Hillary Clinton

The 50 Most Loathsome NYers

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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:

50 MOST LOATHSOME NEW YORKERS

[snips throughout]

39
Eric Alterman
Pundit
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.

38
Chuck Klosterman
Critic
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.

32
James Frey
Author
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.

31
Judith Miller
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.

27
Bonnie Fuller
Tabloid Queen
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.

23
Diane Sawyer
Anchorwoman
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.

20
Lloyd Grove
Gossip Columnist
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.

16
Billy Bush
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.

15
Choire Sicha
Blogger
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.

7
Howard Stern
Disc Jockey
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.

4
Rupert & Lachlan Murdoch
Media Moguls
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.

NEXT: Earthbound America

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  1. Matthew, Rupert Murdock wasn’t born on Staten Island either.

  2. Perhaps the question we should be asking is are there any New Yorkers who are _not_ loathsome?
    I can’t bring any immediately to mind…
    Shirley Knott

  3. i’m not loathesome. i’m loveable.

  4. Even before I scrolled to the top of the list, a little voice in my head was saying “I really hope Eric Alterman’s on there…”

    I can’t wait to see the hissy fit he throws over this on his blog tomorrow.

  5. Did they choose themselves as #1?

    Judy Miller is kinda cute, and I believe I saw her speaking Arabic on the ‘phone to a source on a PBS show once.

  6. #1) Are we supposed to think less of Lachlan Murdoch because he has tattoos? What the fuck kind of critique is that?

    #2) Alterman belongs on there, but I’m mystified that D. Miller isn’t on there as well, because they obviously saw that Miller/Alterman nightmare-maybe Miller doesn’t live in NYC…

    #3) Comparing the “Fab 5” to mistrels doesn’t make any sense- minstrel shows featured white performers in black-face. Are they implying the Fab 5 aren’t gay? Furthermore, if they act that way in real life (and I’m guessing they do), what the fuck is the problem? Them being who they are?
    Should they pretend to be butch firefighters or something?

    Ugh- this is what I get for reading tabloids..

  7. Personally, I preferred Zona’s old “Assholes of America” lists, e.g.

    http://groups.google.com/groups?&selm=c7b73165.0211171556.7be1df4d@posting.google.com

    At least he didn’t praise Norman Finkelstein.

  8. Alterman, above all, richly deserves the criticism. But what gives with Howard Stern? He’s no Johnny-come-lately, he’s been criticizing the repressive FCC his entire career.

  9. I miss the Spy 100.

  10. Bloomberg?

  11. Steely Dan’s lyrics ARE more subversive than the Pistols and Clash combined. Not only are they darker, but they the fact that the music accompanying them sounds similar to lite rock/pop crap on first listen makes the effect even more nasty, like a pornographic Mickey Mouse cartoon.

    “In the hills the stuff was laced with kerosine
    But yours was kitchen clean…” Drugs

    “…I’m gonna take her down to Mexico
    She said, “Oh no, Guadalajara won’t do
    Well I did not think the girl could be so cruel
    And I’m never going back to my old school” Pregnancy and abortion

    “Drink scotch whiskey all night long
    And die behind the wheel”

    The NY Press needs to learn that scathing denunciations a lot more subversive when you do it in the boardroom in a nice suit, and everyone smiles along in ignorance, that when you do it in alley in leather jacket, and any of consequence knows to ignore you from the moment they see you.

  12. I was about to protest until I saw that Chucky Schumer made the list. The Sarah Jessica Parker bit is my favorite …

  13. the fact that the music accompanying them sounds similar to lite rock/pop crap on first listen

    How many listens to do you have to go through before it stops sounding like light rock/pop crap? ‘Cause I haven’t gotten there yet.

  14. Steely Dan is one of the greatest bands ever. It’s the only group I know that successfully melded jazz and rock (without being that fusion crap). The music was sophisticated for radio at the time, but it was still rocked. It stands head and shoulders above most of the stuff of any genre you could hear on radio in the 70s. The lyrics are great, too.

  15. Couldn’t agree more about Alterman. Hey, remember what George Carlin said about parents who hold their kids in those chest bookbags and drive Volvos and listen to Steely Dan? I love that bit.

  16. The Strand Staffers? Ya get what ya pay for, you cheap pricks!

    Funny thing is that few New Yorkers give a shit about the majority of the people on the list.

  17. “How many listens to do you have to go through before it stops sounding like light rock/pop crap?’

    *Sniff* I suppose it depends on the amount of musical knowledge you have to draw on.

  18. “I suppose it depends on the amount of musical knowledge you have to draw on.”

    I have a degree. Steely Dan always makes me want to push the “open” button on the elevator I must be on. Tight chords and jazz knowledge are present on Lawrence Welk, too–and that was the best paying gig for big band musicians around. Doesn’t make it not crap.

  19. When I have to listen to kids prattle on and on about how musically progressive Phish are and how many different styles they meld and how smart they are, I think to myself, “This must be how my parents feel about Steely Dan fans.”

  20. steely dan’s biggest pro is that they named themselves after a milk-spurting strap-on dildo from naked lunch. i never fail to get a kick out of telling middle-aged SD fans that.

    does seem out of place with their staid presentation. to be fair, i get them confused with the eagles a lot. to be even more fair, i wasn’t even a fetus when they were doing their thing…

    howard stern isn’t loathsome, he’s boring. that’s far worse.

    and the new nypress.com site design…now that’s fucking loathsome.

  21. I spent my formative years listening to lots of Steely Dan. I got drunk/stoned/laid to the music of Steely Dan. Because of this, I can objectively say that Steely Dan is not only great music, but it is better than any crap before or since. If you don’t like Steely Dan and are unable to come to the objective conclusion that it’s great music, it is merely because you lack and musical knowledge or refinement. In other words, you just don’t get it.

    Keep trying. Until you do, you have my pity and condescension.

  22. Eh, it’s one of those “free” “weekly” “alternative” newspapers. AKA: fifty pages of whining on the cheapest paper available.

    Good call on Alterman, tho.

  23. Why isn’t Hillary Clinton number one? I know she’s not a New Yorker, but that didn’t stop her from running for office there.

  24. Fuck Klosterman. That piece of shit poser wrote possibly the worst goddamn book about “heavy metal” ever.

  25. Those kralabarts at The NY Press make up entirely too many words to be taken seriously.

  26. I pegged Steely Dan 25 years ago as “elevator music for the terminally hip” but I may have been wearing a ramones T-dhirt at the time.

    I protest listing Allan “Bud” Selig as a NY’er. He is a Milwaukeean, through-and-through. MLB has only recently prevailed upon him to spend a decent amount of time at their Manhattan offices. He was much happier working out of offices in the old County Stadium, grabbing a hot dog at Kopp’s Custard stand than dining at some overpriced NY eatery.

    Kevin
    (has nothing against NYers. I were borned one, after all.)

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