30 August 2009

long time no see! also: boston phoenix, WTF. regards, hil.

hey guys.

my my my, i've been a busy girl. between day job work, TPB work, enjoying the brief heat wave here in boston and riding my bike all over this city to catch up with friends new and old, i'm getting very little sleep and i'm spending very little time at home. this past weekend consisted of running around like a crazy person trying to cover Boston Band Crush's ONE NIGHT BAND [which was an incredible success], the McAlister Drive show over at the 'Dise and Jeremy's last night drumming it up with the Sea Monsters on Sunday. I'm back at my desk. I have iced coffee in my system, even if it's getting a little brisk out. life is good.

fast-forward to today, when little miss jessietron sent me the link for the Phoenix's new lifestyle piece: "A Girl's Guide to Boston Boys." this post royally pissed me off on many levels and as much as i've respected the phoenix in the past for its music coverage and photojournalism and other stuff [and hey, i have some friends over at phoenix media, ok?], nina maclaughlin's article in the Welcome Back '09 issue made me want to write to her directly and ask her to never ever write an op/ed ever again. my issues with it:

1) The Boston Phoenix is one of the OLDEST alternative weeklies in the country [second only to the village voice, i believe, or hell, it may even be older], it has an established readership and it still gets picked up even though it's a free paper with midweek circulation. what's the most important part of that last sentence? ALTERNATIVE. WEEKLY. The Boston Phoenix is NOT the Improper Bostonian [aka the glossy which boasts quips on cavity-inducing $15 cocktails and socialite photo spreads to keep the beacon hill set happy] and it's NOT the Boston Herald [aka the daily owned by Rupert Murdoch known for its blue collar/conservative slant.] it's picked up, predominantly, by readers in cambridge, somerville, allston, jamaica plain and charlestown, which host some of the most well-known [and liberal] academic institutions in the metro-Boston area as well as the most creative and innovative nightlife/restaurants/venues/museums/etc etc. i think it's incredibly short-sighted of maclaughlin, and the lifestyles editor at the phoenix who allowed this to even hit the web, to make sarcastic [and, um, entirely unoriginal] cracks at THE PAPER'S KEY DEMOGRAPHIC. Boston Phoenix, these "arrogant, competitive, and highly self-centered" men of cambridge/"members of the famed creative class" of JP who are most likely to be seen at the cemetery [wtf?]/"(aspiring) rock stars" of allston are THE ONES PICKING UP YOUR PAPERS. the yah brahs/frat boys/finance dudes of downtown/beacon hill/kenmore are hardly the gentlemen who'll be picking up the latest issue by the T on a wednesday morning. in fact, it's these assholes who are most likely to use your classified pages to wipe puke off their face after a particularly rowdy night at the liquor store/on lansdowne street. i think that this article had the potential to poke fun and crack jokes in a good-natured way: i mean, come on, we're all capable of making fun of our idiosyncracies as bostonians and we're all very aware of how we tend to distinguish ourselves by neighborhood. with that said, maclaughlin's angle on this puff piece was poorly written [line edits, anyone?] and dripping with disdain from someone clearly suffering from a case of hipster/harvard envy.

2) at the risk of sounding repetitive, this piece was COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY UNORIGINAL. oh my god! hipsters in allston with ...tattoos?! girls wearing lily pulitzer in back bay?! backwards red sox hats in... WAIT DON'T TELL ME... kenmore square?! OHMYGAHDTHATISSOHILARIOUS. you write for The Boston Phoenix. i'm sure you had ample time to pitch an idea and see it through to fruition. that should've given you PUH-LENTY of time to think of a new spin to put on this idea.
also: ashmont. dorchester. SOMERVILLE. even southie [which tends to host these frat boys who're just like "the pals of your best friend's older bro."]. how about you do your research, learn how to use the subway beyond the red and green line, and get to know the city you're covering? if you're going to write off half your audience, you may as well include the neighborhoods where yes, the Phoenix is distributed and where you can find exceptions to every single "type" you defined in your piece. maybe it'll even give your story a little color and keep it from looking like the half-assed column of some Carrie Bradshaw wannabe majoring in Communications at BU.

aaaaand i'm spent. rant done. editorial staff of the boston phoenix: i expect more from you as the supposed authorities on arts & entertainment coverage in my fair city, and i never thought an alternative weekly would be so snottily exclusive. and, frankly, a little more uneducated about the city in which it resides than it should be.

in other news, teaparty boston? yeah, we won't tell you who to date based on what neighborhood you're scouring for boyfriends in, but we WILL tell you how arts & entertainment actually is in Boston and with direct quotes from the people who are making exciting things happen here. we won't be poking fun at them. OR their tattoos.

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