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LA to Arthur Magazine: "Can We Have Our Ten Dollars Back?"

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Thu, Jul 24, 2008 at 12:28 PM

Well, we lost another one to New York. Damn it! And such a pleasant guy!

LA Times' August Brown published an incredibly revealing glimpse into the mind of Arthur Magazine publisher/editor Jay Babcock, who called Los Angeles a "psychic death hole" after relocating to Brooklyn last month. "New York is the last stand for culture and the arts in America, the rest of it has devolved into a wasteland," he explained, continuing that in Los Angeles "all the smart and creative people there are [involved in] new ways to do social networking or figure out what YouTube video is going to get the most views. That isn’t culture, it’s pure pandering."

I, for one, think it kind of sucks that he chose to go on this tirade and announce his move to New York after he appealed a month ago to the general public for help getting his publication out of debt. If he felt so strongly about his hatred for everything LA represents, why not put it out there with the appeal and be honest about his intentions: "I'm moving to New York and need help getting a fresh start with the magazine -- And LA sucks." (A magazine that re-launched, ahem, less than a year ago.) Nice to know that so many people, presumably at least a few Angelenos, generously dug into their pockets to help Babcock retire his debt so that he could start anew in New York.

From a purely financial point of view, what he said was insane. A big chunk of Babcock's readership is in LA, and not a few of its advertisers. He wants me, who loves his magazine, to get enthused about supporting the endeavor when I'm among the masses he so obviously counts as loathsome. (Literally: he dissed the Weekly.) I'll read his free publication, and no doubt continue to buy stuff from the labels that advertise in Arthur, but am less interested in actively helping to get his cultural bandwagon out of its rut.

The comments section is priceless, filled with proud Angelenos and Babcock/NYC supporters wrestling over the long-running, and, honestly, tiresome, bicoastal rivalry:

"For someone who so miserably failed to find culture in Los Angeles, I’m glad Jay Babcock has chosen to relocate to Brooklyn. It is the obvious choice for someone with an obvious point of view. I hope his complete lack of understanding of how the world works serves him well in Brooklyn with all the other fashion-forward suburban refugees."

And:

"…and why is it exactly those “Brentwood liberals who spend all day blogging on the Huffington Post” should have felt obligated to support you? What on earth do these people have you’ve stereotyped here have to do with Arthur? Your interview just seems like a pathetic example of masking an inability to take responsibility for a lack of achievement with a “this party’s so lame - I’m outta here” smugness."

And:

"I left L.A. two years ago for the Big Apple and couldn’t agree more with Jay. Everything about the “City of Angels” is on-the-surface Hollywood spectacle. There is little if any intellectual or cultural substance. Case in point, L.A.’s crowning achievement is Hollywood –- a piss-stained, trash filled landfill of pathetically unrealistic dreams."

And my favorite:

"hey Jay can you please take devendra banhart with you? thanks"

In this clip, the horse represents Arthur Magazine, and the ground represents Los Angeles and all of its people.

Good luck in Utopia, Jay.

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