My Life on the Blacklist PT. 1 (The Snark before the Storm)
August 15, 2010
“Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism.”
– Hunter S. Thompson
“Seriously Dude? Amy Silverman’s sole creative writing talent is her resume.” – Anonymous New Times Reporter [Said to yours truly over an awesome Russian dinner.]
Before we begin, a few simple messages left recently on my FaceBook profile, from Peter Petrisko:
“There’s a reason ‘journalist’ makes the top three on my list of professions most eyed with suspicion. The other two being ‘lawyer’ and ‘mime’. Individual ranking of the top three depends on day and mood.”
“Going by the facebook links seen this week… ernesto eats. ryan wears. steph collects. All within a week. Methinks somebody at that paper is in downtown arts community damage control mode
i blame you. Mostly. 😉 “
What pray tell, could this possibly allude to? Is it about my upcoming centerfold in Playgirl’s “Artists of Arizona” issue? Nope. Is it about letting Mel Gibson use my cell phone to make a few personal calls? Nada. Is it about my new reality show “American Frameshop” on the Discovery channel? Not even close. No, I’m afraid it has everything to do with our free local rag known as the New Times. Yet again.
I am so sorry.Truly, I am. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you’re obviously new to this humble little blog of mine, so I suggest you catch up by reading ALL my previous blogs before you continue on- go ahead, I’ll wait. [Music plays, “Cinnamon Girl” you know- the version by Type O that rocks?]
Caught up? Great. Let us continue, shall we? After I wrote PT2 of my “Exile” blog [but before I dropped PT 3] New Times published a little article about yours truly, via their so-called art / music / culture blog, aka: “Jackalope Ranch” Now, when they wrote this article, they were nice enough to link the past Artbitch blogs so that anyone who wanted to could go and read them, despite their attempt to deride me as a bitchy crank.
So, you ask- did their lame ass attempt at a journalistic bitch slap work out as they planned?
Did they grind me under their heel? Did they tie me up, drip hot wax all over my body, and tell me that I have been a naughty little monkey?
No. No. And why the hell not? So, in the end, how was I affected by NT’s “journalist” Steve Jansen’s literary version of erectile dysfunction? Let me think about it for a second….
“And The Arizona Press Club’s Award for Worst Editorial Decision of the Year goes to…“
[Drum Roll, Cymbal crash, Dog barks]
“Amy “Let go my Ego” Silverman [aka: New Times Managing Editor] and to a slightly lesser degree, her Annakinesque disciple- Claire “I don’t do my own dirty work” Lawton!” [Their respective Email addresses are: firstname.lastname@example.org and Claire.Lawton@newtimes.com, just in case you wanted to say “hi” or send them an Ecard, you know- something sweet like that.]
Speaking of sweet, I will even offer some advice for NT’s Steve Jansen. Next time you want to engage in a pissing match with me, I would recommend borrowing Amy Silverman’s dick to do it.
And I’m not referring to Claire Lawton. Because of the article and the ensuing comments (71 thus far) left on the page, hits on both of my sites went WAY up. Moreover, if you actually read the comments that are below the article, you will notice that after the first two or three troll responses- the peeps are definitely behind me.
This is quite a refreshing change, since normally I get at best- 500 to 1000 hits between my art and blog sites, and that is okay by me. Emails have come from Scotland, Australia, Prague, England, Canada, Japan, and even Iraq- praising both of my creative outlets. But do you know what’s even better? The majority of these come from people who were forwarded my humble little missives from friends who are not even on any of my social networks.
Viral marketing at its finest. I mainly write to amuse myself and for some reason, random strangers seem to like it as well. Whether they are laughing at me or more hopefully, with me- it still makes my day. I am a giver- that’s all there is to it. So, there I was- just plunking along nice and slow, and then NT’s fluffy hatchet piece arrived at my doorstep. Within two days of the article, I had over 350 emails flood my online mailbox, fielded about 30 phone calls, and my personal art website (https://www.waynemichaelreich.com) had over 4000 “hits”.
That is a good day at the office let me tell ya. However, things were going on behind the scenes.
Unbeknownst to me, Amy Silverman [aka: New Time’s Managing Editor] sent me a message, which due to the overwhelming volume of other emails had gotten lost in the shuffle. Now, as you might imagine I was a little busy reading, answering, and posting responses to worry about such small details as checking every single one of the electronic missives I was receiving for top priority status.
What I did discover was a strong trend- most were on my side, or close enough to count. To be honest, there were a few negative responses- the ones on New Time’s JR site were obviously trolls, but the emails were a different beast entirely. Think of a cow, wearing a hoodie, that’s been huffing paint. For days. It’s been fairly consistent that whenever I receive one of these anger grenades, they normally hover somewhere between the illiterate and psychotic.
However, there is always a redeeming quality, it seems. I do answer my public, and not just the ones who are being nice. After all, the nasty people did take the time to write, but since I do not regard “Go Fuck yourself” as an actual point of debate- those generally are deleted, while others that open up with: “I see your point but…” will garner some form of response. So, how do I deal with the really, really, ugly e-bombs you ask? Well, the standard reply to rude & offensive emails (kited from SNL’s Al Franken) usually goes like this:
ACTUAL RECEIVED EMAIL FROM: Andow87jsn@*****.com: Went to ur syte- saw your “work” You call yuorself an artist?!! I bet you suck c**k- FUK YOU!!
MY TYPICAL RESPONSE: Thank you for your kind e-mail regarding my cocksucking. As you can imagine, I have received so many positive responses about my cocksucking that I cannot possibly answer them all personally. But, once again, thank you for your kind remarks. Sincerely, Wayne Michael Reich
As you may surmise, it drives the schmuck’s nuts, since I just keep going- riffing on each successive email, making the morons assume that they have hit an automated response system
The above jackass emailed me like 12 times, getting madder and madder until he just gave up in frustration. Damm- it feels good to be a gangsta. But it’s even better to be The Artbitch. Especially when a woefully unprepared enemy takes a cheap shot, misses by a mile, and despite (or due to) their barrage of snarkiness- proves my point. Over and over and over again.
One of my eternal issues with NT has been the condescending and typically sophomoric coverage of the local cultural scene of downtown PHX – that is, when they actually bother to take an interest in us. [This issue was covered in PT. 2 of my “Exile” blog.] For a company that has their offices in the heart of PHX, you would think they would actually want to be involved in promoting this city and its endeavors. Oh sure, there is a mention of the arts every now and then, but traditionally NT’s reporting on the local has always been well… “Condescendingly bitchy” is the first description that comes to mind, in my humble opinion.
You need proof, I see. Where do I start? Well, how’s about a snippet from a recent NT article selected from their music blog aka: PHXmusic.com?
“With the list of SB 1070 boycotters growing, it has become more and more important for New Times music writers to look closer to home. So here we are, reviewing bar bands for our blog, PHXmusic.com.”
And after reading that nugget, I just HAD to respond in my own nurturing way: “So, basically you wouldn’t be wasting your time on the local scene if we weren’t being boycotted by national acts? How nice of you to grace us with your condescending presence, New Times.
You have ZERO credibility in the arts community, you have ZERO credibility among the music community (mainly because of Martin Ciznar) and your recent attempts to showcase the downtown cultural scene have been laughable at best.
Sometimes intentionally, but usually not.
The recent “What are you wearing?” series on Jackalope Ranch has just proven once again that NT just needs to pack up it’s collective bags, move to L.A., and start the well honed pretentiousness anew in a city it actually appreciates.
Do PHX a favor and act like an ex girlfriend, New Times- just come right out and tell us you hate us, instead of all these subtle little digs. You’ll feel better, and then we know to just avoid you.
I use the term avoid, because no one actually reads you.
Sort of like your editor.”
With that, I thought I was done bitch-slapping NT for a few days at least, as I was going on vacation to Salt Lake City with my GF Ashley. But since NT usually reacts toward negativity like a spurned prom queen, I just KNEW someone from NT would eventually respond to my critique above. This occurred in the flatulent form of one Martin Cizmar, NT’s “Music Critic”. You recall Martin, don’t you kids? He trolled for Steve’s article to make it appear that he had support.
Definition of Critics: Legless men who teach running. Whiny, thy name is Martin, so take it away.
NT’s FLATULENT MUSIC CRITIC AND PARTIME WEB TROLL MARTIN CIZNAR, RESPONDS TO WAYNE’S BLOG COMMENT: “I like how you view the entire staff as some big, bad monolithic force acting in concert to push an agenda we all agreed on in a meeting while smoking cigars and drinking cognac.
Sigh. You can’t read for shit, Wayne, and you seem to think you pay close attention to what we run when you obviously don’t. Or maybe you’d care to point out another publication that gives more attention to PHX music?”
So naturally, of course I had to reply. Would you expect any less?
WAYNE”S RESPONSE TO NT’s FLATULENT MUSIC CRITIC AND PARTIME WEB TROLL, MARTIN CIZNAR’S RESPONSE TO WAYNE”S BLOG COMMENT:
Martin- That’s okay- you can’t write for shit, so I guess we’re even.
What a shock- you got it wrong again.
I do not regard “the entire staff…” as doing anything other than following orders from your painfully out of touch editor. In fact, I can count many friends/fans among the New Times staff, and have appreciated their input for many years in some cases.
As well as the over 400 email responses I received after New Time’s fluffy hatchet blog on yours truly that you trolled for. By the way, like many others in the PHX Music/Art community- I’m breathlessly awaiting the follow-up to your article on Frankie Munoz’s girlfriend.
That’s some Pulitzer Prize material right there, let me tell ya.
As for who pays more attention to PHX music, you are actually right for once. No one does. Mainly because other than a few under funded Zines, there isn’t any real coverage to speak of, so I guess you guys deserve a pat on the back for that.
In fact- when I am out and about [hanging with the musician buds] and the subject of local coverage is discussed, your name pops up the most, actually. Due to the fact that this is an open venue, I won’t spell out the vulgarities that are attached to your name specifically, but the overall suggestion is that you should eat a lot more fruit.
I know you like to believe that somehow your opinion is valued, but among the majority of musical creatives I know- the weekly rag you work for is regarded as a joke.
And when a “joke” covers you, the view slanted by either a sycophant’s fawning or a failed musician’s disdain- it doesn’t help anyone.
Just my two cents,
I tell ya- its like a g-damm game of whack a mole with these people some days. Sadly, their snide hipster elitist attitude permeates almost all of NT’s “journalism”, except for the only thing they do win praise for- their investigative stories. Which are, I will grudgingly admit, some damn good reporting. However? The rest of the magazine at its best is kind of like a PennySaver with porn.
Pick up any issue, no matter what the week, and you will find a number of digs, shots, and general disdain towards anything PHX based. Musicians? Talk about their past feuds with other bands- not their music. Point out minor flaws as much as possible. Artists? Ask questions about what they wear, eat, and sleep in- not their art. Avoid any thing that resembles depth. Movies? Point out what you would have done better, since you are obviously the next undiscovered Scorsese.
Fashion? Idolize the vapid and talentless, give props to their partying skills. They drink a lot? Kneel at their feet. Theater? I actually like Robert Pela, so this one gets a pass. He is way too good to work for these idiots. Dining? Michelle Laudig like the gentleman named above, rocks- plus she is also really HOT, which might have affected my judgment a wee bit.
Ok, maybe a lot. Sue me. But even with all of this deliberate cattiness, week after week- I still couldn’t figure out where their attitude came from, until I was messaged a link to this blog:
Moderated by Jerome du Bois and Catherine King, it is a searing overview of the issues facing the PHX art scene- and I like it. Plus, it gave me some ammo in my fight against NT- a smoking gun as it were, in the form of an article Amy Silverman [aka: New Times Managing Editor] wrote five years ago. I can already hear your scornful disbelief welling up.
“A FIVE-YEAR-OLD ARTICLE?
THAT’S ALL YOU GOT? ARE YOU SERIOUS?
YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE THE GODDAMM “ARTBITCH”! YOU COCKSUCKING SON OF A BI..”.
Whoa! I did say I could hear you, right? Do you kiss your Mom with that mouth? Calm down and chill out. May I continue, please? Thank you. As I was saying…. after perusing this article, I was even more incensed. Why? Because yours truly actually likes Phoenix- that’s why I live here, and after swimming in the shallowness that is Amy Silverman, I don’t understand why she still does.
Oh wait, I do. She would not be able to cut it anywhere else, methinks- and honestly, I do not believe anyone has ever extended an offer for her to do so. Unlike her reporters, one of whom has just recently moved to St. Louis for an exciting new job. So, what did Amy write in her blog* about this soon to be former scribe? To give her some credit, she does show a fondness for this person that was forged after years of working together, and wishes her the best of luck at her new gig.
This does bode as sincere, I must admit. Moreover, she even shows uncharacteristic humility as well: “It pains me to say it, but it’s true: ***** wrote better, harder, more impactful stories in her six years at the paper than I have in 17.” Given all that I have read in NT since Amy took over as Editor, that factoid is beyond reproach. However, once again her self-adulation peeks out from under the curtain and says, “Look at me”, giving us yet another clue into Amy’s attitude by way of the following quote: “When ***** arrived at New Times six years ago, I was still smarting over my transition from staff writer (read: rock star, at least in my little world) to editor (roadie).”
Sorry Amy- I wholeheartedly apologize. You HAVE gotten job offers- well two, anyway. My bad, except…. That [according to you] after accepting said promotion; you were “smarting” about it.
So let me get the straight skinny here- you were offered a promotion, with more money, prestige, responsibility and power- all of which you could have refused. Moreover, you were “smarting” about it. Call me funny, but it does not sound very “smart” to take a job you did not apparently want. BTW, what was the amazing career opportunity that her former reporter was offered?
To be the managing editor of their sister paper. In a significantly larger market. Ouch. Boy, it sucks when you are not even asked to the Prom, does it not? People who are the best at what they do get the serious offers first, and since Amy’s still here, you do the career math. Let us see- 11 years as a reporter, 6 years as editor, equals….
17 years. Working for the same company. In the same location. Oh yes- the career is shooting upwards, I can see. Don’t worry though, I am sure they have your number on speed dial. You hold on to that slowly fading optimism that someday they will call you with that big break. Considering your social skills, I am sure any number of NT delivery routes will be yours for the picking.
She might have a wall full of awards, but her mojo is definitely stuck in neutral, and due to that- she’s making all of us pay for her arrogance, shallow vanity, and elitism. Harsh, am I? Judge for yourself: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2005-05-12/news/phoenix-has-an-inferiority-complex After you finish, please go read the critique of said article by Jerome du Bois:
http://www.thetearsofthings.net/archives/000356.html Ater absorbing this well pointed dissection, I came away with a singular clarifying thought:
I don’t know about you, but having Amy Silverman [aka: New Times Managing Editor] oversee the cultural arts reporting in PHX is sort of like having your bunny boiling, knife wielding, crazy ass ex-girlfriend in charge of your medical treatment when you’re in a coma. Simply put, it is a BAD idea, which will not get better with time. Now, if I had acquired this knowledge PRIOR to meeting Amy Silverman [aka: New Times Managing Editor], I most likely would have ignored her email, manufactured some silver bullets, strung garlic all throughout my apartment, and made friends with both an old priest and a young priest.
Dangit- as usual, I have gotten off point- but I have referenced at least 3 classic horror movies, so that should count for something, right? No? Well then. My sincerest apologies yet again, but I DO have to stop here for now. I will get back to this in a bit, and trust me; you will not believe what went down. I was there. And even I don’t believe it.
However, my therapist and I are making progress, so that is a start.
“Stupidity combined with arrogance and a huge ego will get you a long way.” – Chris Lowe