Sunday, July 29, 2007

The City Paper: Goin' Out with Class!

So, Pete Morelowicz is upset at losing his job. And, to a certain extent, I feel bad for the guy. I'm told, and I could have this wrong, that he was the driving force behind the City Paper's new layout and design and resize, and, if so, then kudos--that was a bang-up, solid, excellent job. But if what made it into City Desk is meant to be his parting shot--and he wasn't totally shitfaced when he wrote it--then my sympathy is basically nil. Why? Because basically, what's befallen he and his colleagues is basically all our fault.

Basically, his gripe is: "This city used to be awesome. But then people I don't like moved in. And, blah blah, let me recycle the most tired "Starbucks" argument from 1996. Blah blah. U Street used to be a 'seed bed of talent.' I'm either too stupid to recognize the rich talent that is not coincidentally and arbitrarily located on a four block stretch of road that's the center of the universe as far as I'm concerned, or, I recognize it and have deemed it not cool. Whatever. My point is, I am losing my job because the people who live in DC are no longer cool enough to get what we're about. I blame them. They suck. The good old days are over. Whine! Whine! Meeeee! MEEEEEEEE!!"

Reading it pissed my friend Ryan off, who wrote: "I was almost to feeling sorry for the CP, until I read that art director's screed. It's actually a pretty perfect summary of the message CP has consistently presented over the past few years: DC was a whole lot better before you fuckers all moved here, and we can't even bother seeing if new fun and creative things are happening because yada yada Starbucks. It drips antipathy toward the people that live in this city; and they're surprised nobody wants to read them anymore." One commenter on the site basically nails it: "Man, I tell ya guys. I really felt for you (and for Kiki and folks at the Chicago Reader) but did you really mean to lash out at US, the READERS, when complaining about YOUR predicament?"

It pissed me off, too. I know a shit-ton of people who hard long and hard to make DC a unique place to live. I spend a ridiculous amount of my own time, kicking in a share of effort myself. And people who run theatres and host readings and promote exhibits and rehearse their music really have a lot of hard work on their plate without being asked to take the blame for the demise of the fucking City Paper.

But, after about a half-hour of steaming, here's what happened. My life in the city picked up again. Show at Woolly, drinks out, new Simpsons movie, birthday dinner, leisurely walk in the cooling night air up 7th, meeting up with friends at the Red Room, midnight show at Source...poor Petey's screed faded into the background of a typically riotous, typically unique weekend for me and for everyone else who realizes that "the good old days" aren't something you wait to happen to you, they're something you go out and seize.

But sometime just before the show began Saturday night, my mind alit on the memory of Pete's whining lament, and I took a look around the room. There I was, surrounded by a packed house, studded with people whose contributions to the unique and vibrant character of the city I could list at length, all enjoying this great big cultural celebration that Damian Sinclair and Julianne Brienza built for Washington out of their force of will, in a great old theatre that we all thought we were going to lose until some great people and members of the DC Council found a way to save it.

Oh, I had to laugh. The good old days, over? Yeah, that's one delusion I won't be participating in, I'm afraid. The way I see it, the only cultural aspect of the city that's been damaged by the sale of the City Paper is the City Paper's own weenie roast (the bourgeois-feints-at-edge event of the season, I'm sure). And what can I say. Everyone who says you are what you eat was apparently right!

At any rate, we'll see if Creative Loafing can do a better job than the current regime. I'm guessing that if they do, it'll be something of a surprise. But one thing it won't be, is a shame.

Let it be noted that the parts of that City Desk post written by Mike DeBonis truly are breathtaking. As advertised, he writes like there is no tomorrow. Golly...Mike DeBonis blog post...handjob from the Holy Ghost...WHO CAN TELL THE DIFFERENCE ANYMORE?

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