Thursday, November 08, 2007

City Paper Circle Jerk

National Blog Posting Month Day 8

I’m a real writer! I’ve been published in City Paper! Let me explain.

One of my many obsessions is free alternative weekly newspapers. I can’t pass one of those gimme newspaper racks without taking one. It makes me feel bohemian and hip without ever actually having to give up any of my sedated suburban lifestyle. The Baltimore version of these counter-culture leftovers is generically called City Paper, as opposed to the much more hallucinogenically named Atlanta rival Creative Loafing.

One of City Paper's columnists is the astoundingly unfunny Joe McLeod. But then somebody has to fill the space between the ads for strip bars and head shops. His rambling stream of consciousness blathering is amusing about one time of ten. A frequent column topic is how he deserves to be able to mindlessly babble weekly instead of every other issue.

Somehow Gawker got wind of his schtick and linked to a column where he channeled the prototypical trashy mall rat. Being a semi-Baltimoron familiar with his style, I found it to be hilarious once you got the joke. Not everybody did.

Part of the fun of the whole Web2.0 interactive model is getting to be an amateur commenter and provide big websites with quality snark for free. Being a blogger is passé. As this article describes, the real road to fame is to become a minor celebrity as a fixture at a bigger blog. Under my Pop Socket The Sock Puppet alias (I lost yellojkt in a disturbing lost password snafu, but that’s no big deal since nobody can spell it right), I am a frequent contributer the Gawker Media sites like Wonkette and Defamer.

With my homeboy McLeod being ridiculed by a big outfit like Gawker, I had to rush to his defense and show off my inside knowledge of who he was and how he rolled. Here is what I had to say:

Image of Pop Socket BY POP SOCKET AT 10/25/07 11:24 AM
Mad props to my homeboy, Joe MacLeod. A link from Gawker may be the big break that lets his column finally go from bi-weekly to weekly.

Now Joe being the meta-comic genius that he is uses his newfound internet fame as a springboard for another column (which of course gets picked up in Gawker) where all he does is reprint the comments made about him. This was his ouroborosian response:
The last time my “column” ran in this weekly newspaper and/or World Wide Web thing, it got linked to by this other WWW thing called gawker, and then “commented” on, and then commented on the comments, and then commented, etc., and like that. A lotta people who look at my junk on newsprint might not have seen the commenting, so I’m gonna run as many, uh, salient comments from as I can fit, plus this fucking gawker gets people to click on their shit and they make money on that, with ads, so that’s, like, stealing from me, so even more-plus, I don’t have to write anything this week, har!
Let’s recap the circular twist this episode has: My proudest moment of the past year is getting one sentence printed in a freebie newspaper because some poorly paid writer filled a whole column with comments that people left on a website that made fun of said writer. Which included me. That makes me published about five times removed.

And best of all, I got to milk a blog post about it to complete the circle.

BlatantCommentWhoring™: Have you ever been really published? Like paid and everything.


Anonymous said...

Technically, I suppose I have. I'm a translator and one of my regular projects includes my name as the translator of the stuff I've worked on. I also got mentioned by name in the acknowledgments of a popular history. But there was no money in that, just a free copy.

Anonymous said...

Before I moved down here, I had a part-time job as a reporter for a newspaper group in Bergen County, NJ. Among other stuff, I wrote a lot of stories about the police department in Lyndhurst, NJ, and about schools in Lyndhurst and Rutherford. I also had an occasional (about every three weeks) opinion column, but I didn't get paid for that.

When I was working on my Master's Degree, the people in my program had to work in small groups to put together a proposal for a possible workshop at a seminar sponsored by the Council for Exceptional Children. As luck would have it, my group's proposal was actually selected and we got to publish a paper on it. So I can actually be found through an ERIC search for the one academic journal on my resume.

Jamy said...

I have a few academic publications (journal articles, unpaid) and one literary journal pub (short story, unpaid. My name is also one report my Department published, so I guess that might count as being paid for writing, but not really.

Impetua said...

Um.... I was on a local news show once, talking about National Coming Out Day. Does that count? Also, I got paid for writing (in calligraphy) the names onto certificates for a non profit. So it's like being published... right?

Okay, fine, I've never been published. /cry

Anonymous said...

I have not yet been published but I have been on tv. I used to work in a Baltimore City public school. One day, the local news crews came by and filmed stock footage. Since that time, whenever the failing school system is on the news, my husband and I show up in the montage of classrooms that go by. My husband usually gets a full minute of his physics lesson shown - I get a measly five seconds.
My goal is to one day motivate to write into the Urbanite. I would like to be on the the short topic stories they have every month. First step - motivate. Second step - have something interesting enough to say to make the cut.

Sue T. said...

I used to WRITE for the City Paper, kids. I think I got $75 an article -- this was over 10 years ago. I started off doing music reviews and eventually got my own column, writing about local businesses. When a new editor took over, I think the first thing she did was call me and axe my column. Oh well, I've gone on to other glories since then.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

I'll pretend I understand what this post is all about so I don't sound dumb.

But I DO get your question and my answer is no, I have not been published for money, although I wouldn't hate it if I could write part time. I think that would be kind of fun if it didn't turn into a real job, with like deadlines and crap.

Mooselet said...

Published for money? No. I've had a few letters to the editor printed, including one really long one about my father's illness that ran on the front page of the local weekly, but I wasn't paid. It would be nice, though.

2fs said...

Yep. For a very short-lived alt-weekly, in fact. I can't recall...but it may have been the even-more-cleverly-named The Paper - I say "even more cleverly" because, if I'd been extremely proud to have been actually paid to write (a couple-few CD reviews) and tried to talk about to anyone, the problem with this clever moniker is immediately apparent, in its Abbott-and-Costelloan glory:

"So, who'd you write for?"
"The Paper."
"Yeah, which one?"
"I mean, it's called [air quotes] The Paper."
"Never heard of it."

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