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Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Stranger’s Official Sunday Afternoon ColumnTM (Brought to You By Condo Advertisements with Questionable Grammar)

posted by on August 24 at 13:29 PM

Earlier this week, we got an email from someone named Doug/Schatzi, which is, alas, not someone with a slash in their legal name (wouldn’t that be marvelous?), but someone named Doug who works at a place called Schatzi Marketing. He wrote:

Hi there, my name is Doug Perkul and I am the former AP at SPIN Magazine. Together with Sundance Award Winner Stefan Nadelman, we created a new literary site called Lit Mob ( Now, before you start to yawn, please note that this is not like what is currently online—the site is more like Pitchfork in that it focuses on books, but also design and musical artists. We would love your thoughts on the site as well as any editorial love that you may be able to share.

Thanks a million! I have attached our press release for your review and am of course available to answer any questions that you may have.


Doug Perkul
Publisher & Founder

You get a note like this and you feel something. “This is not like what’s currently online”? “Readers unite!”? It’s heartwarming, no? The language of revolution is a little crazy, but literary culture is Saltine-y and ridiculous and nowhere near commensurate with how great great writing can be, and it’s refreshing to hear from one of those valiant few who’s with you on this, who likewise believes that something must be done, that reading The Elegant Variation and Maude Newton and Arts & Letters Daily and subscribing to The New Yorker and n+1 and The Believer is not enough, and moreover that literature and music have some things in common, that there’s got to be a way to get the average person as excited about books as they are about bands, that more alliances between to two mediums could be forged for… well, marketing reasons, really, horrible as that sounds. Reading could use a marketing update. Writers are rock stars. This at least was the thinking behind The Stranger’s reading and dance party with Charles D’Ambrosio and Jonathan Safran Foer at Chop Suey in April 2005, and the one with Zadie Smith and Amos Latteier and the Dead Science at Neumo’s in October 2005, and the one with Miranda July and Sarah Rudinoff and “Awesome” at Neumo’s in May 2007.

Anyway, then I visited the website to see what a site about books that’s “more like Pitchfork” is like, because that sounds pretty great, and started to read it and skipped right past yawning to narcolepsy. I have keyboard shapes on my cheek. The writing on Lit Mob is a lazy pile of unnecessary first-person and book-review cliches (“The protagonist is extremely self-absorbed yet easy to root for”). How can book reviewers who can’t write be trusted? There is one page on Lit Mob that’s kind of not a bad idea—a page of “what our favorite artists are reading now,” where members of Earlimart and Cut Copy and Menomena and other bands recommend titles by dead people you already know about (Phillip K. Dick, Kurt Vonnegut, Charles Bukowski) and not-dead guys too (David Berman, Alex Ross, Keith Gessen, Jeffrey Eugenides). It’s a handsome page, but it doesn’t make for compelling reading. I reread Doug/Schatzi’s email—what’s an “AP at Spin magazine”? Apple polisher? Aryan procreator? Awful person?—and wondered why I ever extended any hope in his direction, then visited the website for Schatzi Marketing, just to round out the picture, and, well, here’s what came up on the first page:


In case that’s too fuzzy for you to read:

Schatzi is a unique marketing firm that specializes in creating compelling campaigns and programs for brands seeking “authentic” interactions with the marketplace.

Doug/Schatzi writes that he is “available to answer any questions that you may have.” OK: Is this a joke, Doug/Schatzi? Could it please be a joke? What does “‘authentic’” mean? Does that refer to something that seems authentic but isn’t? Something that doesn’t seem authentic but is? Something that doesn’t seem authentic and isn’t? It’s compelling, that grammar there. It’s packed like a poem.

RSS icon Comments


so, it actually IS just like pitchfork

Posted by brian | August 24, 2008 1:57 PM

So what is the relationship between litmob and Schatzi? Is litmob merely an extension of the marketing firm, created as an advertising mechanism? Or, has this Doug fellow become his own customer? Are the two actually completely separate ventures?

Totally agree with your thoughts on "authentic." It's quite a loaded bit of punctuation, eh?

Posted by meggers | August 24, 2008 2:16 PM

Pitchfork is, like, so lame.

Posted by Rob / Rudolpho's | August 24, 2008 2:17 PM

is the Sunday Afternoon Column (TM) really in a position to cast aspersions on unnecessary choices of narrative point of view?

Posted by litmob does look wretched, but... | August 24, 2008 3:03 PM

Ooooh!! You mean [insert artist name here] doesn't just make music, they read too?!! Now I love [insert artist name here] even more because of this "authentic" connection. I had no idea [insert artist name here] and I had so much in common!! I think I'm going to be in their "Top Friends" section on myspace after this heartfelt message on how [insert author name here] *TOTALLY* changed my life.

Posted by Blog Buddy | August 24, 2008 3:39 PM


We'd rather not moderate your comments, but off-topic, gratuitously inflammatory, threatening, or otherwise inappropriate remarks may be removed, and repeat offenders may be banned from commenting. We never censor comments based on ideology. Thanks to all who add to the conversation on Slog.

Posted by Comment Deleted | August 24, 2008 7:12 PM

Please fix your title. "Brought to you BUY Condo Advertisements..."??? This is not LJ.

Posted by dammit, do it now. | August 25, 2008 12:10 AM

Wow, glad to see that you guys are such big fans of the site! We have received wonderful feedback thus far and appreciate the press!! As for Schatzi, this is my day job (how many of us out there toil with a 9-5 so that we can pursue other pursuits?). We hope that you enjoy the site - please visit and feel free to leave feedback.

Best wishes,

Doug Perkul

Posted by doug perkul | August 25, 2008 6:15 AM

I haven't been to the site, but it sounds terrible, so I won't. 10 "passion points" for me!

Posted by hohoho green giant | August 25, 2008 8:55 AM

@ 7 -- Eeesh, sorry about that. I always make stupid mistakes like that when I'm typing fast. Fixed.

Posted by christopher frizzelle | August 25, 2008 10:06 AM

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