Friday, March 15, 2013

Newspapering Is a Business: The Death of the Legendary Boston Phoenix:

There was the rail-thin cop reporter who cursed like a sailor and left work daily with the janitor, a cartoon of a Boston sports fan who sold pot while he emptied trash cans. The prototypical vampiric music editor who was immeasurably aloof and, pretty much, proudly, a giant know-it-all raving asshole. The bitterly meticulous arts editor, a man who, it was widely reported by the males on staff, would mutter "motherfucker" violently to himself at the urinal, a man who once broke down into a high-pitched screeching fit because someone had absconded his veggie-burger sandwich from the communal fridge.

And there was Clif Garboden. Until 2009, Clif was the Phoenix's senior managing editor, and he had been on staff for more than 30 years. He sat in a corner of the Phoenix newsroom, hunched at his computer with the posture of a question mark. His face had no angles. He wore sweaters over collared shirts and khaki pants. He enjoyed smoking and grumbling. His 1989 Buick Park Avenue, which he bought for $6000 with 43,186 miles on the odometer, was named Jerome. (I know this because he devoted an entire essay to the car.) He once received a death threat from a mime.