New Times Broward-Palm Beach responds to NYT headline, misses point
Yesterday, Deirdra Funcheon wrote a grossly self-serving piece for the New Times Broward-Palm Beach attacking a piece I wrote for the New York Times on Wednesday. Or, actually, she was attacking the headline of the piece, which asked “Are Alt Weeklies Over?”
The piece itself went on to offer a resounding “no” as the answer to that question, detailing the important role that alt weeklies still play in urban life, and likening the archive of an alt-weekly to James Joyce’s Ulysses, the book widely voted as the most important novel of the last century.
And yet, Funcheon mustered every ounce of intellectual dishonesty and cynicism that she possessed in order to attack the headline and brag about the awards her colleagues have won down there–because no one knows alt like Palm Beach!
Funcheon is a managing editor at New Times Broward-Palm Beach and the fact that she didn’t bother to argue with the actual substance of my piece but with a hastily constructed straw man is the closest I have come–after a very embattled week–to feeling despair for the world of alts.
On the other hand, I applaud Funcheon’s fighting spirit. Of our sale to the Baltimore Sun Media Group, I wrote, “My concern, though, is not that things will change overnight, but that over time, under corporate ownership, we will lose our edge. When that happens to other institutions in Baltimore, we’ve been the ones to cry ‘sellout!’ I’d like to think that, in doing so, we’ve made the city a somewhat better place. But who will do the same for us?”
Funcheon clearly wanted to be that one and I applaud the impulse. But the cynical bid for attention masquerading as critique does not do the job. My views are not perfect and were written at a time when we had seen eight close colleagues laid off and in which our own future was uncertain. Is there a fight to be had? Sure. But in order to have that fight, the wannabe pugilist needs to learn how to read carefully instead of embodying the worst elements of internet culture and not even looking past the headline.