Usually, when you write to us, dear reader, your letters fall into three categories: Missives commenting on an item we’ve already run, an actual tip or an email asking for tickets to whatever. So whenever that rarest of beasts comes in ó the looney lone-gunman letter-to-the-editor ó we get really, really psyched. And yesterday, we hit the jackpot. This one has it all: An anonymous email account eviscerating the local alt-media with bloody axes-to-grind o’plenty about seemingly the most innocuous stuff and an overall tone that suggests “inside job.” Better still, it was sent to us, City Paper AND Philadelphia Weekly.
Date: Wed Nov 16, 2005 4:17:53 PM US/Eastern
To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Subject: Keeping Egos in Check (Greetings from NDP, USA)
Ruh-roh. Full email and John Madden-style post-game analysis after the jump.
Forgive me for not writing sooner. ItĚs been a dogĚs age since I found time to sit down and type.††Regardless, I am here to set some things straight. Provided I can pull myself away from the daily grind†(I am a steamfitter), you can expect to see more transmissions like the one that follows.
ItĚs time someone tightened the reigns on this horse we call the alternative media.
The lot of you have become blinded by your own delusions of self-importance. Please donĚt view that as an assault. You’re all talented (and by all I mean some),†but I think itĚs time†we recognize a fact or two. For starters:
Lord Whimsy is†tremendously talented, but he’s boring as fuck. I mean, honestly, has anyone ever really laughed at this guy? If so, when? I need examples, people. The 215 Festival referred to Jim DandyĚs live act as Ďhotter than Chris Rock gone supernovaÓ. IĚve watched Chris Rock go supernova. IĚve enjoyed Chris Rock going Supernova. You, sir, are no Chris Rock gone supernova. I mean, cĚmon. So far as I can tell, dude managed to plough through a ton of nineteenth century literature without jumping out a window. Hoo-stinkin-rah! Woo me with your arcane knowledge of fish polish and strange elixirs, oh, bon vivant. Add all the windowdressing you like. Birdwatching still sucks.†† YouĚre Allen Crawford. You werenĚt popular in high school and were more than likely coined ĎGirls choice of a brotherÓ Ň the pity prize of any yearbook superlative list.
May we have your attention, please? Liz Spikol has a boyfriend. His name is Vince. HeĚs from Chicago. He cooks. He slices. He dices. HeĚs the absolute most. There. ItĚs out there. We all get it. Now can she please stop overcompensating for the fact that sheĚs not a lesbean?††
The Capitol Years are not a good band. Unchain yourselves, gang. I mean, I know the rock scene in Philly has reached a particularly low valley over the past few years, but thatĚs no reason to go slumminĚ with these frauds. I†assume they won by default. ThatĚs the only way I can reckon them being named “Best of Philly” a few years back. Yes, ItĚs a shame The Burning Brides skipped town, but letĚs hold ourselves to a higher standard than this. ItĚs a mirage, people. IĚd love to know one substantial accolade these cats have on their resume (Disclaimer: Carson Daly does not count, now or ever).††
Jessica Pressler must suck some grade-A cock. I mean the way the blog community fawns over her, itĚs embarassing. J. Press, J. Press, J. Press. ĎDude, she talked to the guys from Clap Your Hands. Quick, to the PC. We must tell the world.Ó††
ĎWhatĚs that, you say? J. Press is so upset her ass is bleeding. Oh, that’s copyriffic. Quick, Robin, to the Blogmobile.Ó
I mean it started with Philebrity and now Dan McQuade (host of Mini-Philebrity.com) is all up in her juice. LetĚs put things in perspective. This chick writes a poorly-researched piece for The New York Times, puts together a column that (by definition) centers†around nothing, and you guys are lining up to lick her dry? Give me a break.
HereĚs a peek at Daniel McQuadeĚs training for Philadelphia Will Do. “OK, Dan. This is a blog called Philebrity.com.††See what theyĚre doing. Do that…Content, phrasology, the whole deal. Don’t attempt†any original thought or content.†Around the office we’d like to call you Little Joey Sweeney, if it’s all the same.”††
These are my thoughts. More as they become available. Maybe IĚll even add a†regular feature like, ĎStupid thought, phrase, or column of the week.Ó Like John Barrymore said, ĎA critic has been defined as someone who comes down from the mountain and shoots all the wounded after the battle is over.Ó
Oh yeah, I almost forgot, The City Paper is not good. In fact, itĚs bad. IĚve got bread behind my fridge less stale than some of their cover stories. And the online version…bleck…IĚd rather navigate the mountains of Pakistan.††
Good day, scribes o the city grey.
Non D. Plume
Wow, right? Now, a few things. One: This email was not – repeat, NOT – generated by anyone on Philebrity staff. Although the new interns here are pretty shifty, so who knows. But probably not. Secondly, those are our bolds. (We live to serve.)
As you can imagine, as soon as this came in, we forwarded it to our crack team of anonymous email code-busters, who quickly parsed out from what spurned Philly media person this could have possibly come ó because seriously, who but some writer/editor in the tight Philly media clusterfuck would possibly give a shit about any of this? And also, frankly, these criticisms kind of lack teeth: They’re all easy shots, and certainly nothing that hasn’t been said before in the back booth at Johnny Brenda’s or in line for the bathroom at Click.
But each suggestion, upon inspection, came up totally dry. For instance: It couldn’t have been Erik Bader because he’s a pal o’ Whimsy’s, and as such, would not roll like that. A.D. Amorosi? I mean, anything’s possible, but the syntax is a little too, um, coherent, plus A.D. would have better reference points and last we heard, he was totally jocking Whimsy every bit as much as we were. Maria Tessa Sciarrino of Plain Parade fame? Kinda, maybe, but Maria has never had any problem whatsoever being totally salty right to people’s faces, so why hide now? For a minute, we were even pegging crazy-letter-writer extraordinaire Jody Hamilton, but then, isn’t she buds with The Capitol Years? The whole City Paper jab suggests this might be a disgruntled PW employee ó†Neil Ferguson? Steven Wells? ó but that just seems, like their writing, a little too flat, rote and uninteresting. And, yes, you might still be thinking it’s us, but seriously, read that email again: We totally say shit that’s way nastier than this on a daily basis ó I think we just did ó and frankly, we have a total chub for our own attribution, so that’s us out of the game as well.
The identity of this writer, we have surmised, lies in the email’s quirks: Why are the quotation marks all screwed up? Was this thing copied and pasted from something else? Who the hell bothers to learn Whimsy’s real name, much less the name of Liz Spikol’s boyfriend? And this stuff about the Capitol Years really smacks of personal vendetta which is especially weird when you consider that, dude, it’s the Capitol Years: Who could they have pissed off that much?
Any way you slice it, this Non D. Plume person has our interest piqued. But do your own research. Email the dude/lady. Pick their brains. One good turn deserves another. And if anyone can successfully out the culprit ó more for shits and giggles than for revenge on any perceived slights, because again, who cares? ó we’ll totally buy you a case of beer. Anyone other than Non D. Plume, that is. We may be in love with the sound of our own voices, but we’re not suckers. OK, we are, but we’re still not buying you a case of beer. Anyone else, bring it on.