Nothing is always the safest thing to say, so people who say things are inherently brave, especially writers, who do nothing but say things, often stupidly, and quite often in the wrong order. That's where editors come in. The first sentence in this paragraph needs an editor and, unfortunately, it's me.
The Los Angeles Free Press needs an editor too because, unfortunately, it's no longer me. The publisher, Steven M. Finger, has declared that "news has lost its relevence [sic]," and has decided to take the paper into a whole new direction, seeking that elusive "people going to an online newspaper who aren't interested in reading any news" audience.
Recently, he'd refused to post random articles I chose for publication, like a guide to the best new film critics on the internet or the most crooked candidates of 2010 or Barry Crimmin's piece on his problems with the health care system . When I asked why, he said "it's just news. I don't want news."
He refused to publish an obit of Harvey Pekar, whose death was ignored by the mainstream media. I thought the obit would be depressing on its own, so A) I used all his YouTube appearances on David Letterman and B) I found a piece on an upcoming college cartoonist who, if she wises up by reading every single Harvey Pekar comic book, just might have the talent to fill his smelly shoes. She's probably never heard of Harvey Pekar, and would only find out who he was by seeing the article next to hers. Finger published the piece about the college artist without the Pekar tribute, mysterious on a blog where, unlike print, it doesn't cost a thing to throw in something extra like a YouTube video. These weren't monetary decisions, they were editorial.
Why wouldn't he publish a Tuli Kupferberg memorial by Paul Krassner? "Tuli's dead?" Finger said. "So what? Find a piece of what was, and where it was meant to go - and he'll be the heartbeat of it. He, and 50 others (including Pekar). And use it as an illustration of what has been lost, and what is to be found - or to be made."
Okee doke. Should be a snap. I'll get right on it. Same old Los Angeles Free Press, counterculture icon of the 60s, only no more obits of 60s counterculture icons BY 60s counterculture icons. Paul knew Tuli, and Tuli was actually covered in the original Los Angeles Free Press, so this refusal to print Krassner's piece on Kupferberg didn't make a shred of sense, especially since Tuli's death had been ignored by the mainstream media too, and that people seeking information about Tuli Kupferberg would almost certainly look towards the Los Angeles Free Press. I was told no more counterculture, only "culture and society." Films aren't culture? Health care isn't society?
I don't understand the assignment. I was chosen by Art Kunkin, the founder/publisher/editor of the original Free Press, to continue in the tradition so this is just upsetting to see the paper veer off into insanity. The pay being nine weeks in arrears ($1,370), I decided aggravation was a poor substitute for a paycheck and stopped posting.
And that's where it stands. I think I deserve to get paid for what I've already done and so does my landlord. In the meantime, you're welcome to fill in for me, as long as you don't mind working for the worst publisher on earth.
Here's the last issue of the Daily Freep. Here's the latest issue of the Los Angeles Free Press. In the grand tradition of wikileaks, here are our embarrassing private communications.