In a city of 8 million, why narrow your selections? (I ask this with affection, and as someone who was born in Brooklyn, grew up in the Gothamic shadowlands of New Jersey, lived in Queens, and toiled for some years in Manhattan.)
The NY Press is back with its annual list, many of which are on-target and many of which are not. What the hell, it's comforting to read a newspaper that uses the word douchebag as a spacefiller.
Here's a rundown of some of the media types who got a Bronx cheer:
WHAT LIBERAL DICKWAD? Milhouse is all grown up: He has a goatee, a PhD from Stanford and an online diary where he proclaims his love for Jackson Browne. Liberal bloggers are holding it up like the fucking Alamo, but his run-in with Dennis Miller last month left Alterman looking like he was about to get his head dunked in the toilet?for the third time. Even if you agree with him about Ann Coulter and Alexander Cockburn, it's hard not to root against this smirking, center-left prick who likes his dinner dates rich and famous and his fois gras seared. "He constantly wants to remind you that he's Eric Alterman," one of his interns revealed in a rumor-confirming Village Voice hatchet-job, "[and] that he knows a lot of important people, and that you're a lowly intern." Dear future self-respecting Alterman interns: If this creepy Bruce Springsteen groupie ever cops an attitude, just take a breath, start laughing and print out some of his "Alter-Reviews" at random. If you're lucky, you'll hit a Jackson Browne box set.
KLOSTERMAN ISN'T A loathsome New Yorker so much as a loathsome creation of New York, a North Dakota circus monkey desperately trying to ape the role of an authentic Midwestern, beer-drinking mullet-head. In his excruciatingly stupid collection of essays, Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs, Klosterman declares that Billy Joel is "great," Steely Dan "more lyrically subversive than the Sex Pistols and the Clash combined." The author goes on to compare himself and his yuppie girlfriend to Sid and Nancy because they're both so "self-destructive." Lester Bangs would have vomited down this guy's shirt before shaking his hand.
IT STILL BOGGLES the brain that so many fell for this brawny brat's 2003 rehab memoir, A Million Little Pieces. Clearly there's a huge audience starved for dimestore, parodic Hemingway machismo. And Frey, the self-proclaimed "greatest writer of his generation," is the man to give it to them. He boasts about getting in real old-time fistfights with his fellow junkie patients and about beating a priest almost to death for daring to touch Frey's very masculine thigh?classic 1930s retro-prose, homoerotic and homophobic at once. His characters are as anachronistic as his writing; there's a steelworker "as hard as the material he works with" and endless tearful farewell scenes with a fisherman, who actually says, "I ain't much for words, kid." Frey's fellow patients all talk like outtakes from a Spencer Tracy movie, pasted into Frey's poorly written, 400-page ode to his family-funded self.
New York Times reporter
CONSIDERED A DOUBLE expert in weapons of mass destruction and Islam despite lacking both a science background and Arabic language skills, Judith Miller is more than a veteran lecture-circuit fraud. By relying on Pentagon officials and Ahmed Chalabi for her "scoops," she was instrumental in pumping bogus intelligence into the media echo chamber in 2002 and 2003. Thousands of dead later, she's been outed by nearly every serious watchdog journal in the country but is still defending herself. When the Army unit with which she was imbedded decided to abandon its fruitless search for weapons, she threatened to write an unfavorable story for the Times unless the search was resumed?forcing what one officer called a "rogue operation." Considering Miller's sources, it shouldn't shock us that no WMD ever turned up. It should shock us that the bitch still has a job.
THIS CANADIAN-BORN tabloid succubus has been getting a hail of belated bad press for mistreating and overworking her underlings. Despite being among the highest-paid editors in publishing, she reportedly still hogs the promo merch like
a shifty intern. Her Evil Queen act would be forgivable if her formula weren't, as described by her former employer the Toronto Star, "sex, shopping, clothes, celebrity hairstyles, gossip and more sex." Her big genius move at Us Weekly was to run pictures of sweatpants-clothed celebrities without makeup. She also?call the Pulitzer committee!?ran a slutty picture of Kobe Bryant's accuser on the cover of the Globe. Anyone who's ever wondered in post-9/11 reverie Why They Hate Us need only ponder this woman's career. Better yet, do what one of Fuller's former colleagues allegedly did: Foul her lunch with bodily fluids.
THE QUEEN OF broadcast journalism infotainment, Diane is ABC News' incessant ingenue that we hope one day interviews a hungry Siberian tiger. As Good Morning America's 50-something going on 30-something blond and blue-eyed eternal debutante, she coyly sucks pudding from Wolfgang Puck's spoon, creams over celebrities and moguls of any stripe, cries like an insipid crocodile for the victims of f?ted daily tragedies and bats her eyelashes while touting her Nixon-White-House-past. For her current multi-million-dollar-per-year contract, Diane guarantees an overdose of saccharine sufficiently strong to send viewers into a coma, but not strong enough to flush the fourth-place network's morning ratings out of the toilet.
HE CAME FROM the Washington Post as a sniveling insider notable for daring to report that Tim Robbins threatened him with violence for reporting a simple truth. As gossip columnist for the Daily News, Grove has been flummoxed by the city and is reduced to covering petty internet bickering long after it's old news. Check out his sterling reporting on Martha Stewart, hacking away several days after the verdict to tell us that Hillary Clinton has sympathy for a perjurer. Big scoop, Lloyd. This would usually be incompetent instead of loathsome, but the stakes were raised once you conned the Daily News into paying massive bucks for your groveling.
Access Hollywood Reporter
IT'S A NOBLE thing to insult and infuriate celebrities. But the key is to do it out of contempt for them and in a spirit of humor. (Remember the UK's Dennis Pennis?) When you're just another paparazzi who pisses off Tom Cruise by being an even bigger asshole than he is, that's a rare accomplishment in loathsomeness. Normally we'd applaud someone who offended Oprah Winfrey, mortally embarrassed Keisha Castle-Hughes and disgusted Nicole Kidman, but we can't begrudge anything to the Access Hollywood reporter and presidential cousin Billy Bush. Just imagine the man Billy Crystal called "the most annoying man in show business" in a red-carpet screaming match with Brad Pitt's publicist over allotted mic-time. Now say you don't want to see Angelina Jolie smash his nuts into five easy pieces.
WHERE'S AL QAEDA'S crack cyber division when you need it? When edited by Elizabeth Spiers, Gawker was occasionally funny?vapid and cloying, but occasionally funny. When Spiers left the site to slog buckets for New York magazine, she handed the reins to Choire Sicha?yes, folks, that's pronounced "Cory", and yes, it's a dude?who turned Gawker into an unreadable circle-jerk for the cream of New York City's wannabe media asshole crop. To read Gawker now is no longer an enjoyable five minutes in the morning; it's stumbling into a horrifying online cocktail party hosted by a humorless, obnoxious prick and attended by his even less interesting obnoxious prick friends. Go ahead and gawk, but there's nothing to see here.
WE NEVER CARED for Howard's mooky blatherings, but we support him in his 11th-hour conversion to free-speech champion. Too bad the jackass waited so long to take a stand?a more chickenshit millionaire you'd be hard-pressed to find. He choked when he ran for governor, helping instead to elect the biggest tax-and-spend Republican in New York history (who gave us two of the biggest subway fare hikes in history). With his money and fan base, Stern could've taken on the criminals at the FCC a long time ago, but as always, the smut jock went ostrich, burying his face in a pair of fake tits while the Constitution got crumpled. Come to think of it, scratch the opening line. We hope Ashcroft locks him away for 10 to 20.
Rupert & Lachlan Murdoch
WHEN BRITISH TELEVISION playwright Dennis Potter learned he had terminal cancer, he named the tumor "Rupert." A bloody, distended hemorrhoid might have been more apt. The Aussie-born antichrist is alive and well, enjoying U.S. citizenship and avoiding his tax obligations, while Fox News continues to offer the world a glimpse of what American fascism would look like. In the run-up to the Iraq invasion, all 175 of Murdoch's papers argued for war and threw editorial acid on those who disagreed. But if you're one of the millions of people who can't think of a single good reason why Rupert Murdoch shouldn't die a slow and painful death next week, here's one: Lachlan, his tattooed, 32-year-old idiot-savant heir currently serving as the publisher of the New York Post. As a newspaper reportedly losing between $15 and $20 million each year, the Post is tied with the pyramids for biggest vanity project in history?all so that Little Lachlan can have a star-spangled tabloid in New York. If there is a chunk of the WTC that hasn't yet fallen to Earth, let it crash onto father and son the next time they're dining at the Carlyle.
Who's number 1? Read the whole list here.