Wayne Michael Reich

Writing ∙ Photography ∙ Art

Bitter Fruit PT.1 (Would you like a burger with that?)

“An Enemy visible is an Enemy vulnerable.” – Anonymous

Hello Blogiteers!

I really enjoy writing this blog- I really do. Possibly even more than you enjoy reading it. Sure, from time to time I may suffer some minimal fallout from something I’ve written, but it’s a small price to pay for being able to speak one’s mind so freely.

And as you loyal Blogiteers know by now, my mind tends to be very free. Not surprisingly, a certain select group of people have gotten a tad bit annoyed at this. Ooops. My bad. One great thing about speaking your mind is that you can always count on immediate feedback from a rather insistent and unintentionally amusing demographic known simply as: Idiots.

To clarify, I’m not disparaging these feeble detractors just because they disagree with my point of view- far from it. In fact, I encourage a discussion of the issues I’ve raised- if you think I’m wrong, present your argument and we’ll have a go at each other like mature adults. See, the Art of civilized debate and I are old friends, and anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a chatterbox of the old school variety.

Dogs pant to cool off their brain, I run my mouth. Same difference.

Because of this tendency of mine, two of my favorite places on Earth are airport lobbies and crowded waiting rooms, since they give me the perfect excuse to open conversations with total strangers and thereby acquire different points of view.

The tantalizing possibility that a spirited debate could possibly break out, is sheer bliss for an intellectual motor-mouth such as myself, due to my long-held view that disagreement is a great tool for enabling civility. I really do believe this.

In my experience, argument leads to discussion, which eventually leads to talking, which hopefully- leads to an understanding of a side that is not your own. Yes, yes, I’m a gushing optimist. However- that somewhat candy-flavored worldview has taken a few dings recently. Reacting violently to even the most timid of suggestions that your beliefs are somehow flawed or unfounded seems to be the norm these days, and overall, it doesn’t seem to be getting any better.

Watch any “Faux” News program, if you think I’m being a cynic. Yeah- that’s what I thought. Since I started these extended journal entries, I estimate that I have received over 2800 e-mails regarding both my writing and art. While the majority of these are either positive reviews or well composed constructive criticism, I do receive a limited amount of e-bombs and hate mail, some of which can be fairly unhinged.


Because someone took the time to write, I feel the very least I can do is to attempt to read and/or write back to each and every missive as time allows, regardless of whether they’re praising or damning my efforts. Like most self-imposed guidelines, there are a few exceptions to this general rule, of course.

Those who possess both an extensive tin foil hat collection and the belief that vague threats will somehow alter my course are usually given the inattention they’ve earned, since nothing screams “rational debate” like a rambling list of vulgarities, let me tell you. With all due respect, how can I can even begin to fear these candy-asses if they post anonymously?

Four death threats, and no follow through. Sheesh. With a heavy heart, I am forced to say that there seems to be no love for the craft anymore. But not where this Artbitch is concerned, as I am all about the craft and it’s delightful subtleties, one of which is crystal clear expression of your ideas.

So where have I been doing some of my expressing lately? The forums of the PHX New Times website where opinions can be aired and ideas discussed in a mature and intelligent fashion- unless of course those concepts run counter to what the ol’ PNT thinks.

I’ll explain.

For the last few months, I’ve been leaving comments on certain articles written by either Amy Silverman or her loyal pet, Claire Lawton. The majority of these usually call attention to PNT’s lackluster coverage of the PHX Arts scene, point out the amateurish quality of the journalism, or reference a past article that Amy wrote slamming PHX.


Isn’t it nice when your Enemy gives you both the ammo to wound them and then just for fun, throws in a gift certificate to Walmart? I really should buy Amy a gift basket one of these days. Maybe something with a loofah. Now along with my snarky comments, I’ve also posted this blog-site’s address as well, allowing PNT’s readers to explore the issues I’ve raised via my humble and exceedingly wordy rants.

As a courtesy, I sometimes warn them to prepare a snack first before diving in, since with an average of 2500 words per post, reading my stuff does take a dedicated effort. If the “hits” on my blogs are any indicator, it seems to be working Now, it could just be that I have one uber-obsessed stalker with a whole lot of free time on their hands, but I don’t think so, since they would also have to write a spit-load of E-mails as well.

Let’s face it- no one really likes to write one letter these days, let alone 2800 or so. Someone I respect once noted that there’s a fine line that separates “Fan” from “Stalker”- and in my view, the subject of today’s blog has sandblasted that barrier into oblivion. If only I could tell you who they are.To my regret, my number one fan/stalker wishes to remain anonymous. (*sigh*)

Personally, I like to tell myself that they do this to keep some mystery in our relationship, but in a not too surprising twist of irony, they’re known for deriding anyone who does the same to them. Hypocrisy and cowardice- two things that my number one fan/stalker has apparently stockpiled in their secret volcano lair, dispensing them seemingly only when someone disagrees with the PNT.

Lately, bitch-slapping the PNT seems to be my part time gig, and I have to say it’s been exceptionally easy making them look stupid, usually because they do such a fine job of it on their own. Cracks in the armor are what I’m looking for, and in that regard, my number one fan/stalker is like Manna from Heaven to this Artbitch. Why? It’s simple really, much like them.

Nothing helps prove your point better than when the self appointed guardian of your Enemy turns out to be a colossal schmuck, and is under the delusion that they’re not. Juvenile insults, asinine claims, and arrogant posturing have always been the hallmarks of the online Troll, a pathetic creature who anonymously posts about what a bad ass they are in the world of the real, while also simultaneously hiding under the Internet’s bed like a frightened kitten.

My number one fan/stalker is one of this wretched breed, and in their eyes- I’m obviously a major irritant who just must be dealt with. Unfortunately for my NOFS, [aka: “Number One Fan/Stalker”] they don’t have what it takes to shut me up, but they are determined to try- no matter what. In the past, he/she has billed themselves as the following: “Ted Seift”, “Ted”, and “Tom Seift”, but there exists the strong possibility that half a dozen other aliases have been created by this person to foster the illusion that they have a base of support. Why do I suspect this?

Because of “voice”.

The definition of “voice” in relation to writing: Voice is the author’s style, the quality that makes his or her writing unique, and which conveys the author’s attitude, personality, and character; or the characteristic speech and thought patterns of a first-person narrator; a persona.  Because voice has so much to do with the reader’s experience of a work of literature, it is one of the most important elements of a piece of writing.”

Voice. Each writer has his own, and it is unique as a fingerprint. For instance, I write like I talk, so for my friends, it’s rather easy to spot my writing, even when it’s placed among a slew of other literary rants of similar construction. Not that I actually would do that to them of course. Well…not yet, anyway.

But my NOFS has a very distinctive, very unique, voice. A huge chip on their shoulder exists in regards to me, and while I’m not exceedingly popular with certain sheeple in the PHX art scene, I’m not exactly an untouchable pariah either. This person literally drips venom when they respond to my posts, and it isn’t just because they disagree with what I’m saying or the method in which I say it.

They have a gargantuan axe to grind with me, and that does narrow down the field of candidates. Somewhat. Because of all that venom roiling all up within my NOFS, it seems they have a very hard time keeping it under control- I obviously tick them off something fierce, and it shows.

Ooops. My bad yet again.

So who could it be? I do have a theory or two, but I’ll just let you loyal Blogiteers deduce for yourselves, keeping in mind who could possibly dislike me this much for posting my humble little opinion on the PNT forums- where I slam PNT’s Managing Editor Amy Silverman repeatedly. That has nothing to do with it, I’m sure.

But whether they post under Aliases One, Two or Three- their “voice” comes through loud and clear, despite their so- called best efforts. So what do we know about my NOFS for a fact? Well, my NOFS isn’t particularly clever, witty, or even remotely capable of inflicting harm to either my person or career, but my NOFS does possess something that all the “great ones” have had- a one word name..

Beavis. Romeo. Houdini. Sting. Frankenstein. Madonna. Elvis. Bambi. Fergie. RuPaul. Gwen. Moby. Kermit. Marilyn. Snuffalupagus. Judas. Greedo. Yogi. Xena, Linus. Aristotle. Curly. Oprah. Moe. Gilligan. Shemp. “Q”. Morrissey. Salome. Dean. Elmo. Zorro. Lucifer. Sammy. Beetlejuice. Spiderman. Tarzan. Chewbacca. Batman. Juliet. Superman. Thor. Shazam. Liberace. Wallace. Seal. Hercules. Ladmo. Prince. Venus. Coraline. Barney. Snap. Crackle. Pop. Yoda.

Let us also not forget Shaft, the black private dick that’s a sex machine to all the chicks, who they say is a bad mother… SHUT YOUR MOUTH! Hey- I’m just talkin’ ’bout Shaft. Oh….THEN WE CAN DIG IT.

You get the point.

The name really is the thing, and if you were a wise NOFS, you’d pick an online screen name that would strike fear, commanding the respect you so richly deserve, while letting everyone know that you’re one bad hombre to mess with. And I do believe that my NOFS has finally gotten it right after trying out a whole other mess of names first, none of which fit the aforementioned criteria.

So what screen name has my self appointed guardian of the ol’ PNT adorned themselves with? What moniker do they carry forth into their righteous battle with the Artbitch? What is it? What could it be?

Is it short? Is it easy to remember? Would it look good on a tee-shirt? Is it the kind of screen name that would make Chuck Norris soil himself from a distance? Wait for it…… the terrifying, stupendous, incredible, amazing, unbelievable, incredulous, orrific name of all scourging that my NOFS has chosen is………………


Yes- that’s it. No. I am NOT kidding. That’s right- I’m being stalked by the primary ingredient in ketchup. Man, this is depressing. The best that the Obsessed Stalker Universe can offer me is one very ticked-off fruit. [Writer’s note: Yes, a tomato IS actually a fruit. Don’t feel bad. It’s a very common mistake.]

Tomato. Hardly the elixir of night terrors, unless you work at a McDonald’s. And possibly a clue for you amateur Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew types out there- it’s not the sort of a name you’d think a man would pick, is it? Could my NOFS actually be a woman? I’m just thinking out loud, of course. What woman could I possibly have ticked off that much recently?

Strange that no one immediately comes to mind…

But of course, all of this is mere conjecture without some form of proof. so I will give it to you straight from the fruit bowl. Or as I like to call it, the PNT online forums.But before I do that, I feel I have to warn you first:this is gonna be a very long one, so get into your comfy clothes, make a snack, put your feet up, and put on that brand new Yanni CD.

You know… if he actually has one out.

“If bitterness wants to get into the act, I offer it a cookie or a gumdrop.”
– James Broughton