Monday, March 3, 2014

Going out in a blaze of glorious F-bombs!

Better days: cover for the City Paper, 1994

Another weekly paper down. There's probably no point in even posting these items, since no one really cares anymore, and they're becoming regular occurrences. Weekly papers, those marvelous, free rags where I once made my living and first found success, are a moaning mastodon sinking into the tar pit. Nonetheless, I feel compelled to say farewell when a paper I once worked for bites it. 

The latest to wheeze its last is the Baltimore City Paper, once one of the finest weeklies in the land. It's the usual depressing laundry list of incompetent corporate owners, downsizing and staff cuts. When I started in the weekly biz, I would have put the City Paper on a short list of 10 or so. CP was just purchased, and subsumed, by the Baltimore Sun, the corporate daily that itself is neck deep in hot tar. Why? No one in Baltimore is quite sure. Anyone who has watched the final season of The Wire, written by former Sun staffer David Simon, knows what happened to the once outstanding Sun. That series stands as the gold standard for a newspaperman's revenge against incompetent corporate ownership. The Sun is pulling CP into its editorial HQ, again, for reasons unknown, and will quickly turn it into another dull, dreary info-tainment tab that rots in unread piles in the doorway of local coffee shop. Being taken over by the daily is the worst fate a weekly can suffer. Better to just close up.

My cover for the Baltimore City Paper's Filmfest issue, from 2005.
City Paper was one of the first weeklies that bought The City. I enjoyed a 15-year run there, until a new editor came in who hated my stuff. That's the breaks. But I kept in touch with a few of the staffers. One, a 25-year veteran of the paper, who writes under the moniker Mr. Wrong, is the type of crazy, cranky, creative  genius that every successful weekly needed on staff. The dude, who's real name is Joe MacLeod, is a Baltimore legend. He was, predictably, just laid off by the new corporate masters, who are too cluelessly stupid to understand that he was the heart and soul of the soon-worthless rag they just bought. All they saw was a budget item that could be eliminated.

His final Mr. Wrong column for the paper, written hours or maybe minutes, after he got the ax, is the reason for this post.  Brilliance like this should be recognized! He wrote:

Fuck! Fuck fuck fuck, Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck, fuck (fuck) fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck, fuckfuck fuck fuck fuck fuck, fuckfuck fuck fuck fuck fuck, fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck, fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck, fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck, fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck, fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck, fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck, fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck, fuck The Sun fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck, fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck, fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck, fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck, fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck, fuck.

It was, of course, spiked for the print edition and quickly taken down from the website. The excerpt above is all I could grab. That's going in out in a blaze of glory, pal! These bastards want us to all meekly slink off with our paltry settlements (if any) like the helpless peasants we are. I had a similarly noisy exit from my base paper, too, but nowhere near as epic and memorable as Joe's here.

If you care to read more, former CP staffer Tom Scocca sums up this sad affair with more depth HERE.

ADDENDUM 3-12-14

Guess the new overseers at The Sun have realized their error, because they've brought back the Mr. Wrong column.  Joe reports he was indeed sacked and screwed out of his severance by the previous owner, Times-Shamrock Inc. of Scranton, PA, the same shitheads who rode my base paper, Cleveland Scene, into the drainage ditch, fired everybody, hired creeps and morons, killed puppies and peed on religious statues. He returns to CP as a freelancer, which sucks, but at least his faithful fans benefit.