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Friday, September 8, 2006

Seattle Weekly: Meet the New Editor

Posted by on September 8 at 13:45 PM

We hear it’s going to be Mark D. Fefer.

If it is Mark, well, this choice is going to put me in an awkward position. Mark was an intern at The Stranger for a summer, then worked for me for two years. He was kind of my protégé. He sorted “Savage Love” mail, lined up interviews, kept my schedule, and worked his way up to doing a little arts writing for us. Then Mark moved to New York. It’s going to be odd going head-to-head against someone I have such fond feelings for, but what can you do? Welcome back to Seattle, Mark. We missed you.

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Dan, are you sure that you don't want to title this post "oh shit"? I think that's what you meant.

hmmm... hopefully Mr. Savage was a very nice boss, didn't have his intern make too many pots of coffee, throw too many tissies when the meetings weren't scheduled "just so", and the editing of the stories didn't "cut too deep". Or maybe not... might be interesting if the Weekly had an editor who really, really wanted some payback.

As so often happens when you hit the Big Time, Dan - buddies and friends all of a sudden become competitors.

Think of friends in the acting community of similar characteristics (age especially) vying for the same role, law school buddies who face each other in a courtroom, and it's very common in the corporate world to one day train a youngster only to be looking over one's shoulder the next.

Since you've spent a quite a few years in journalism (even at 34), it was bound to happen to you too sooner or later. Wouldn't worry too much though. You can be the one who sets the tone for friendly rivalry. And I bet he's still fond of you as well.

I wonder if he kept all those incriminating photos?

We'll find out soon. Either The Stranger will run an article entitled "We Love The Seattle Weekly" or they'll keep savaging them.

Here's a crazy idea Dan. Maybe you can actually SUPPORT another editor of a weekly magazine? Like, maybe you can actually recognize what a similar situation you're in (editors of mildly influential but mostly disposable weekly rags in the same town) and help him to bring the conversation to a higher level?

By suggesting that rivalry is somehow required you reduce journalism to the level of college sports. You can do better.

What wasn't nice about my Slog post, Gurldoggie?

Support the Weekly? I don't see "Seattle's Only Newspaper" doing that. This isn't college sports, it's a marketplace where competition motivates everyone involved to do bigger, better, faster, louder, more creative journalism.

I kind of hope the Weekly rises to the occasion, although what I've read so far seems like the same old boilerplate "alternative press" you can find in any city.

BTW, Matt, if you're listening, "Ask a Mexican" seems great for California, Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico. It's not especially relevant here in Seattle. Most of us don't see enough Mexicans to recognize the stereotypes that the column tries to shoot down.

with even fnarf going off the deep end, and everyone else with a keyboard scouring SLOG for an excuse to trash and bash dan and the rest of the writing staff, it's official: SLOG comments no longer worth reading.

Aw c'mon Dan, fess up. Your relationship with young intern Marky Boy wasn't strictly professional, was it?

Oh Dan:

You are SUCH a wag!

For anyone out there who doesn't get our Dan's little jest, Mark Fefer never worked for the Stranger, he was a writer for Eastsideweek and then the Weekly. I doubt if Dan even knows him by sight. But all is drollery with our Dan, and he just couldn't RESIST taking a sly "poke" (titter-titter) at the news.

The sad fact is that the Weekly really is a pretty crappy paper these days. Any decent competitor would have given it the one-two punch and knocked it out years ago. But the Stranger, proud underachiever that it is, hasn't ever been able to do more than roughly match their circulation (or so I hear) for the past three or four years.

Seattle has its choice of not one but TWO crappy papers! We're so lucky!

heartin' Dan, and looking forward to heartin' Mark too,


Going off the deep end? I've been swimming here for years. Try it, it's not bad.

One small correction, Sam C.: two years ago the Weekly was a pretty crappy paper. Now it's extremely worse.

It wasn't that your post was 'not nice' per se. It's that it pre-supposed a battle between you and your counterpart. As if you have to once again prove the Stranger's worthiness by belittling the Weekly.

You're smarter than that, the Stranger is better than that, and the Weekly's new editor will have more than enough problems without a potential ally lining up to deliver a kick to the groin.

Kicks to the groin are the new witty banter. See the upcoming remake of School for Scoundrels.

Shrug. Belch. Scratch ass. Change channel.

Have you ever talked to anyone who works at the PI about the Times? Or vice-versa? They're not so nice about their competitors either.

The Stranger has improved about 600% ever since they stopped whining about the Seattle Weekly, or at least to a much smaller degree

Notice that the Seattle Weekly is finally breaking down and whining about The Stranger? (Re: Dawdy's bitching about "not getting access to the mayor's office after Dan's stunt") Notice how much more annoying the Weekly is now because of this?

Barr, SW music editor, and Feder may have been former Stranger staff. And I don't know anything about Feder, but I'll say this much, even if he's a nice guy: Brian Barr is a HORRIBLE music editor.

I realize Matos wasn't everyone's favorite music editor, but he managed to actually, you know, get decent Bumbershoot coverage, get Sun City Girls as a lead story, and try to work more "think" type music pieces that was a nice complement to Maerz's and Segal's closer-to-street-coverage approach. They worked well as a whole, and Matos's section was the only thing worth reading at the SW.

Now, with Barr, we're given offensive articles about how African music is basically "field recordings" by proxy, thanks to braintrust contributers like Chris Coomey. Not to mention the obvious dick comparison frat-boy-isms between Seely and Barr.

But, you see, Barr wrote for the Stranger. So hands off.

Maybe the secret to The Stranger's eventual success is that the New Seattle Weekly Times should be suggested hires that ALL worked, at one time, for the The Stranger; therefore, The Stranger won't feel as obligated to be as gossip-ey toward the Weekly, as to "not offend former friends", and therefore come out being the stronger paper.

It's kinda similar to the story of Disney's Fox and the Hound, where the two were friends, but once they grew up, they were enemies.

fefer always worked for eastside week and the weekly. also he hates savage with a passion. oughta be fun

"Most of us don't see enough Mexicans to recognize the stereotypes that the column tries to shoot down."
Sean, I was at first going to suggest that you amend that to read, "Most of us with white collar jobs don't see enough Mexicans..." when it occurred to me that it might be the Seattle whites who don't work in restaurants or construction who are most likely to harbor latino stereotypes. Like, say, "don't hear much fuss from them— s'pose they must be perfectly content to wash dishes and trim lawns."

The more I hear people argue that Seattle isn't hispanic enough for "Ask a Mexican" to be relevant, the more I think we need the column.

Also consider this: Seattle is 1.10% African American, and 5.28% Hispanic. The Stranger devotes a fair amount of ink to black issues (certainly compared to latino issues, at any rate). By the logic of the folks who say "Ask a Mexican" isn't relevant to Seattle, reporting on black racial issues isn't relevant to this city, either, yet I don't expect (or want) The Stranger to cut back or eliminate that reporting.

I was stuck in Kent last Saturday morning and actually read "Ask A Mexican" (along with all the complaint letters about it) and I don't know what all the fuss is about.

I thought it was a pretty funny - and yes, educational in it's own way - column.

I think it's just a case of Seattle panty-bunchedness. Kind of like how all the SGN and SMC types got all worked up over "Hey Faggot" back in the day.

Catalina, I think you've nailed it.

What motivates the folks saying "that column isn't relevant to Seattle," I think, is not so much that they don't think Seattle has enough hispanics in it to warrent their very own column, but more that white Seattle liberals (perhaps rightly) don't think they harbor too many hispanic stereotypes, and therefore dismiss the suggestion that the city might benefit from a column built on the premise of disabusing white people of their odd notions about latinos.

robotslave - your stats are way off

There's a dif between Hispanic—which wraps up a lot of folks—and illegal Mexican immigrants, which drives the angst. Seattle may be 5.28 Hispanic, but it isn't 5.28 Mexican.

Dan sucks, and The Stranger doesn't matter. Not at all. That's why we're all here reading the Slog, right Sam?


Aye, you're right, I misread wikipedia's stats. So yeah, wikipedia sucks.

Then again, please consider my arguments again, given the stats provided by the census bureau, for Seattle, 2005 (estimated): Black or African American: 8.2%, and then Hispanic or Latino: 6.3%. Do you still feel comfortable reading articles about black ethnic tensions in Seattle, while writers for the same paper dismiss a column about hispanic stereotypes?

Is a 4:3 advantage enough to justify reporting extensively on the trials and tribulations of the larger group, and simultaneously dismissing a column devoted to puncturing crude stereotypes of the smaller-by-25% group?

The last "Ask a Mexican" column I read addressed the burning questions, "Why are Mexicans always lined up at public restrooms?" and "Why do Mexicans put dirty toilet paper in the waste basket rather than the toilet?"

If Mexicans actually do these things, or if there's a stereotype to that effect, it's news to me. The only people lined up outside Seattle's public bathrooms are homeless people, junkies, gay men looking for sex, and non-Mexican people who have to take a piss. And I'm not sure where in Seattle I would have learned about Mexican approaches to toilet paper disposal.

Face it, Seattle, this column has nothing to do with your lives.

fefer always worked for eastside week and the weekly. also he hates savage with a passion. oughta be fun


(only diehard rasslin fans will get that)

Gracias, Robotslave, for your comments, statistical errors or not: One more slogger writing about how latino issues are irrelevant in Seattle y voy a vomitar. Get out more often, folks--check out Broadway on weekend nights, for example--or simply peek into the kitchen at any of the restaurants recommended in The Stranger or The Weekly. Then for a real postmodern perception shift, cruise Burien any time. Or White Center. If you're still in doubt stop by Trenton St. in West Seattle Friday nights because that's where and when the low riders drag race, using watchers with cell phones at every intersection to warn off other traffic and watch for the cops. Then with your heart full of contrition for your former ethnocentric blindness, you can stop by one of the many masses in Spanish held at churches around here.

That "Fnarf" comment above is not by me. I am the real Fnarf. That guy is the loser formerly known as "Paul In Seattle".

However, I do agree with La Tortillera: there is a significant and very welcome Hispanic presence in this city, and its increasing visibility adds a lot that was once missing.

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