Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Austinist censorship?

I've complained about SXSW before - and apparently I'm not the only one.

There's a note from the editor saying they pulled an unfavorable piece about and old rich dude down here who apparently leaned on the bosses at Austinist. It included some damning evidence from the columnist, who says he was an eye-witness to what was probably a federal crime:

While Mr. Black is no doubt emotionally shielded by such complaints, I cannot express how offensive I find this. Why? Well, first a quick confession: Despite this column's opening, I have actually met Louis Black. Not that he talked to me. I was leaning against a wall, outside a Red River bar, weighing my odds of hailing a cab amid the Sx tempest. I'd been chatting with the Sx door girl, when suddenly this sweaty old man who looked like Bukowski's little brother shuffled up in a wrinkled guayabera holding a bulging bank bag, escorted by a uniformed Austin police officer. He grabbed the cash from the till, hastily checked the girls' people counter, and then shuffled off to the next honey pot.

I was awed that Big Man collected the door money. That a head of the organization, one that depended upon the hard work of volunteers, would personally ensure the take. Then it occurred to me: at the height of Sx, when so many high-profile shows and parties were just hitting their climax, one could easily discern the priorities of the festival's organizers, simply by pin-pointing the location of their most public face. And that place was, apparently, collecting the cash.

And that's when I learned the true meaning of SXSW.

my comment:

let's see if this comment gets deleted, too.

well, i didn't read the article until just now - it's still up:

but, why did you really pull it?

i mean, we know why - just don't lie to us. wtf? are your readers a bunch of imbeciles? do you have that much contempt for us?

if that Louis Black dude - or whatever rich, fat, white, old guy - is skimming cash out of the registers to keep it out of the hands of the IRS, then don't you think that's something Austinist readers should know? or do we have to go to a real newspaper for real news?

just asking.

so, i'm not sure what to make of it, if anything at all, but it does seem fishy. It's one thing for the US government or GoDaddy or whoever to censor, but Austinist and the entire Gothamist network?

and if this story was actually able to make it to the web, did the editors not do their jobs? or is the columnist just too powerful? there's definitely some power struggling going on there. and what stories are being spiked on a regular basis? has this rich, old, fat dude had other stories spiked?

the whole thing is definitely a bit off - definitely pathetic - and makes gothamist and austinist and the rest of the -ist network look really bad.

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