The creative writing pieces are never the attraction to the free “alternative” weeklies. That’s the listings and the occasional great investigative reporting (see Bob Norman). But the LA Weekly really has some cleaning up to do.
Coincidental to the James Frey scandal (and grassroots movement to make Tabloid Baby an Oprah’s Book Club selection), the paper unmasks another literary phony, a fake Navajo named Nasdijj, who until now has flown under our radar. But in the same issue, it’s the columnist Dave Shulman who’s got us scratching our heads. He writes a story about living in someone’s garage and hearing a neighbor playing drums. And in the eighth graph, he throws in this line:
“This was before public schools were abolished and the education system privatized into an unfettered marketing tool to teach youth only the morality of fascism, the skills necessary to work for whatever companies own the schools, and the elemental desire for brand-specific soaps and beers and afterlives.”
What the hell does that mean?
Does it make sense? Does he have kids in his garage that go to public school? We do. Are we missing an ultra-hip joke? Yeah, right. More likely, there, in one sentence in Column Dave, is the problem with alt weeklies, circa 2006. Somebody needs an editor, a private place to wank and a fresh copy of Pink Floyd’s The Wall.