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Monday, July 14, 2008

Great Thoughts of a Journalistic Titan

So, The Merc clued me into this one. You get used to ignoring the piles of free literature laying around in the corners of bars, but never ever do that: they will provide you with hours of entertainment, and maybe just maybe you will read the thoughts of a genius. A genius named Craig Marquardo.

Music Spectator magazine is a glossy. It describes itself as 'The Magazine for the Portland Music Scene', and "2nd largest magazine in Portland," which is great because we didn't ask you what your circulation was, and, oh -here's some numbers thoughtfully provided in an entirely undefensive manner:

"WE'RE JUST SAYIN...
Numbers don't lie:
1) Portland Monthly - 56,000 copies
2) Music Spectator - 50,000 copies
3) PDX Magazine - 40,000 copies "

In the above, he is pitting his free publication alongside two other free publications. Below this, there is a comparison between his rag and all other newspapers and weeklies. He comes in fifth on that one.
And who cares? Craig Marquardo, that's who! I suppose somebody was making fun of Craig somewhere, and he felt the need to clear the air. It's why he thought that anyone else would care about the circulation numbers of a free magazine that's the tough part.

The magazine itself is largely a bunch of information about dates and venues for various acts. Plenty of other mags do this, of course -well, they all do- but other mags lack the vibrant presence of Craig Marquardo.
He does it all himself, and it shows. Dude needs to hire a fucking copy editor, but we'll get to that.

On the first page, there's a picture of Craig and someone with a hatchet mouth named 'Stacie'. In between them is Lily Tomlin, who was here a few months back. The look on her face says, "Who the fuck are these people? Whatever. Just part of the biz." The look on Craig's face says, "This is my good friend, Famous Person. Don't ever suggest that I do not know any Famouses."
The look on Stacie's face? "EEEEEEEEEE!!!!!," if I had to guess.

Then Craig shares his summertime plans with you. "I am headed to Curacao to spend ten days at the all-inclusive Superclubs." Y'know, for someone who clearly already thinks he's pretty damn special, one would suspect that he would enjoy an ex-clusive club. However, I think he means like 'mini-bar!' and 'free towels!', or something. Then:
"Just me, a hammock, a hot girl, and the Atlantic Ocean (being originally an east coast guy, this is a big deal)."

Okay, for starters, fuckin' yuck. But also, here is where the madness truly begins. As this article/comment thread nicely exemplifies, Craig's many dubious claims have already made him famous.
Like his warm, long-term friendship with Sting:

"I start to feel incredibly old thinking that it has been 20 years. Forget his music, ignore his public persona, I assure you that he is nothing like you would expect-good or bad-and is my oldest friend. Can't wait..."

According to other things I've read, his basis for this claim of friendship is that he sang backup for Sting when he was fifteen (Craig, not Sting). Several people claim that this is untrue, as is his claim that he was in the army (he later changed that to 'navy'), that he played major league baseball (later amended to 'minor league'), and worked for Warner Bros. This last item, which came out while he was running for office in Hood River, got him an injunction from Warner to stop claiming this (though he phrases it as "Well, see, but no, that’s the problem. I got indicted for that…I don’t have [proof of] everything.").
I'm pretty sure that one doesn't get indicted for that sort of bullshit, but one may very well get sued for it.

He also helmed a Portland Music Awards debacle that gets him a fair amount of negative acclaim (as well as an aborted attempt at bringing major league baseball to Portland), but we're here to discuss the magazine itself in all its glossy, oft-misspelled and mis-punctuated wonder.

"James Taylor, ticket giveaways are always good when you get to give people the chance to see a legend. These are burning a hole in my desk, so who wants them?"

First off, he sounds like he's admonishing James Taylor to please give away some tickets, but then it becomes clear that he's just thrown you into the middle of a run-on, semi-backward-running sentence. And that "who wants them?" actually sounds like a rhetorical question suggesting that no one does.

This is followed by live music listings, which comprise much of the magazine. Exactly what the demand is for this, I couldn't tell you, and the fact that it's a glossy means that it's pretty expensive to put out. So he's probably not making any sort of living off of it, and for all the effort, it's still crying out for some damn editing by someone other than Craig Marquardo.

Just using spell check would have eliminated problem sentences like
"With that pedigree we were eager to hear this new cantation."
"Just because they CAN break off into a brilliant and rockingly eclectic version of Mozartm..."
"You are acutely aware on first listen to the efforts made to envelop a mood..."


Uh, that was 'develop' you wanted there, wasn't it? And 'incarnation'? Who's "Mozartm"?

There are only seven ads in here, so I'm guessing that isn't much of a revenue source. One of them is from the army. It's possible that each of the major venues he lists are paying him to do so...I don't know.

There are two articles, one by a guy from KMHD on the subject of benefit shows, and one on the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. Or, as Craig notes on the first page:
"We finally did it. No, not that. I decided to end the nonsense and do a story on the OLCC and either nail them good or clear some things up. You'll have to read to find out which, but it was extremely enlightening. Nice to brush up on my investigative reporting chops."

Many of his paragraphs start off with something that is clearly meant to be a joke, but just fails, somehow. Then; he's ending the nonsense! Put paid to for all time is this...Notion you have about the thing under discussion! I did read and '(found) out which', and the answer was neither, really. Investigative journalism that is a series of generic quotes from some state employees (that kind of sounded like someone reading a pamphlet, actually) mixed with random opining.
Or, as he puts it in the opening summation, "Being a government agency in this day and age though comes with a heavy dose of skepticism and assumed incompetence."
(Writing sentences is hard.)

He does take the hard stance that signage proscribing underage drinking is hardly a solution to the problem...Which doesn't really have to do with this at all, but okay. He notes how 'strangely autonomous' the OLCC is, and how that's kind of the problem...
But also notes that they're nowhere near to being the hardasses that they're generally viewed as, which is my experience, too.

He opens up a profile of a club owner by writing, "The owner of a 'certain' all ages venue in Southeast Portland..."
There's plenty of ways to have achieved his aim in that composition without sounding coy and awkward. Losing the quotes around the "certain", losing "certain" altogether, not giving the neighborhood while trying to preserve anonymity...Just using "a source who wishes not to be named"...

"Some teenagers would love to go to strip clubs, drink at bars, and smoke cigarettes. As long as they are against the law, there will be rules that venue owners will have to abide by."
(As long as teenagers are against the law? As long as the rules are against the law? As long as venue owners are against the law?)
And then:
"My guess is...many of them are parents too."
My guess is that you could lose that ellipsis. And hell, why are you trying to tug my heartstrings in an article of this kind? Ohhh. Pa-rents. I get it now...

The problem ultimately lies in the strangely autonomous personality that crafted this magazine. He's a Scorpio, according to his MySpace page (actually, it's the magazine's page. The magazine is single, by the way), and I've repeatedly found that when scorps aren't sitting at home crying about how mean everyone is to them, they're out actively being mean to people. This is some sort of awful spiral that occurs in people who perpetually think that they've been victimized: they then quickly decide that they have no reason to consider the feelings of other people, who are just gonna turn around and fuck them over anyway. Tangent. Sorry.

But yes; if he just let someone else look at his writing before throwing it out there, maybe he'd enjoy a bit less embarrassment. And of course, by writing this post I am being mean -even though when you put text out in public with your name on it, people will judge your work, sorry to say- and will no doubt be found out, since I suspect he spends a lot of time Googling his own name.
Otherwise, he wouldn't show up on so many comment threads, defending himself against all those mean people who feel that he just might be a douchebag.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Salty Miss Jill said...

You keep it real, Rich Bachelor!
I've been having run-ins of my own with triflin', passive aggressive bitches (male and female) who think it's fine to treat people like shit, and then get all defensive and excuse-y when I call them on it. And then I'M the asshole because I don't like to be walked on.(tangent of my own)
On top of being a mean, insecure douchebag, sounds like this cat can't write his way out of a wet papaer bag. I know a couple people like that.
Fuck 'em!

12:42 PM  
Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

I wonder what the numbers are on the magazines San Francisco. Lower than in Portland, I suspect. And in Portland, unlike San Francisco, people actually read magazines instead of just look at the pictures and pull out the scratch and sniff cards to smell better for a big date.

3:57 PM  
Blogger George Popham said...

I'm just getting back in the swing of cyber world so these comments could be relevant to any of the last 3 or 4 posts.

On "All inclusive super-clubs"

Have you noticed (In much the same way the suffix 'master' makes things funny) that appending the prefix 'super' to almost anything makes it something worth going to some effort to avoid?: Supergroup, superstar, super-club.

Works for 'mega' too: mega-ton, mega-church, mega-death.

I read the comments of the right wing (mega) whack-job that you dealt with a post or two back... Strange, I have to confess a weakness in that I can't get that fucker out of my head... Funny thing about the 'moral absolutes' these people always harp on is that one seldom gets anything like a comprehensive list of what these absolutes are. This guy was apparently down on 'riding bikes and marrying whoever you want' (a veiled demand for a return to arranged marriages?) but of of course the real problem for this guy is the homosexers. What gets me about this kind of guy is the total lack of proportion in their concern with this issue above all others. With all the suffering, injustice, horror, torture, mindless violence and general awfulness the one totally intolerable thing is gay people?!!? Financial scandals, Russian mafia, death squads, sexual slave trading and the KKK are just normal parts of our world, maybe not good but to be expected in a complex world, apparently, but boys kissing boys, never!

That he distanced himself from religious concerns just made it creepier, it takes away what thin grounds these pathological types ever had to begin with.

(Aside on the Christers wrt gay folk: Jesus was very nice to prostitutes, in fact, biblically speaking that message was much clearer than anything about homosexuality, but I have yet to see a Christian nearly as worried about saving [forgiving are the exact words] the hookers as they are about murdering, punishing or marginalizing the gay people.)

looking at history I'll take my chances with the relativists, thanks. When the absolutists go nuts it's crusades, gulags and concentration camps. But, when the relativists get it wrong a couple guys get stabbed at Altamont or someone gets the brown acid and has a bit of a bummer, or at worst the Ashram falls apart and someone gets arrested for fraud.

Oh, and incidentally the bike riding faggots of Multnomah county can't be both total moral relativists AND Marxists because Marxism is about as morally absolute as it gets. The relativists of the 40s and 50s were often former communists horrified at what a disaster the absolutism of dialectical materialism brought about and yet unwilling to go back to imperialist Christianity.

See. You more or less already said these things, and I know perfectly well i accomplish nothing by adding my two sense, but it is as if I have touched a piece of social anti-matter and it sticks in my mind endlessly. It's like a mind splinter... all I'm doing here is digging at it with a hot needle. I suspect that dealing with this poisonous current in American opinion is going to require more calm than I can muster at present.

Good to hear about Ashland... you know, for all the times I've been there, I have yet to see play down at the OSF. Your brief assessment of Midsummer's Night's Dream was great...We don't have anything like the control over things we think we do, in fact most of the determining factors are hidden. The Mahayana Philosophers would agree; IT"S ALL a 'weak and idle theme/ no more yielding but a dream.' - So try and take it easy on the absolutes, chief - one wants to add in Simpson's guy voice.

The kicker is that somehow this fairy/karma based attitude (or deep acknowledgment of cluelessness, if you like) with some practice, makes life less chaotic, more manageable. Tough sell because it sounds so self-contradictory. Tootle toot blah toot.

Anyhow, miss you, Man. Say hey to B and the thugs. And gitchersefs out thisa-way soon if'n y'can.

11:44 AM  
Blogger Erudite Hussein Redneck said...

Please join me in extending best wishes to the presumptive Democratic nominee for president of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama, today, on the occasion of his 47th birthday.

Thank you.

--EHR

8:39 AM  

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