Slap Fight At The So Gay Corral

Hope and Change ™ are coming and the reactionaries, long-suffering and bitter in their undeserved sense of entitlement, are none too happy about it.  Seems clearing out the deadwood in the White House is always a good idea in favor of the new guy with a fresh perspective but when it comes to a complacent newsroom we can’t change horses in midstream and need to side with local experience over some untested punk kid.

Which is where we find ourselves at this fine hour as the deadwood in question, soon-to-be former Scene editor Liz Garrigan, is getting the business end of the boot lodged and subsequently broken off in her ultraliberal ass while her apparatchiks are dealing with a mighty middlefinger in response to the idea that one of them is sparkling fresh enough to be the Ty-D-Bol Man and helm the flagging alt-weekly.  The turds of their careers make a farewell swirl around the bowl:

I had openly recommended Scene managing editor Matt Pulle for the job, and he was seriously considered, so criticism of this news from VVM—a chain of 16 alt-weeklies—began almost immediately, both inside and outside the newsroom.

“The best thing the Scene could do, as a local newspaper, is make the reader forget that VVM (Village Voice Media) even exists,” one staffer says on condition of anonymity.

Nothing beats poisoning the well before you go.  Or leaving a discoloration on the front lawn in keeping my toilet analogies straight.

“Bypassing Matt sent exactly the wrong message to the city: It said that the Scene is just another interchangeable cog in a big corporate wheel. Pete Kotz may prove to be an outstanding editor with a fresh perspective on local coverage, but I think we all miss finding out what the paper could be under Matt.”

Lord, No!  Not promoting Matt might damage the town!  Artie Ziff was unavailable for comment so we’re left to wonder who this mysterious staffer is, speaking under a Karl Rove-like veil of anonymity, so he/she/it won’t be called to testify in front of the grand jury.

That’s the old Independent Spirit for you.  Cower and lick the paw of your corporate masters!

On their new editor:

Well regarded within VVM’s insular, hard-drinking fraternity of editors—somewhat infamously, Kotz once left a prospective staff writer stranded without a ride, as the editor was slumped over at a Texaco and too sick to drive after a night of post-interview drinking—the 47-year-old Kotz is a journalistic stylist who could be easily confused on the street for a homeless guy. Most recently, he’s perhaps best known for cleaning the Plain-Dealer’s clock after penning a story about political corruption in Cleveland that relied on information from an FBI wiretap affidavit. He faced the prospect of jail time for refusing to give up his source.

I think I like the guy already despite the man-baiting reference to his fraternal affiliations and his high crime of not drunk driving someone home.

Quote the new editor:

“The basic components of craftsmanship are pretty universal. Part of my whole thing is believing an editor is a servant. [I] serve the city and their tastes and interests, as opposed to putting my tastes and interests on them. I’m bored by my own tastes and interests.”

What a refreshing change.

Unnamed sources have their places but for people whose job is to get other people to go “on the record” they sure have lax standards when it comes to themselves or their stories.  Take paragraph 3 of today’s cover story (yet another shopworn homage to convicted murderer and two-time double rapist Paul House):

Unable to observe the majority of her son’s trial because she was to testify as a witness, Joyce House spent the next four days pacing the cold tile corridor outside the courtroom. While she was waiting, a Union County sheriff’s deputy approached her in the hallway and said that even he was skeptical they had the right suspect. He told her that he expected an acquittal.


My advice to Kotz is to go back through the last six months of cover stories and ask how many anecdotal, unverifiable pieces of maudlin hearsay are passed off as fact to drum up sympathy for murderers, rapists, and illegal immigrants.   Then fire everyone who can’t produce evidence to back up some of these Stephen Glass-like pieces of fabricated prose.

At last, we might have a weekly that serves the Everyman and Everywoman instead of the snotty elitists between Woodland Street and Hillsboro Village.  Or as the Lizbo herself described the probate court catfight over the rings on the fingers of The Scene’s stinking corpse:

Spicy stuff and worth the click. If they’d been sitting across from one another, martinis would have flown.

And that’s the problem isn’t it?  Just punch each other in the face and buy each other a beer before the stubby bronze statue of Garrigan, holding her martini glass high, gets toppled as the local peasantry beat on her smug face with *yuck!* Wal-Mart shoes.

Regime change begins at home.  Let’s hope the change is for the better.

One comment

  1. Almost never read it. The few times I have, it was the biggest piece of nothing I ever carried out of Wild Oats/Whole Foods except for the overroasted peanut butter that rivals the price of gasoline. Where’s Willie Stern?

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