Friday, February 19, 2010

Pasadena Area Anarchists Condemn the Pasadena Weekly & Commend the Sierra Madre Weekly

In the days leading up to the recent Sierra Madre Anarchist Picnic (February 13th, 2010), Pasadena area anarchists were both frustrated and surprised to see a variety of newspaper-published announcements of the event. Of particular interest were the published announcements included in the Pasadena Weekly (Feb. 11 2010, Vol. 30, No. 6 issue) and the Sierra Madre Weekly (Thursday Feb. 11 - 17, Vol. XV, No. VII issue) shown below:

(Pasadena Weekly, Pg. 29,  front page of the Arts Section under the "Get Your Own" Column)

(Pasadena Weekly, Pg. 33, under the Calendar listing section for Saturday)

(Sierra Madre Weekly, Pg. 3, top-left of the right-hand page)

According to organizers of the Anarchist Picnic who informed me of the issue, they had originally e-mailed every local newspaper outlet to publish their event as a normal event listing complete with the event details and description. "About a week or two before the event we decided to promote this locally as much as possible. Not only did we try and put up a lot of fliers but we also contacted the local press", said Isabella, one of the main organizers. They received no response except from the Pasadena Weekly who asked for pictures of similar events so they could run a spotlight of the event, in addition to the calendar listing. "We were really happy when we found out about that. Skeptical, of course, but pretty ecstatic."

They submit a couple pictures from the recent Los Angeles Anarchist Bookfair and waited for the next issue of the Pasadena Weekly to come out. When it did, the misrepresentation of anarchism and the rewording of the event description infuriated them. "It wasn't too surprising, but come on...A calendar listing!? That pissed us off! We looked at every other spotlight on that same page and every event listing in the calendar section, and yeah, you could tell they had fun with some of the descriptions but they didn't mess with the message. They basically played us as fools."

In response, Isabella called up the Pasadena Weekly and tried to find out who was responsible for the editing. "I wanted to find out who exactly was responsible for what happened and they wouldn't really tell me. I got into a heated discussion, chewed them out a bit, but in the end they wouldn't really tell me. I find out who the editors in charge of those sections were and I talked to some of them but all they would basically say was 'we don't know how this happened. write us a letter and we'll print it.'"

And that's exactly what they did. As a response they contacted anarchists in Pasadena to write a letter on behalf of Pasadena Anarchists, explaining to them the whole situation and the organizers themselves decided to write one of gratitude to the Sierra Madre Weekly.

"As soon as we dealt with the Pasadena Weekly issue, we found a copy of the Sierra Madre Weekly a few days before the Picnic. We were really excited to see that the paper, one in our town, decided to print the event as a very short article without touching the message."

The letters have yet to be printed as they have just been sent out. Updates will be provided as they come.

Below is a transcript of both letters:

" An Open Letter to the Pasadena Weekly & Its Readership

This letter is directed particularly to Carl Kozlowski & any other staff responsible for the obnoxiously ignorant & rude editing & comments added to the Anarchist Picnic event listing for the February 11th, 2010, Volume 30, Number 6 issue of the Pasadena Weekly.

For those unaware, this event was submitted to be published in the Calendar section by anarchists organizing the event. It was published on page 33, albeit edited to include a snarky comment. Furthermore, the anarchists were e-mailed to submit pictures so the event could be
spotlighted in the Arts section under the "Get Your Own" column on page 29. The pictures were provided yet when the spotlight was published, the description of the event was mangled & barfed on.

In all seriousness, who does that? Who takes a CALENDAR EVENT listing & twists the message of the event, defecating on the description? Why, if they had done a simple Google search of Anarchism, they might have discovered that anarchism is merely a set of ideas for the complete social, political, economic & spiritual emancipation of humanity - NOT "disorder & chaos". Perhaps then, they might have withheld their grossly barbaric comments. But maybe we're being too optimistic.

Regardless, prior to this dilemma we respected the Pasadena Weekly & were gravely disappointed when we discovered the debacle.

Carl, we want you & your colleagues to have fun with the paper, but please don't embarrass yourselves. Maybe you should take a tip from the Sierra Madre Weekly. They proudly posted the event without meddling the message, taking a bold stand to publish such "dangerous" "chaotic" ideas of freedom.

Pasadena Anarchists"

"An Open Letter to the Sierra Madre Weekly and its Readership

We would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude for the Sierra Madre Weekly publishing the Sierra Madre Anarchist Picnic in the Thursday, February 11th - 17th 2010, Vol XV, No VII issue.

We have to admit, we were unsure whether you would take such a bold move publishing an event that stands for such subversive ideas of freedom, liberty and autonomy. We submit the same event to be published in the Pasadena Weekly and though it was included twice in a copy (February 11th 2010, Vol 30, No 6), they made a complete mockery of the event.

Nevertheless, we were surprised and ecstatic to see the event published and hope you will publish other Sierra Madre anarchist events in the future.

Many thanks,
Sierra Madre Anarchists"

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