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