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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

To Charles or Not to Charles? A Slog Poll

Posted by on Tue, Oct 11, 2011 at 1:01 PM

The Big One.
  • The Stranger
  • The Big One.

From the electronic mailbag (apropos of nothing in particular, apparently):

[subject line] Please add my name to the list, if you have one.

Please consider replacing Charles Mudede with a writer who is not Charles Mudede.

Thank you,

L.L.

For the record, I would like to be the first to add my name to the list of people who consider Charles Mudede irreplaceable. Here is the story I always think of first when considering how much I love Charles' writing; here are the 39 feature stories he has written that exist in our online archives; and here are some installments of Police Beat from 1999. Read it and (sometimes literally) weep, people. Now, to the (as always, legally binding) Slog poll!

 

Comments (82) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
prompt 1
This should be interesting.
Posted by prompt on October 11, 2011 at 1:06 PM · Report this
2
I love Charles, but that doesn't mean you guys couldn't also do with a U.S.-raised African American writer not restricted to Line Out. The last was Riz, and that was more than ten years ago.
Posted by gloomy gus on October 11, 2011 at 1:08 PM · Report this
3
Yikes, way to feed the trolls!
Posted by fuddy on October 11, 2011 at 1:11 PM · Report this
care bear 4
This one is my favorite.
Posted by care bear on October 11, 2011 at 1:13 PM · Report this
chimsquared 5
Why no option for "Hold on to that goddamned Marxist?"
Posted by chimsquared on October 11, 2011 at 1:13 PM · Report this
blip 6
Please consider not reading articles by writers you do not like.
Posted by blip on October 11, 2011 at 1:14 PM · Report this
7
I did enjoy his Police Beat work. His postings since then are overwhelmingly self-involved, bigoted, misogynistic, hyperbolic and idiotic. Axe!
Posted by butterw on October 11, 2011 at 1:14 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 8
He may be a Charles Mudede, but he's our Charles Mudede. Keep him!
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay http://www.danlangdon.com on October 11, 2011 at 1:18 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 9
He trolls and performs a lot of devils' advocacy. His trolls are fairly obvious and never make me mad, and the quality of his posts is generally high. His most dedicated haters are also usually at best unconvincing, the rest are gullible, and he draws out white supremacists and "edgy" south park conservatives like a bug bomb.
Posted by undead ayn rand on October 11, 2011 at 1:21 PM · Report this
kim in portland 10
Couldn't people just skip reading articles that did not interest them? I like Charles.
Posted by kim in portland http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/11/fast-paced_video_provides_a_fu.html on October 11, 2011 at 1:22 PM · Report this
11
@butterw: You forgot "more fun than a trainwreck on the puppies express."
Posted by tired and true on October 11, 2011 at 1:22 PM · Report this
12
I don't mind Marxists and I loved Police Beat but his writing is getting to be borderline unreadable. Everything is so overwritten.
Posted by big l on October 11, 2011 at 1:22 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 13
@12: "Everything is so overwritten."

And yet, unlike mainstream punditry, I laugh and a brain cell lights up now and then.
Posted by undead ayn rand on October 11, 2011 at 1:26 PM · Report this
14
Charles is a masterful storyteller. He also happens to be the most literate troll on slog :D
Posted by opticsdoug on October 11, 2011 at 1:30 PM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 15
Charles is a treasure, and we are lucky to have him, even if I don't understand him or disagree with him half the time. He is crazy in the best way possible. Don't ever get rid of him.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on October 11, 2011 at 1:31 PM · Report this
16
If the Stranger would offer the ability to filter writers out of the RSS feed, I'd be ok with his pseudo-intellectual claptrap being published where I couldn't see it.

As it stands, I find it incredibly irritating to click through an interesting headline to get self-impressed and mostly incoherent ramblings about how toothpaste explains the racist overtones of neoliberalism.

Plus when he's stoned. He writes like this. He think's it's punchy. But really it's obvious. He's too stoned. Too stoned for clauses. It's obvious he's too stoned for clauses.

DTMFA.
Posted by also on October 11, 2011 at 1:31 PM · Report this
17
Mudede's non-Amanda Knox features are lovely. It's his Slog posts that are borderline insane. I propose a system of emoticons to help us parse his often inscrutable approaches to tone.

:-)
I have noticed something magical on the way to work about birds.

;-)
I am provoking you to get a reaction. Slog is my tickle machine.

:-(
Shitty things about kids and dogs.

:-( ™
Shitty things about my kids.

XX
Shitty things about women

:-o
Space! Rainbows. F*ing magnets, how do they work!

8-o
Philosophy!

$
Marxism.

$$
Marxism rocks.

$$$
The futility of Americans who buy things

$$$ :'-(
Marxist reasons why it's okay someone middle class is sad.

$•$ :'-(
The fact that a robber of color made them sad puts me in an awkward place philosophically.

$•$ :'-( ™
He took your wallet?!? Yet again my children embarrass me!


Amanda Knox did it.

††
Or maybe not.

†††
No, she really did it.

†††††††††††††
She's white and has sex, people! Stabby, stabby!

\m/
I have heard of a band.
Posted by PEM on October 11, 2011 at 1:33 PM · Report this
Andy 18
I hate his writing and I never read his articles, but when he's not talking about boobs, I agree with him more often than not. I say, "Hold on to that goddamned Marxist!"
Posted by Andy on October 11, 2011 at 1:34 PM · Report this
19
@9 is absolutely spot on. He performs a valuable function and this site would be much less interesting without him.
Posted by eptified on October 11, 2011 at 1:38 PM · Report this
20
I find him entertaining. SLOG would not be the same without him. I like his posts about science and astronomy, although his analysis sometimes reads like somebody dosed his coffee with LSD. The comments on Charles' posts are high quality entertainment and assuming you are on a per view fee with your ads, they are a valuable cash source for The Stranger. The Amanda Knox trolling is getting really old.
Posted by Reg on October 11, 2011 at 1:44 PM · Report this
21
I wish I could get still get credit for things I lifted from a police scanner 12 years ago.
Posted by Thunderbird on October 11, 2011 at 1:45 PM · Report this
treacle 22
Keep 'im!

Also, PEM @ 17 FTW
Posted by treacle on October 11, 2011 at 1:45 PM · Report this
23
@17 PEM:

Your emoticons are awesome.

FWIW (nothing), I like Charles, even when I disagree.
Posted by MLM on October 11, 2011 at 1:45 PM · Report this
24
@17 - holy shit. Best comment of the decade. How come PEM isn't on staff?
Posted by Mr. Happy Sunshine on October 11, 2011 at 1:47 PM · Report this
25
I used to really dislike his work, but I've grown to love and respect it over time. Mudede is amazing. There, I said it.

That said, @17 is my nomination for comment of the year, so far.
Posted by Cow on October 11, 2011 at 1:50 PM · Report this
merry 26
Speaking as someone who is frequently annoyed by what Charles writes, I still can't envision Slog or the Stranger without him. The occasional gem does get through... (..the obfuscating fog of racism, Marxism and 'over-thinking'ism.)

Although I suspect he may have peaked during the Police Beat days!
Posted by merry on October 11, 2011 at 1:51 PM · Report this
27
@17, if I were a Pulitzer for internet comments posted pseudonymically, I'd award myself to you.
Posted by gloomy gus on October 11, 2011 at 1:58 PM · Report this
Simac 28
Charles is expert at inciting discussion and debate (or, provoking reactions for the amusement of all). His writing is the most thought-provoking of any writer's on Slog or in the Stranger. I personally find his Marxist and Freudian observations often quaint if not positively old-fashioned, but I appreciate his voice and perspective immensely.

Without Charles, the voice of Slog and the Stranger would be monolithic and insipid. You need him.
Posted by Simac on October 11, 2011 at 1:59 PM · Report this
29
His long-form storytelling is terrific.

On Slog he's primarily a troll, churning out nonsensical, self-indulgent claptrap designed to piss off his haters and get plenty of hits.
Posted by bigyaz on October 11, 2011 at 2:04 PM · Report this
30
I like Charles. Yes, sometimes he makes me really angry (dogs) or really bored (Amanda Knox), but his posts always make me think, and sometimes he comes up with a real gem. He sat next to me one night out on Linda's patio while I was reading, and I felt more excited than seeing celebrities at the Grove.
Posted by shaneleopard on October 11, 2011 at 2:06 PM · Report this
seandr 31
Bethany, the decent things Charles has occasionally written do not make up for the asshole that he usually is.
Posted by seandr on October 11, 2011 at 2:09 PM · Report this
sikandro 32
His posts are useful as litmus tests for which commenters I should ignore (the ones that freak out at his posts) and which I should pay attention to. Great features, great sense of humor.

Also, nice work, PEM.
Posted by sikandro on October 11, 2011 at 2:09 PM · Report this
33
I love Charles. I love how I can tell it's a Charles SLOG post just by the insanity of the headline. And his feature articles are wonderful. And fuck all those A-list hipsters I met when I first moved here that were like "Charles Mudede sucks." No, you suck.
Posted by hereiswheremynamegoes on October 11, 2011 at 2:10 PM · Report this
Lola, Missing Iowa City 34
Crap. My funny and original comment disappeared, so I'll just say this: I hate Charles! Long live Charles! Keep him here, where he annoys only us.
Posted by Lola, Missing Iowa City on October 11, 2011 at 2:10 PM · Report this
Vince 35
Charles is priceless and irreplaceable. He's also so fucking irritating I could scream sometimes. Keep him, please.
Posted by Vince on October 11, 2011 at 2:12 PM · Report this
36
Just keep him off Slog. In short form he is annoying and dizzying. Long form is where he's at. He's too deep for blogging. Imagine Charles on Twitter? Eek.
Posted by K on October 11, 2011 at 2:13 PM · Report this
gcm 37
Please consider replacing Laura Little with a reader who is not Laura Little.
Posted by gcm on October 11, 2011 at 2:14 PM · Report this
Posted by sikandro on October 11, 2011 at 2:15 PM · Report this
39
This one is my favorite.
Posted by Christopher Frizzelle on October 11, 2011 at 2:17 PM · Report this
40
@22 through @32, all I can say is...

:-D
Thanks.
Posted by PEM on October 11, 2011 at 2:21 PM · Report this
41
comment 17- that was genius

I agree with the people who say he should just be kept off slog. His feature pieces are generally very good, but maybe he could be limited to a certain number of slog posts per day or something? It can be really distracting.
Posted by kmonkey on October 11, 2011 at 2:21 PM · Report this
42
Often annoying. Occasionally idiotic. Occationally wonderful. Usually interesting. Keep him.

@17: greatness.
Posted by yuiop on October 11, 2011 at 2:23 PM · Report this
43
Slog is definitely richer for Charles' posts.

I'm thinking of the Grandpa Simpson line about how the nursing home won't let the old folks read the newspapers, because "they angry up the blood."
Posted by midwaypete on October 11, 2011 at 2:24 PM · Report this
44
Although there's something to be said for this one, too.
Posted by Christopher Frizzelle on October 11, 2011 at 2:27 PM · Report this
45
@39 That's my favorite too, actually one of the best things I can ever remember reading in the Stranger. Unfortunately, the majority of his slog posts have the exact opposite effect for me.
Posted by Conrad McMasters on October 11, 2011 at 2:27 PM · Report this
46
@33, yes, that's my favorite game while reading Slog!
Posted by midwaypete on October 11, 2011 at 2:27 PM · Report this
47
It's not the marxism that bothers me; it's the misogyny and pedophilia.
Posted by marx was ok on October 11, 2011 at 2:41 PM · Report this
48
I generally shy away from commenting (since most of my thoughts / opinions are rendered far more eloquently by others on here), but I feel compelled to mention how much I enjoy Charles's presence at the Stranger / SLOG. He's absolutely my favorite writer on staff, even when he pisses me off or leaves me scratching my head.

I think @13 said it best: "And yet, unlike mainstream punditry, I laugh and a brain cell lights up now and then." Oh, and @33, too: "I love how I can tell it's a Charles SLOG post just by the insanity of the headline." Oh, how I love spotting a Mudede Slog headline!
Posted by Pithy on October 11, 2011 at 2:43 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 49
I recommend a gentleman I met once named Marles Chudede. He is a lot like Charles except that he wears a hat and a big, bushy moustache.
Posted by MacCrocodile http://maccrocodile.com/ on October 11, 2011 at 2:50 PM · Report this
onion 50
fire charles and hire PEM @17. holy smokes.
Posted by onion on October 11, 2011 at 2:53 PM · Report this
51
He is irreplaceable. It would be difficult to find another writer so bad who had a self image that would allow him to write. Not everything is hard to understand because its deep. Some things are hard to understand because they're poorly written trite cliches.
Posted by MikeB on October 11, 2011 at 2:54 PM · Report this
pg13 52
If I can survive the Inga Muscio years, I can certainly survive countless more Charles Mudede. Especially when writers are asked to give their opinions, I can't expect that every opinion will be the same as mine--indeed, reading people who express their contrary views well can help make one's own thoughts more three-dimensional.

My issue with Charles has always been that sometimes he makes mistakes and bases his opinions on those mistakes and refuses to reconsider his opinions when presented with evidence of his mistakes. That is when I find him unreadable.

Outspoken? Fine. Stubborn? All right. Unrepentent? Hmmmm...

Convinced in the constant inerrancy of his every stray thought? Unfuriating and insufferable.

So, I'm not voting. Currently, I can pick and choose how much Charles I'm willing to subject myself to. More importantly, I wouldn't want the Stranger to only present writers whose every thought I agree with. On the other hand, I do hope that one day Charles will own up to occasionally being wrong.
Posted by pg13 on October 11, 2011 at 2:59 PM · Report this
onion 53
@17 you forgot about crows for :-(
Posted by onion on October 11, 2011 at 3:07 PM · Report this
WeeblesWobble 54
I get Slog as an RSS feed. With only the content showing, it takes anywhere from 3-8 words before I can reliably identify something as written by Charles Mudede.

Then I always read it of course. He's more interesting than anyone else here. He stays.
Posted by WeeblesWobble http://lipidlove.blogspot.com/2011/02/pointing-out-obvious.html on October 11, 2011 at 3:07 PM · Report this
stuckie 55
It's an interesting troll-tactic, I'll give you that. It's one thing to bash someone's posts, but to literally recommend that the paper fire someone seems like it requires a certain amount of cajones that extend to feeling the potential guilt of helping to put a writer with a family out on the unemployment line.

That said, while every writer's voice should be heard, in our current economy, I don't know how well every writer "deserves" to be paid for writing.

No one is saying Charles should be banned from attempting to contribute to the headlines of Fark, or preventing him from having his own blog or Twitter account. Generally speaking, though, minimally annotated links and rambling opinion pieces are not hard to come by. For the former, you have Unpaid Interns (or, really, anyone under 30); for the latter, "outspoken, well-written people who have a lifetime of experience in the field they're discussing". It seems like with hundreds of thousands of people competing just to have their links atop Reddit, and probably hundreds of local bloggers producing valuable content, getting to post your favorite links or the random subjects on your mind to Slog and have people discuss them should almost be a *reward* for doing your job well, rather than a job in itself. (Unless, of course, you can do it so entertainingly that you build a cult of personality around yourself, which does not seem to apply in this case.)

The question is not whether CM should be silenced (he certainly shouldn't - and I'm sure he won't be no matter what happens); it's whether he deserves the Stranger's writer's salary more than every other writer in Seattle who can do real reporting (like, say, Dominic) AND manage some interesting blog posts besides.

Writing is a job AND an art form. Let's compare to photography, which is one of MY passions. Millions of people pay lots of money and spend time to shoot photos for FREE, and post them on the web free, just for the artistic expression (or the lottery-ticket hope they'll one day get paid for it if their vision enraptures enough people). Tens of thousands of people have JOBS as photographers where they try to bring their art to difficult or uninteresting work (think: weddings, event photography, corporate work, news/sports coverage, corporate product/food shots). Hundreds of people, artistic geniuses or those whose tastes innately please the masses and/or critics (or that were at the right place at the right time) get jobs where they can follow their heart AND get paid a livable wage for it. These are the NBA stars of the art world. CM is not one of the NBA stars of the art world. (though Dan probably is).

Anticipating the backlash: I am in no way anti-art, or anti-writing, or anti-photography. I want to live in a world where money is not the limiting factor for whether or not someone can produce art. Where your art's marketability is not a factor in whether you get to produce or distribute it. Where things are less CAPITALIST. But when one of the few newspapers in the country still holding on to a little bit of profit is trying to decide where best to put its dollars, I'm going to be honest about my answer for the benefit of the paper and its readers, even if that's uncharitable to one particular person (who is probably a great guy in real life).
More...
Posted by stuckie on October 11, 2011 at 3:31 PM · Report this
doloresdaphne 56
Lately, Charles has taken over from Dan as my favorite slogger. The others, I rarely read. Keep him!
Posted by doloresdaphne on October 11, 2011 at 3:46 PM · Report this
57
Every blog should have a Charles. He performs a valuable and important function here. I'm thinking about getting one of my own.
Posted by Zuulabelle http://www.mellophant.com on October 11, 2011 at 4:02 PM · Report this
wingedkat 58
agreed, @17 FTW.

Good job PEM!

You can't replace Charles, though. He's half the reason I read this blog, even though I don't live anywhere near Seattle anymore.

Posted by wingedkat on October 11, 2011 at 4:08 PM · Report this
59
There isn't another writer anywhere that I enjoy more for his ability to make me think differently about economics. Charles IS a national treasure and I can't imagine reading the slog without him!
Posted by DannyG on October 11, 2011 at 4:19 PM · Report this
emma's bee 60
Charles should definitely stay.
Posted by emma's bee on October 11, 2011 at 5:02 PM · Report this
61
His features are usually really good. His long-form prose is excellent.

But CHRIST his Slog contributions make him and the Stranger looks like complete imbeciles.

But then again a large portion of the The Strangers Slog posts are fucking awful. What you don't steal from Metafilter.
Posted by tkc on October 11, 2011 at 6:06 PM · Report this
spaceapple 62
I hate Charles. But I hate him so much I would miss him if he were actually gone.
Posted by spaceapple on October 11, 2011 at 6:16 PM · Report this
63
Love Charles' writing, love the topics, love the headlines.
Posted by Donna on October 11, 2011 at 6:22 PM · Report this
64
In person, I respect and enjoy his company. However, I'd rather take up cutting than read his writing.
Posted by bla on October 11, 2011 at 7:24 PM · Report this
Sweeney Agonistes 65
I like Charles. But I like him the very best on Twitter.
Posted by Sweeney Agonistes on October 11, 2011 at 7:35 PM · Report this
Cordwainer 66
Mudede is a pompous, bloviating, pretentious and self indulgent writer. His writing style tends to identify him even *without* a byline. I can't count the number of times I have seen a headline or subject line about something I could be interested in, read a paragraph or two, thought to myself, "this smells like Mudede's typographic vomit.", checked the byline and found it to be so. Then I skip it and look for something else by someone who can write.

This is particularly annoying and frustrating because Charles has nothing to say and enjoys saying it at great length and with frequent repetition; apparently the Stranger doesn't discourage him from being prolific as he wanna be, so in some issues he's all over the damn place.

I've said it before, I'll say it again... Friends don't let friends read Mudede. I *don't* read Mudede's dribblings if I can help it, but out of compassion for my fellow humans, I don't think anyone else should have to either.
Posted by Cordwainer on October 11, 2011 at 7:55 PM · Report this
67
@66: Spot on!

DTMFA, or at least keep him off Slog.
Posted by RVPMB on October 11, 2011 at 8:33 PM · Report this
68
@66: Bravo. Agreed.
Posted by also on October 11, 2011 at 8:38 PM · Report this
69
If I can survive the Inga Muscio years, I can certainly survive countless more Charles Mudede.

Awesome! As a long-time reader, I heartily agree, even as I condemn you to the fetid pits of Hell for mentioning her name. ("Male scientists with tits...")

Please, please, PLEASE keep Mr. Mudede on Slog, cranking out cranky posts insinuating (but ever lacking the guts to say outright) that Amanda Knox was GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY of some bizarre Satanic sex-murder of her British flat-mate. His downward spiral is a warning to us all.

(And, if he can ever shake his Amanda fetish, he'll return to being an informative and entertaining writer.)
Posted by tensor on October 11, 2011 at 10:29 PM · Report this
70
I can't say that I like all of his posts and articles. But I can say that his unique voice stands out more than any other writer on Slog or elsewhere. It only takes a few words into any post to know who wrote it when it's Charles.
Posted by eden on October 11, 2011 at 11:28 PM · Report this
71
Keep him.

"On Slog he's primarily a troll, churning out nonsensical, self-indulgent claptrap designed to piss off his haters...".

"...a pompous, bloviating, pretentious and self indulgent writer."

"Often annoying. Occasionally idiotic. Occationally wonderful. Usually interesting."

These descriptions of him apply to SLOG commenters in general, so it's not as if the haters would be free of all that is making their lives unbearable.
Posted by spinflux on October 12, 2011 at 12:06 AM · Report this
pg13 72
@52 Two edits.

"countless more of Charles" and "infuriating"

I made mistakes in a post where I criticized Charles for making mistakes. Irony probably tastes like gravy.

However, I've now both identified and owned up to my mistakes and if my opinions had been based upon mistakes, I would be willing to reconsider them.
Posted by pg13 on October 12, 2011 at 12:37 AM · Report this
73
How about fire him and turn him in for aiding and abetting a burglary?
Posted by Root on October 12, 2011 at 6:32 AM · Report this
74
#17 wins the thread. In fact, #17 wins all of Slog.
Posted by BlackRose on October 12, 2011 at 10:53 AM · Report this
Cornichon 75
By all means keep Charles, the most original voice in Seattle. But also, hire #17.
Posted by Cornichon http://cornichon.org on October 12, 2011 at 11:06 AM · Report this
76
Keep Charles.

I will stop reading slog if Charles goes.

Oh, and I support implementing the emoticon warning system as outlined by #17
Posted by Thyme on October 12, 2011 at 2:50 PM · Report this
Zebes 77
VICTORY
Posted by Zebes http://www.badrap.org/rescue/index.html on October 12, 2011 at 3:17 PM · Report this
biffp 78
HORSESHIT
Posted by biffp on October 12, 2011 at 3:39 PM · Report this
Rev.Smith 79
BJC is now giving the alleyoop assist to CM trollish poking? sigh/zzzz

While his big wood article was indeed a nice little poetry break, the rest of his shit still smells.
Interwebs ProvoKation does not good writing make.

If this thread actually had any weight, I'd say 'please stop paying him. if he keeps writing, so be it.'

though @17 FTW
Posted by Rev.Smith on October 13, 2011 at 12:57 PM · Report this
80
Four words: Who else? Where else?

Keep him!
Posted by woof on October 13, 2011 at 2:52 PM · Report this
Roma 81
I love me some Charles. Some, not all. He must remain.
Posted by Roma on October 14, 2011 at 12:37 AM · Report this
Claypatch 82
PEM @ 17 : Internet Win!
Posted by Claypatch on October 14, 2011 at 4:52 PM · Report this

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