News - The Ombudsman is Dead

Long live the new ombudsman - it could be you!

We've gotten a great response since we hired Reeves Jackson as our "ombudsman," a fancy word for a columnist who critiques his or her own paper.

Loads of liberals have written to tell us they're appalled to find a right-wing ranter in our pages. Conservatives are thrilled that someone in CL is actually excoriating CL. I just think he's funny.

But there's something we haven't told you: "Reeves" is sort of a pseudonym, which was beginning to bug me. So I wrote him this e-mail ...
?Dear "Reeves,"

I regret that this is the first time we've exchanged e-mails because I'm about to unload on you: I think we made a mistake when we hired you.

I don't mean that I want to bag your column. I kind of like your column. I do think you say a lot of dumb shit - stringing together insults as if they're witty, calling people names, etc. As one of our staffers said, "It's like he's on the playground calling people 'doo-doo head.'"

But that's the fun of it: Having a critic who really hates us and who says things that are way over the top is entertaining. Plus, you've scored a few good points about our own hypocrisy and political correctness.

The problem is that, when we hired you, I agreed to allow you to disguise your identity, by using a name you usually don't use in the real world. And you're disguising your identity while you criticize people who have the guts to put their names and, in some cases, their faces in the paper.

That was a mistake on my part. Columnists who criticize other people - even who criticize our other columnists - should put their names behind their words. So I guess I goofed in allowing you basically to wimp out.

I'm writing because I'd like you to use your real name and your actual face in your column from now on.


Ken Edelstein

?"Reeves" wrote this back ...

I appreciate your position but here's mine, as I explained ... before we got started.

I'm a [BLACKED] at a mid-size [BLACKED OUT]. I simply cannot reveal my identity for reasons that should be obvious. The [BLACKED OUT] and our clients just might object mightily to some of my comments - I can't afford to put my job on the line. I'd go public in a minute if I wasn't in this profession.

I admire CL's courage in running the column and I love doing it. Please understand my situation - is some compromise possible?


[BLACKED] a/k/a Reeves

P.S. I appreciate your candid comments about the column itself.
?So I wrote "Reeves" one more time ...

Thanks for your quick response. The problem is that other writers put their names on the line and then are being hammered by someone who won't use his real name or show his face. Then, the other writers ask me, "How's this fair?" And I don't have a good answer for them.

In a column like this - where all you're bringing is your wit and perspective - it just seems fair to even the playing field.

?And then "Reeves" wrote this ...

I've made my position clear on why I cannot reveal my identity. If the other writers can't fathom my reasoning, then so be it.

Pull the plug. May Creative Loathing R.I.P.

Good day and good luck.

[BLACKED] a/k/a Reeves (Deceased)
?We went back and forth a bit more after that, but the upshot is that "Reeves" and I have hit an impasse. And so, after just three columns with our new ombudsman, we're looking for another person to fill his right-footed shoes - someone who will sign his or her real name to the column.

We don't want a balanced analyst. We want someone who thinks we're a bunch of commie blowhards. We want someone who will eloquently excoriate us. We want someone who will express rage in our pages. Yeah, we want someone who will Hannitize us.

Do you think we're full of crap? Great! Then write a 600-word critique of this week's paper. You don't have to write about every last detail. But do tell us if you think we've shown that we're a bunch of biased fruitcakes. Go ahead: Unload all your ammo.

Then e-mail your column to ken.edelstein@creativeloafing.com. Put the word "ombudsman" in the subject line. Maybe - just maybe - we'll pay you to be a hater.

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