Last Word: Much Bado About Garbage

A lot of people ask/tell me:

“What’s it like being the Editor of JUICE? What’s it like being the voice for the new generation? Do the kids really look to JUICE for the word? It’s been like 10 years, man. And I know that there isn’t any substitute but don’t you think you’ve grown distant to the new scene?

“Can you interview my band? Can you review my new single/mix? Can you interview my friend’s band? Do you wanna come to our gig? Do you wanna come to our new club night? Are you coming to the launch of our new creative/art/music/café/cupcake/LSD space?

“Have you checked your e-mail? Did you receive my invitation? Are you coming to my event? Are you coming to my event? ARE YOU COMING TO MY EVENT???

“Oh… why not? Why can’t you come? But generic untalented celebrities will be there! And hot blogger babes! Bloggers are the new celebrities! Wooohoooo! Why don’t you come to my event? Got free food wan. And free flow. I know you like to drink, Ben. Call your friends to come along. Call all of them! Why don’t you come with your friends? WHY DON’T YOU COME?!!!!

“You have to go, it’s a client’s event. You have to go, he/she’s a big star! Have you done the interview? How was the interview? How was he? Is he still cute? Does her boobs look bigger in real life?

“What do you think of Skrillex? You don’t? Why not? Dubstep is big now, Ben! You can’t deny the future! You should stop listening to Iggy Pop or anything circa ‘69-‘71…

“Can you feature my music video on your site? Can you list my event? Can you promote it? Can you please share this with your readers on Facebook and on Twitter? CAN PROMOTE AH?

“How come you get to travel overseas so much? You must be living the life? Eh, no need to work, meh? No need to put out your magazine?

“Ben, why don’t you have a personal Twitter account? Why don’t you have a blog? Why aren’t you on FB more often? Why don’t you have a girlfriend (anymore)? Why?”

Well, I’ll tell you why. Being an Editor is like being a Garbage Collector sometimes. No matter what, there’s always more work to do. People are just going to throw out more trash. It’s their nature. Trash that you’ll have to sort through and arrange so that everything gets disposed or recycled efficiently. As an Editor, you treat articles, press releases, event info and invitations like garbage. And no matter what, they keep coming in and you need to keep clearing them.

The urban public will always want to know what’s going on, for real, and it’s your duty to deliver this. In the process, Editors have to make sure that there are no embarrassments to their publications and teams because, like it or not, you as Editor are the final gatekeeper.

No doubt, Writers have a lot of work to do and mistakes are bound to happen – grammatically, factually, in the layout and controversially, in text or pictures. But you are the Goalkeeper. You are da Man. Or da Wo-man. And when someone scores a goal, you will be the FIRST to be blamed by your peers, clients and readers. Everyone will abandon you. Very different from before, when they were all sucking yer bawls…

Suddenly, everyone will have the Superpower of Hindsight and they will all judge you and tell you what you did wrong. They will not blame anyone else except you… No, not Erykah Badu –America’s un-opinionated stinkheart. No blame will be cast upon her. No, not the record label who sent you that blasphemous picture in the first place. No, not even the organiser or the owners of your publication. No one will step up or back you up. Expect no cavalry to come to your cause. Even if it was an honest mistake, you are alone.

Just you, Editor. They want your decapitated head to roll on the floor. You and no one else. They blame you.

Which is why I’m writing this Last Word alone. And why I will be alone for a very long time…