News - Kevin Griffis

For rivaling the spinelessness of the politicians he's covered

This week, Creative Loafing takes the unusual step of bestowing the Scalawag title on one of its own: me, Kevin Griffis.

The shadowy group that uses its black arts to pick the Scalawag chose me for its dubious "honor" because I'm leaving my post as the paper's political reporter for a life in — surprise, surprise, everyone — politics.

The paper has a right to be angry. This is a crushing blow to Atlanta's venerable alt-weekly. More than Hollis Gillespie's weekly tales of dysfunction, Andisheh Nouraee's cheeky coverage of Atlanta society or Felicia Feaster's sharp-eyed criticism of the arts, people pick up Creative Loafing to read the genius that leapt from my fingers to this keyboard with such stunning regularity lo these three years. Once just a repository for concert listings and the odd movie review, I made the news section the first pages Georgia turned to each week when it picked up the state's most important paper. Needless to say, I drove circulation to stratospheric heights.

Faulkner-esque in ambition, Dickey-esque in lyricism and Russell-esque in sheer intellectual rigor, my political writing made me a titan among my peers, and not just in Atlanta or even the Southeast. Let's face it. I put this paper on the national map.

I was fawned over and feared by the left and the right, respectively, and there are politicians across this great land who will finally sleep tonight knowing that the most thorough and tough-minded journalist they ever crossed swords with is laying down his pen.

I clearly care nothing for the rest of the Loaf staff, for their well-being, indeed, for the paper's very financial survival. I'm mercenary scum, a gun for hire. And I pity the guy who's got to follow my footsteps, as well as the U.S. Senate candidate whose campaign I'm joining, because I know that this candidate will someday feel the pain and loss that Creative Loafing feels now. I'm a love 'em and leave 'em kinda guy.

In case you're wondering, I'm departing primarily because of my daughter. Politicians need babies to kiss, and I finally have one. (In fact, she's willing to freelance for a reasonable fee.)

But does the staff think otherwise? Do they believe I've let my success, of mythic proportion though it is, persuade me that I can make a difference on a political campaign? Do they fancy me a fool, one who hasn't learned anything about the cynicism of politics from my own reporting?

"Goodbye, Kevin," they're probably saying, "and good riddance." And a good riddance to them! It would take 10 reporters to replace me — and try as they might, they will fail!

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