Village Voice Editor Sends Blogger D*ck Joke Memo

Ortega to Kamer: Stop apologizing for Dolan slam — it was funny, and here’s why

Last Updated: May 11, 2010 @ 1:51 PM

Quick update to this post ("Dolan Joke Costs Village Voice $1M in Ads, But No Jobs Yet") from yesterday.

Tony Ortega, the Village Voice editor who is supporting his blogger, Foster Kamer, despite the reported million in advertising the paper is losing because of a dick joke Kamer made about Cablevision chief Jim Dolan, published an open memo to Kamer about the fallout. His message: stop apologizing.

Breaking rule no. 1 of comedy writing, Ortega goes on to explain the joke.

Still, it’s essential reading.

Here’s a bit:

See, there’s this guy named Jake Dobkin. I’ve met this guy. He’s easily one of the two or three most humorless human beings I’ve ever met in my life. And that didn’t surprise me, because it helped explain why his website, Gothamist, is the way that it is.

Gothamist’s purpose is very simple: rewrite everything significant in the morning’s New York Times in short, passionless, humorless bite-sized chunks.

I don’t get it. But for some reason, some people do, and they prefer to get their New York Times chewed up in the form of room-temperature gruel rather than go directly to the source and read the, you know, New York Times itself.

But whatever. The guy had a vision. He went for it. He created a site that a few people read and that occasionally sports an advertisement, which allows him to employ a few people and keep the thing going. More power to him.

Only, Dobkin (being Dobkin) not only has no sense of humor, he doesn’t seem to realize that all he’s doing is rewriting the work of other people without even putting in a joke or two. He seems to believe that what he’s doing is journalism.

As a result, on occasion Dobkin has been known to spout off about how the Times — the paper, mind you, that he makes a living rewriting — doesn’t get readers the way he does. Or, on another occasion, it led him to make a cutting criticism of a piece in the Times that he judged was too friendly to its subject.

In Dobkin’s words, the Times had given the subject of that story a "blowjob."

This may have been the closest Jake Dobkin has ever come to cracking wise, so that alone makes it worth pointing out. But there’s another reason why that utterance is interesting. It implied that Dobkin knew better than the Times about what gives a news organization or a news website its credibility: and that is, being a truth-teller that doesn’t hold back, that doesn’t pander either to the subjects of its stories or to its readers. Dobkin, in other words, seemed to be making the point that if the Times itself was going soft, he, and his website Gothamist, would remain ramrod stiff barriers against pandering and pap.

This is actually an admirable position to take, and would not really be very noteworthy except for what happened next.

Read the whole thing here.

More to read:

Dolan Joke Costs Village Voice $1M in Ads, But No Jobs Yet