Wednesday, February 08, 2006

NYPress staff quits over Danish cartoons

Hat tip to Michelle Malkin and the New York Observer: The editorial staff of the New York Press walked off the job because the publisher refused to run the Danish cartoons. And I 100% agree with Leather Penguin: "Mugger would have run 'em."

When Russ "Mugger" Smith was publisher and John Strausbaugh was editor, the New York Press was truly an alternative weekly -- a bastion of free-wheeling libertarianism (and occasional fringe deviationism both left and right) amid the boring heap of trendy pseudo-left urban tabloids.

The old NYPress ran some great writers like ... well, me, for instance.

When Mugger ran the show the basic principle seems to have been, "Let's run stuff that's fun to read," and I occasionally met that standard. The first thing I wrote for NYPress was a total rant about a little left-wing economics tract that, for some reason, caused me to blow a free-market gasket:

If these neo-Bolsheviks should ever gain any real influence in Washington, we're all doomed. ...
OK, so what are all these lefties whining about? [Robert] Reich describes it as "a two-decade-long trend toward widening inequality of wages" et cetera. This particular whine dates back to the Reagan administration, when the disgruntled losers who brought us LBJ's "The Great Society" commenced to complain about "the growing gap between the rich and the poor," for which they blamed Reagan personally. You got your girlfriend knocked up, dropped out of high school, and blew your disposable income on dope? Hey, no problem, you can blame it on the Gipper.

Getting paid to trash left-wingers -- does the free market get any better than that? And I collected another check for a rant inspired by an animal rights protest:

Stylistically, the protesters favored the familiar "alternative" look: white guys in dreadlocks, army fatigues and grimy t-shirts; chicks in tank tops and ripped, saggy jeans. Piercing seemed to be universal and unisex. One girl I talked to had both nostrils, one eyebrow and her tongue pierced.
And then there was the smell. I was reminded of George C. Wallace taunting hippie hecklers in the '60s, suggesting there was one four-letter word they ought to learn: S-O-A-P. I don't know if this neglect of personal hygiene was a political statement on the part of the animal rights activists or if maybe they had spent the previous few nights camping somewhere without access to showers, but they genuinely reeked. You could smell them from 50 feet away.
Of course, they weren't there to display their grooming or lack thereof. They were there to display their outrage, of which they had plenty.

I was just one part-time freak in the carnival sideshow that was the cool old NYPress. But then, when Signorile smeared me, the new management didn't even bother to pick up the phone or send an e-mail and ask, "Hey, dude, what's up with this?" (For the record, contrary to Signorile's assertion, I never posted anything at a site called "Reclaiming the South," which anyone with Google can easily discover is in fact operated by a white separatist named Dennis Wheeler. In 1996, I had debated Wheeler by e-mail -- arguing strongly against his separatist views -- and he then posted my e-mails on his site without my permission. I may not be politically correct, but I'm no hatemonger, and it made me furious that NYPress would print such a false smear without even the courtesy of a phone call to me.)

It's kind of weird that NYPress's current ownership is worried that the Danish cartoons would be offensive to Muslims. When they used to mail NYPress to my house, my wife would have to hide it from the kids because the back half of the tabloid is full of ads for gay bars, sex-toy shops and transvestite hookers.

So I'm sure devout Muslims, flipping through NYPress, browsing the "personals" (e.g., "SHM LOOKING FOR TOP MAN") would be absolutely horrified to come across those Danish cartoons, y'know?

I mean, for crying out loud, NYPress once employed Marty Beckerman! If that's not an offense to the prophet, I don't know what is ....


UPDATE: Googling to see if I could find some of the other stuff I wrote for NYPress back when, I came across this little article about Contemporary Christian Music (CCM), and actually ... well, I got kind of a blessing from it. The old NY Press was probably the only alter-tab that ever would have run something like that. And I caught myself at some of my writerly habits, notably ostentatious alliteration: "sometimes so subtle," "exacting expectations" and this quadruple-lutz of a sibilant sentence, " It is an unfortunate fact of our secularized society that such excellent music is largely consigned to a gospel ghetto by the prejudice of pop programmers."

UPDATE AGAIN: I try never to miss a chance to ridicule the inanities of animal rights activists. Google just turned up a letter I wrote to NYPress (click here and scroll down to "Ape and Essence") in response to a couple of crackpots who'd written whiny letters complaining about my earlier article. One of these idiots, without evident irony, had dared to use the phrase "increasingly sophisticated" to describe (who else?) himself and his fellow crackpots. This riled me up enough to return fire: "Who the hell elected these clowns ... as representatives of the rights and interests of apes? Was there a chimpanzee primary or an orangutan caucus meeting, and they just neglected to send me a press release?" No one has ever accused animal rights kooks of having a sense of humor, though, and they got pretty steamed about that one. We went back and forth like this in the letter columns. While in a self-congratulatory mood, let me say that I think I fairly dismantled these "increasingly sophisticated" clowns (click here and scroll down to "To a Bloody Pulp"):
"[A]nimal-rights lawyer Steven Wise 'draws on the enormous body of scientific evidence...that attests to the impressive cognitive, linguistic and social abilities of the great apes.' Impressive to whom, Professor? Excuse my sarcasm, but as impressive as the abilities of great apes may seem in Hoboken, the rest of us are not so enthusiastic. The abilities of apes may be 'impressive' if compared to, say, a squirrel or a sparrow, but I dare say that apes come up short when compared to most human beings, even human beings in Hoboken. (Out, damn ad hominem!)"