpoint, naturally agreed that this was an Important Subject, instead of working to convince them of both. It lead to a lot of stuff that should have simply been headlined, "Holy Christ, Look at How Smart I Am." Having sadly spent much of my early career practicing this same kind of journalism, I found that it was great for getting back-slaps from my buddies at the bar, but made virtually no impact on the larger audience. Obviously, there are a lot of personality collisions taking place here. But at the end of the day, it's really just an argument over the best way to keep alt weeklies thriving in the future.

(One day, we swear, we will wade through the jottings of New Times Village Voice Media editors and pluck every macho metaphor we can find. Ammo up, motherfuckers.)

Kotz's missive is, to our minds, a perfect distillation of the New Times Village Voice Media paradox. Yes, in theory, it all sounds so very wonderful -- precisely what made us sit up at the job fair. In practice, well, we get nippling and retards fucking and Mike Lacey on politics and Silke Tudor on whatever it is Silke Tudor writes about, and we get whales, lots and lots of whales. None of which stories betrays any aversion whatsoever to writerly self-importance.

*Which is about as good a description as we've seen of VVM hatchet man and Associate BSD Andy Van De Voorde, who always looks as if he just took the company AmEx for a spin through Men's Wearhouse.
Play the Name Game!

If asked to pick the one thing we admire most about Village Voice Media’s Roster of Talent, it would be the elegant, sophisticated names on it -- no "John Davises" or "Bob Clarks" in this lot. Oh, sure, the alternative press has always embraced a link to the upper-crust geniuses of America’s ancestry, but these VVM folks really know how to fill up a business card! And, so, without further ado, we present the Altweeklydeathwatch Match Game Extravaganza: The list below consists of genuine VVM bylines and the names of 18th century American painters. Can you tell which is which? (No cheating with Wikipedia!)

(1) Peter Rushton Maverick; (2) Andrew Ignatius Vontz; (3) Pieter Vanderlyn; (4) Carrington Fox; (5) Andy Van De Voorde; (6) Nehemiah Partridge; (7) Ernest Barteldes; (8) Benjamin West; (9) Benjamin Westhoff; (10) Jeremiah Theus; (11) Michele Felice Corné; (12) Adam Cayton-Holland; (13) Ben Paynter; (14) Winthrop Chandler; (15) John Nova Lomax; (16) R. Scott Moxley; (17) Francis Guy; (18) Malcom Gay; (19) William Winstanley; (20) Dean C. Minderman

  1. A self-described “newspaper columnist and stand-up comedian in Denver, Colorado
  2. An Anglo-American painter of historical scenes around and after the time of the Revolutionary War
  3. Staff Writer, Kansas City Pitch Weekly
  4. VVM freelancer and former St. Louis Riverfront Times staff writer also known by the pen name “Moribund Orbidund”
  5. American colonial-era painter born on the island of Elba who gained fame for his depictions of naval battles during the War of 1812
  6. Music Editor, Houston Press
  7. An itinerant New England portrait painter of the powerful patrician families of the area, including the Schuylers, Wendells, Ten Broecks, Van Schaicks, Sanders and Livingstons.
  8. Contributing music writer, St. Louis Riverfront Times
  9. Food critic, Nashville Scene
  10. Dutch-born American colonial painter and land speculator
  11. Perhaps the most popular engraver in New York City and environs during the later years of the 18th century
  12. Executive Associate Editor, Village Voice Media
  13. A VVM music freelancer who writes about “people, places, and things at the limits of human experience”
  14. A Florida-based music freelancer for VVM and an ESL teacher
  15. English-born American painter whose portrait of George Washington hangs in the Smithsonian
  16. Staff writer and food critic, St. Louis Riverfront Times
  17. English-born American colonial-era painter who specialized in winter landscapes of Brooklyn
  18. American colonial-era painter best known for some 50 portraits, all of family and neighbors in the Woodstock, NY area
  19. American painter of Swiss birth who advertised in the South Carolina Gazette as a painter of portraits, landscapes, crests, and coats of arms.
  20. Senior Editor, News & Investigations, for O.C. Weekly, and author of a recent story on an Irvine cop who ejaculated on a stripper/motorist

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Something old, someone new....

According to a little birdy, Kevin Hoffman, the newly appointed editor of City Pages, is having difficulty making friends at his new post -- and not only because of the rugby player's haircut. Though the paper has long been known for historical features, apparently Hoffman just killed an in-progress cover story, stating that he does not "want to cover anything old." We can only hope that instead of such lusterless old poo, Hoffman will bring the razor-edged journalism to the CP for which he is so widely revered.
Hoffman on Underwear Dance Party.
Hoffman on "nippling."
Hoffman on Rover, the morning-show host for WXTM-FM 92.3 Xtreme Radio.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Do the Jerk!

In the words of a wise IT guy, "At some point, the bullshit gets so thick that you have to flush the toilet," so let's flush:

Lawyer circle jerk!
We were delighted to get an email from Bruce Brugmann with an update from his paper about the contention that New Times Village Voice Media has been selling ads below the cost of producing them. Since we know that alternative media coverage in the alternative media is second in reader popularity only to girl-on-girl action, we felt compelled to report. From the Bay Guardian: "The New Times Newspapers, the 17-paper chain now known as Village Voice Media, has changed attorneys and retained Kerr and Wagstaffe, a local (San Francisco) law firm, in the Guardian's predatory pricing suit against the owner of the SF Weekly and East Bay Express...This is the third set of attorneys for the company. The first was the Silicon Valley firm of Fenwick and West. The second was the San Francisco firm of Orrick, Herrington, and Sutcliffe, with Garrett Rasmussen from Orrick's Washington, D.C., office."

Mobius circle jerk
Golly, we couldn't help but notice that a snarky, navel-gazing blog felt the urge to call out a snarky, navel-gazing writer. Is this the fourth dimension of head-up-ass media circle jerking? Oh, wait, no – this is!
PS. The whole strikethrough gag with the name was totally ours first, fucktards novel.

Commie circle jerk
We were pleased to see that OC Blog was so moved by the fact that our beloved Commie Girl found employ after jumping from the OC Weekly. Those two weeks of unemployment must have been rough, but we've heard whispers that more OC Weekly departures might be iminant. For the record, it was the Register that announced Schoenkopf's departure from the paper and then hired her, just in case you were keeping score.

Circle jerking reprise (with a side of retard)
It took us quite a while to figure out how to respond to the recent village voice article on retards fucking by editor Dave Blum's former student, Mara Altman. Well, we still don't really know how to. Of course, at least Gawker was there, ready to pounce!


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Tales of Hoffman

The Twin Cities' Star Tribune reports that City Pages senior editor and writer Britt Robson abruptly resigned yesterday, leaving the paper after 10 years of loyal service. The latest ewe to wander from the New Times Village Voice Media flock, Robson told the Star Tribune: "Somebody from Denver [New Times Village Voice executive Andy Van De Voorde] hired somebody from Cleveland [30-year-old lesbian marriage pioneer Kevin Hoffman, above] to run a paper in Minneapolis. I saw that as a repudiation of the way we do things at City Pages and as a repudiation of the kind of work I do there."

The influence that the second somebody, 30-year old incoming editor and X-Men zealot Kevin Hoffman, will have on City Pages is remains to be seen, though from the young turk's astute knowledge of the region, we have high hopes. Besides, who but another brilliant Columbia grad could write this?

If ever someone personified Winston Churchill’s famous phrase — "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma" — it must be David Dunn, the 28-year-old North Olmsted waiter who perpetrated what may be the most baffling hoax to emerge from the rubble of September 11. Even now, several months after he first fooled Cleveland’s daily newspaper and garnered worldwide attention, no one — perhaps not even he — can say for sure where the truth ends and the lies begin. His story has more skins than an onion and has produced just as many false tears.

Read more: The Bloodwrath Hoax, Cleveland Free Times.

Friday, February 09, 2007

A squeeze of the hand

With a nod to an old Slate feature, we hereby present that notorious tour de force of self-love, the New Times Village Voice Media epic about the gray whale, all 436 parts, as autosummarized by Microsoft Word:

The median was 400 bullets per whale. Formed to subdue the rapacious commercial whaling industry, the International Whaling Commission in 1986 imposed a moratorium on whale hunting. Gray whales are bottom feeders. Last year, more than 300 gray whales washed up dead. In 1997, 1,520 gray whales were observed in birthing lagoons.

Whales are highly evolved mammals. Hunting whales is what gives us pride. Without the gray whale, these people will die. Aridjis calls the gray whale "an icon for democracy."

The whale, after all, remains but a whale.

There's 100 Western Pacific gray whales. Photographing the whales is relatively straightforward. Gray whales tend to calf every other year. There are very few gray whales.

The gray whales were easy targets. Seventy years would pass before the gray whales could recover from the devastation of commercial whaling.

The Makah wanted to hunt whales again.

"Let's go whaling."

Several gray whales were in the area. The whaling canoe began tracking a 30-foot whale that appeared to be feeding. The whale was stunned.

"It's not his whale. It's my whale."

The whales appeared normal. We must eat whales. Five whales require less strict rationing. Dead whales became dinner-table conversation.

Unless the victims are whales. For years it was whales, whales, whales.

(Ferociously anti-whaling Mexico banned whaling in the 1960s.)

Whale watching has led the way.

Whale watching trips. Only the whales.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Spit, sweat, sod and....silence?

Imagine our disappointment when we ran to newsstands for a replay of that -- how should we say it? -- totally bitchin' essay by New Times Village Voice Media wussy-webmaster-turned-sod-covered-badass Bill Jensen, to find it absent from our fav year end poll, Pazz and Jop. As if we weren't crestfallen enough, Bob Dylan won the darn thing and was pictured doing a James Byrd Jr. on the the TV on the Radio guy.

What, pray tell, happened to that essay?
So glad you asked.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


In the OC Register's breathless play-by-play of the OC Weekly's demise, Frank Mickadeit reports that Commie Girl, Rebecca Schoenkopf, was escorted from the building after giving two weeks notice.

According to Mickadeit: "Her dream job would be editor-in-chief of an alternative weekly somewhere – but she said she is not applying to any of the Village Voice-owned publications."

The sad news was confirmed on the Commie Girl webpage.
Schoenkopf's departure follows on the heels of editor Will Swaim.