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Thread: A very old man dies, the 'world' holds its breath

  1. #16
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    good gosh i just now learned that there was a huge controversy over this piece on the pope, such that the editor of the ny press -- jeff koyen -- ended up resigning rather than accept a 2-week suspension

    now the ny press is often intentionally low brow, they employ gutter snipe tactics, etc

    they published the piece attacking klosterman, they've made fun of mormons, etc

    they do the 50 most loathesome new yorkers issue, etc

    but once they gave it to the pope, they evidently went too far

    here's the story on what happened . . . .

    Jeff Koyen’s Exit Interview

    As FishBowlNY reported earlier today, New York Press editor Jeff Koyen has stepped down from his position in the wake of intense criticism for the paper’s Pope-mocking cover story from last week.

    We caught up with Koyen as he cleaned out his desk and he told us he’d probably “hit the road,” maybe return to Eastern Europe, where he’d been before taking over the paper.

    He also sent us this exit statement, which we’re reproducing in whole:


    In Friday’s Daily News, Rep. Anthony Weiner called on New Yorkers to “exercise their right to take as many of these rags as they can and put them in the trash.” Unfortunately for Mr. Weiner, New Yorkers don’t have that right. No one does. Interrupting the distribution of any newspaper—even a paid one, wherein you buy, say, 1000 copies and toss them—is against the law. Case law dictates that the right to circulation is to be held as sacred as the right to publish, as one is worthless without the other.

    My bosses apparently don’t believe in New York Press’ right to distribute. They refused to stand up against Rep. Weiner; they refused to condemn his call-to-action as immoral (and illegal). They also refused to stand behind me in the face of harsh criticism for publishing Matt Taibbi’s “52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope”. On Friday afternoon, I went on the 3 different radio programs and even suffered through an MSNBC appearance with Joe Scarborough and the disgusting bigot Bill Donohue, head of the Catholic League. I did my best to show this battle to be one of free expression.

    This morning, I was told to accept a two-week unpaid suspension. During that time, I was to “think about what this paper should be.”

    Problem is, New York Press already is the paper it should be. We are iconoclastic, occasionally obnoxious but always intelligent. If you see through the nasty Pope jokes, for instance, you will see a well-reasoned political argument.

    Publisher Chris Rohland is a spineless alt-weekly weenie. I can’t blame him, really. He has a wife and kids, and a nice home in New Jersey. He wants nothing more than to punch the clock and get his paychecks. Owner David Unger, who is the paper’s ultimate owner, is similarly spineless. They want New York Press to be “advertiser-friendly”; they “don’t want controversy.”

    That’s their choice. But I don’t need to be party to such weenieness. And I won’t be sent to my room without dessert. Hence, I resigned this morning.

    It’s been a great run, and I have nothing but respect for everyone in the editorial department I’ve just left behind. Chris Rohland and David Unger, however, are weak-willed and lackluster men who should not be in control of a newspaper, especially not in these times of editorial restriction by way of advertiser dick-sucking. They’re too vulnerable to the appeal of money.

    So, there ya go. We might not’ve always loved Koyen’s version of The Press, but we did read it every week and we were often surprised and amused by what we found. It’ll be interesting to see who remains and who follows his resignation and what the former House of Mugger looks like in the next few months.
    Last edited by dominic; 04-04-2005 at 05:32 AM.

  2. #17
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    and here's what new york politicians had to say about the piece --

    Sen. Chuck Schumer: "This is the most disgusting thing I've seen in 30 years of public life."

    Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton: "Pope John Paul is one of the world's strongest forces for peace and understanding at a time when discord and rancor threaten every nation. It is outrageously offensive to make light of his physical suffering, which he has borne with such strength, dignity and grace."

    A spokesman for Mayor Bloomberg: "As disgusting as this is, it's sadly par for the course for this publication."

    Rep. Anthony Weiner: "All I can tell you is that this is outrageous and the New York Press is way overpriced. Everyone has a right to free speech, but I hope New Yorkers exercise their right to take as many of these rags as they can and put them in the trash."

    Former Bronx Borough President Freddy Ferrer: "It's juvenile and not funny. For a lot of New Yorkers, the Pope embodies beliefs that are important to us, and we all wish him a speedy recovery."

    Anti-Defamation League President Abraham Foxman: "It crosses the line of decency. This is a man who has devoted his life to love and compassion and reconciliation. To treat him in such gross manner is so ugly."

    Polish-American Congress official Frank Milewski: "I would say it's hate speech - a most extreme example of hate speech."

  3. #18
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    i think the whole entire episode is the most hilarious thing to happen in quite some time

    too bad i was too lost in my own little world to take notice as it was actually happening

    but yeah i've talked to these characters at cheap wine and cheese parties, halfway off their rockers, completely and utterly alienated from america, one of them keeps running for mayor of nyc, another's a conspiracy theorist

    indeed taibbi comes across in person as one of the more sensible of the group

    and koyen has a hemingway/mailer complex -- but despite the obvious complex i did find him charismatic on meeting him, i.e., i wanted him to like me, "approve" of me, etc

    supposedly nyc used to be full of people like them -- rabble rousers and punks openly antagonistic to the "adult" world

    but not anymore
    Last edited by dominic; 04-04-2005 at 07:36 AM.

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    and for an opposing view of the matter, there's this from alan cabal, who resigned in disgust that the "52 Reasons" list got published in the first place . . . .

    (i should perhaps mention that alex zaitchik, mentioned below, is a good friend of mine from college and the acting editor now that koyen's gone -- obviously i don't think charges that cabal makes against koyen necessarily apply to zaitchik -- and also, i thought the offensively juvenile style of the "52 reasons" perfectly suited to taibbi's purpose, namely, to desecrate the pope in a punk gesture of revolt against the "piety and cynicism" of the media -- though i'm not a fan of a lot of taibbi's other writing, i.e., he's pretty hit or miss, and, worse, has no critical system, i.e., w/o a system you can't do sustained criticism week in and week out, i.e., you only get half-baked political rants and satirical pieces -- and i'm certainly not a fan of j.r. taylor, whom i have impression is a holdover from previous regime in any case -- but i agree w/ cabal that koyen regime lacked serious journalistic purpose -- zaitchik is much more political than koyen, so hopefully he'll right the ship, assuming his days aren't numbered)

    (i should also add that both koyen and zaitchik came out of the 1990s 'zine movement, which may not be familiar to british readers -- i'll try to explain the 'zine movement if anyone's curious)

    (one last note -- the "52 Reasons" list was published on March 2nd, and Koyen tendered his resignation on March 7th)

    Alas and alack, we seem to have crossed the Rubicon with this latest issue of NY Press. I was sorely dismayed at Russ Smith's gutter-level deal with the mercenaries of the New Regime, preserving his execremental Neo-Con screeds at the expense of John Strausbaugh's magnificent expertise as the Master & Commander of the only so-called "alternative" newspaper capable of challenging the very model of the form, the Village Voice, and prevailing. It behooves us to remember that at the time of the Press' triumph over knee-jerk political correctness, the Voice cost readers $1.50 per issue.

    I gave Koyen and Zaitchik the benefit of the doubt, as I do with people in almost all circumstances. Their initial efforts seemed feeble and clumsy, but I felt that with some measure of support from the Old Guard they might be able to keep the transgressive pulse that drove the paper intact and keep it steady in these perilous times. I accepted the reduction in rates as a necessary sacrifice to keep the fiscally floundering effort afloat, assuming that at some point in the future, the disastrous decline in advertising revenues triggered by the 911 event might be reversed.

    It's been two years now, and the New York Press has succeeded in only one thing: it has become precisely what we used to mock. Flip-flop-wearing Williamsburg hipsters with body odor babbling about MDMA and getting finger-fucked by tattooed anorexic women with black eyes and a voracious appetite for abuse.

    Gone are the great iconoclasts attracted by Strausbaugh's unerring command of syntax and context. Cockburn, Caldwell, Andrey Slivka, R.S. McCain, J.T. LeRoy, Ned Vizzini, the incomparable Tony Millionaire, Taki, Szamuely, Bill Bryk, Amy Sohn, my dear friend Darius James, who first introduced me to John Strausbaugh --- all gone. What fills the space? Bullies like J.R. Taylor and dickless juveniles like Matt Taibbi, whose hack tendencies clearly run in the family. Daddy does Michael Jackson on NBC, Sonny Boy trashes the Pope in a meaningless cat box liner. Instead of Amy Sohn, we get a sex advice column from a High Times reject built like a fire hydrant.

    Lightweights all, desperately striving to be dangerous while leaving open the possibility of some safe and secure upward mobility in the defanged world of mainstream media. I'm a certified Satanist, and our current issue featuring Taibbi's adolescent assault on the Pope embarassed me. It was a waste of paper, and a mere insult, not in the least bit challenging, to the city's Roman Catholic population. He could have gone into P2, Marcinkus, and the assassination of John Paul I, but no, the lazy brat just ran off a stupid and ugly list that a 12 year old Marilyn Manson fan could have done better.

    My loyalty has its limits, and here we are. Take my name off the masthead. I am no longer a "contributing writer" to this sophomoric mockery. NY Press once challenged the Voice --- now it can barely compete with the Onion.

    Ta Ta For Now,

    Alan Cabal
    Last edited by dominic; 04-04-2005 at 09:10 AM.

  5. #20
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    and here's the press release that Rep. Weiner's staff put out -- which Koyen, for his own purposes, portrayed as an assault on ny press' first amendment rights -- but the release is in fact the double-speak of a professional politician, not a clear call for trashing copies of the ny press

    March 3, 2005

    WEINER: PUT THE NEW YORK PRESS WHERE IT BELONGS

    IN THE TRASH
    ______________________

    "VILE" ARTICLE ON THE POPE

    New York City - Today, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Queens & Brooklyn) called on anyone who sees copies of the New York Press to put it where it belongs-in the trash.

    The Press, a free weekly newspaper, features a front page article this week about the grave illness of the Pope.

    The article, entitled "There's Nothing Funny About This Man Dying. Or Is There?" lists the "52 funniest things about the upcoming death of the Pope".

    The list includes such entries as number 52 "Pope pisses himself just before the end; gets all over nurse", and number 23 "doctors examining the body discover that the Pope was not only a woman, but also Hitler."

    "The Pope's health is a matter of grave concern to people of faith and good will the world over,” said Rep. Weiner. "This vile article amounts to little more than hate speech. The First Amendment may protect it, but that doesn't mean we have to read it. I am calling on people of good conscience in New York City to put the Press where it belongs: in the trash."
    Last edited by dominic; 04-04-2005 at 09:43 AM.

  6. #21
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    and having given you the certified satanist alan cabal, i now give you the bill donohue of the catholic league --

    March 3, 2005
    NEW YORK PRESS JOKES ABOUT POPE’S DEATH

    On the cover of the March 2-8 edition of the New York Press, a free New York weekly, there is a picture of Pope John Paul II. The story is titled, “THERE’S NOTHING FUNNY ABOUT THIS MAN DYING—OR IS THERE?” The story contains 52 of the most crude and vulgar jokes about the pope’s death.

    Catholic League president William Donohue released the following statement about this story today:

    “There are many in our society who have long been threatened by the teachings of the Catholic Church, especially those which address sexual ethics. Take the New York Press, for example. Its celebration of libertinism leaves it squarely at odds with the sexual reticence favored by Catholicism. It also leaves it squarely at odds with nature, which explains why attending funerals is not an uncommon experience for those who work there. But like a dopey dog who doesn’t recognize his master, they plod along never learning from the wisdom the Catholic Church has to offer. And, of course, they hate the pope. Which makes sense: he is the one man whose commitment to the truth has literally driven them over the edge.”

    The Catholic League is the nation's largest Catholic civil rights organization. It defends individual Catholics and the institutional Church from defamation and discrimination.

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by dominic
    taibbi's underlying argument hits many of the same points that k-punk makes . . . . or perhaps taibbi's not that sharp a critic and i'm merely reading k-punk into taibbi
    i hope nobody thinks that i'd ever put taibbi in anywhere near the same class as k-punk

    i mean only that the sentiments that inform k-punk's highly developed critical position are also present in taibbi's gutter sniping -- and whereas i admire, if not always agree, w/ k-punk, i do feel considerable contempt for what i take to be taibbi's intellectual sloth, lack of eros, and lack of style -- though to be fair to taibbi that's the alternative press industry standard -- why the alternative press doesn't raise the bar in light of the high calibre of writing & argument on many blogs is beyond me

    and yet to be honest i also get a real frisson from the gutter sniping, the savagery of some the attacks they've launched against people -- the way they make everything personal -- so contrary to k-punk's method, for whom everything is structural

    and i think that in this instance taibbi chose the right battle and used effective tactics -- i.e., appalling lack of respect for the pope and for the catholic church -- i.e., the very fact that taibbi could not be bothered to make an argument, that he had not even enough respect to do that much, is what makes the piece so effective -- and the roman church is built on respect for authority, respect for tradition, respect for the dead -- again, it does seem to me that there's an argument making its way through the 52 statements, and the argument seems to me very k-punkian

    indeed this post by k-punk from last fall is highly relevant ----------- http://k-punk.abstractdynamics.org/archives/004254.html

    even the cheap imitation of hunter s. seems almost somehow an effective device, given the simultaneity of his and the pope's death -- hunter s. as the inversion of the pope
    Last edited by dominic; 04-04-2005 at 12:53 PM.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by dominic
    but i agree w/ cabal that koyen regime lacked serious journalistic purpose
    actually i take that back -- they've done several really good cover stories -- and w/ more political bite than stuff that village voice does, i.e., controversial pieces, not affirmation of received opinion

    and i do like a lot of zaitchik's stuff, and i don't say that merely out of loyalty

    and the story by the woman who enjoys getting black eyes was an interesting insight into the masochist mindset -- not merely a delectable tale for libertine readers, as cabal suggests

    and their film reviewer armond white is quite good

  9. #24
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    okay i'll be quiet now

  10. #25
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    anyway anyone got any jokes yet ?

    Well, apart from the fact that Bono is clearing his diary in case he gets the job...

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    k-punk:
    I'll brush aside the blanket reverene - this, for a man who headed an institution which has knowingly and systematically covered up child abuse in every place that it has any significant influence, and whose stated views on contraception have led to misery and death in Africa...
    dominic, this isn't particularly structural, otm as it might be.

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    enjoyed this one man debate, ta! and similarly enraged by blanket 'lovely pope' coverage.

    have visited wonderful catholic monasteries etc and am reminded of the church's patronage of some incredible art

    independent on sunday had some nice voxpops putting the other side more concisely than most editorial comment could have hoped to do.

  14. #29
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    It would be pointless to reheat the Passion of the Christ discussion --- accusing the film of anti-semitism is one (unfounded) thing (as I said, it is quite clearly an attack on established authority, power and wealth, which happened to be Judaic AND Roman in that context), but it strkes me as particularly odd to say that the film is full of 'superstition' - there are almost no supernaturalistic elements, all we are being asked to believe is that is possible not to give up on your ethical principles, that there ARE people who would rather die than submit to power and authority. What is superstitious about that?

    A couple of other things.


    Why is there felt to be a need to 'respect' people's religious views? Of course, ppl (even Catholics ) should not be persecuted, no matter not nonsense they believe. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't be ridiculed and intellectually attacked. Ultimately, however, I think this culture of 'respect' is a symptom of increased secularism -- it is because white Europeans have no religious convictions that they think all religions should be accorded 'respect'. I think the crazed overkill of the coverage of the Pope is actually part of that. I cannot believe that the coverage of the death of the last pope, or indeed any other pope, has been anything like this in Britain.

    It is also a symptom of an increasingly crazed faux-pietism and solemnity in the media when faced with death and disaster. It is as if the enforced consensus is what substitutes for any real shared convictions amongst people. The problem is that there is no sense of perspective: if anything the Pope's very timely demise seems to be getting more pious space in the media than the tsunami did... Since the Diana thing especially, the British media have been ratcheting up the crocodile tears production with every successive death and disaster... how far can this go I wonder?

    That's partly because JP II was particularly skilled at selling his bigotry worldwide, and was a 'media pope' for a media age, but also because religion does not matter AT ALL to the white European media. For them, ethical and religious commitments are always the commitments of the other. What is mourned is precisely not someone who inspired the hacks and their readers/ viewers into 'moral' actions, but someone WHO WAS MORAL ON THEIR BEHALF. Although they describe JPII as an 'inspiring moral leader', were they 'inspired' by him to oppose contraception and abortion? Of course not....
    Last edited by k-punk; 05-04-2005 at 11:23 AM.

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    i kind of demurred at k-punk's 'this is a prostestant country' thing -- but WHAT THE FUCK is the archbishop of canterbury doing going to the pope's funeral???? it makes about as much sense as... oh fuck it. it's all bollocks. i don't want to believe it's ALL blair, but given that he has an opus dei type in the fucking EDUCATION dept...

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