Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Corsair Versus Larry Dobrow

The Corsair can take criticism with the best of them. If one dishes it out, one must be prepared to take the hits along the way. That's only fair. But someone named Larry Dobrow of MediaDailyNews took it to another level.

We need to discuss his little article, which starts as a review of Razor Magazine and then sort of singles me out with screaming caps and artless lines. Dobrow begins his one-man-media critique by opening, on Razor Magazine, that "at times it boasts the manic twitch of Tom Arnold after 18 Red-Bull-and-vodkas."

Charmed, I'm sure. Tom Arnold ... Red Bull Vodka's -- and the punchline is? Clearly, Dobrow is on a tear. He thinks he is, anyway. Or, maybe Dobrow is on a rapidly approaching deadline with a deficit of wit. Our gassbag continues, leaking, noxiously:

"Here's the thing, though: Razor doesn't need to try as hard as it does. For about 75 percent of the mag's May issue, one gets the sense that it's about to settle in comfortably between Maxim and GQ on the men's publishing food pyramid. But the other 25 percent... medic!"

That "25 percent," apparently boils down to my 1,000 or so words in the May issue. Mathematics not being Dobrow's forte, not when Dobrow's got an axe to grind, to wit:

"Take 'The Corsair,' a column by blogger dude Ron Mwangaguhunga."

"Blogger dude." (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment) The tone is set. The roles are cast in this ... bad Larry Dobrow operetta. The Corsair is "blogger dude," and Dobrow can hereafter be my sidekick, "Bubbles."

The 25 percent the aforementioned "Bubbles" says Razor needs to ditch is naught else but yours truly. Sour grapes? Sucky job? Hemmorroids? Who knows. Not I. Not, former Editor in chief of Macdirectory -- just ... "Blogger dude," (Averted Gaze) ladies and gentlemen of the jury. We'll presently proceed:

"In it, he ranks his top 10 women of the moment, referencing how Aisha Tyler 'fills out a bathing suit exquisitely' and how model Helena Christensen's face 'gets hotter and more interesting through the passage of time.'"

In The Corsair's defense, the other, oh, say, 987 words in the column are the stuff you have come to expect. Dobrow just zeroes in on his "25 percent," with maniacal glee, blind to the grand design. More bloviating:

"Honestly, I had to re-read it to see if I'd missed some blatant FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, THIS IS CLEARLY SATIRE notation, but none was forthcoming."

No, but forthcoming is a little piece of advice: turn down the volume, asshole. Pop a Klonopin, picklehead. All caps makes you look like an hysterical fool. All caps do not amplify the meaning of the sentence or the sentiment involved, as was your intention; all caps only draws attention to the lack of wit at your command. But Larry Dobrow has no "shame in his game":

"As a writer and a dude, I'm ashamed for both my profession and my gender."

As to the shame you profess to feel for your gender ... we will pass that over in considerable silence. We'll only say that such gender shame may color his observations on the genre of men's magazines. As to his proud claim that he is, in fact, a "dude," we'll let the dated quaintness of the term stand as a reminder that bad surfer movies do influence weak and rudderless minds.

In my article that -- on the whole -- was quite brimming with excellence, Larry Dobrow AKA "Bubbles," picked two of The Corsair's not-that-excellent lines (16 words in total) and makes them into all sorts of twisty shapes to the purpose of skewering The Corsair. (Did The Corsair spill a drink on you at a media party?) In the process, he has made an ass of himself.

What is the cause of Larry's obvious axe to grind? If "axework" is Larry's choice of arms, play on! But we think he'll find The Corsair's "Razor" sharper still. We all have our less-than-stellar moments, like this one that Mr. Larry Dobrow had in his review of Vanity Fair:

"...My horoscope informs me that in May, I'll be 'heading into uncharted territory without a Sherpa to guide [me].' Good thing I'm not planning on summiting Everest anytime soon."

Horoscope reviews? (Disgusted Gaze) This is supposed to be a media critique of Vanity Fair, my good man. Are they paying you by the word, Lar? Poor Larry Dobrow, paid to media navel gaze got caught contemplating "Uranus." (Averted Gaze)

That writing can only be properly construed as -- at best -- lazy, Mr. Taurus the Bull. At worst, that was Taurean bullshit.

Finally, Larry Dobrow reveals his odd personal animus (Did The Corsair interrupt you at a media panel?) never more clearly than in these telling lines:

"And yet Razor recovers from this grievous offense against the English language only a few short pages later. Flint Wainess invests his 'Breakup Guy' column with the self-deprecatory wit and self-awareness that Mwanga-whatever-his-name-is lacks."

"Mwanga-whatever-his name is." What is this, grade school? Larry Dobrow: Class dismissed.


Anonymous said...

He's really not fit to critique you. That's all there is to it.

And the gist of his argument is nonsensical. How would a magazine have any sort of broad appeal if it appealed 100% to one individual's taste? 75% sounds pretty ideal.
If he's claiming to have THE definitive taste of the young, straight, male demographic- yes, he is very much an ass.

The Corsair said...

Thanks for the comments, guys.

(S)wine said...

Yes, what everyone else has said. And, also...I know a couple of goombas in the Bronx who still owe me a favor from back in '89. But no. We, writers, can't possibly stoop this low. Can we? In any case, picking sixteen words out of your entries (which, as we fans know are carefully crafted and quite eloquently, and some would even say brilliantly written) and hanging an entire critique on that, pretty much discredits this man as a dependable caviller.

Rock on, blogger dude.

Anonymous said...

What an idiot, Ron. Too many critics are afraid to get called out. If he had any balls he'd come over here and defend himself.

For the record, I think your Razor columns have been excellent. It's one of the reasons why I switched out my FHM sub (gag) for a Razor sub. The magazine is on the rise. Richard Botto has done a great job in the editor's chair and he deserves credit for recognizing your talent. Keep it real, blogger dude.

The Corsair said...

Thanks all. I extend an invitation to Dobrow to come on here and say what he has to say and I will not censor a single word. We'll see if he does. I suspect that in the 10 years I've been in or around the perimeter of New York Media, me and Dobrow got into some sort of insignificant row -- or perhaps it is just a case of the green-eyed monster. The bottom line of the critique seemed to be: If Razor would just get rid of 25 percent (i.e Ron Mwangaguhunga's 1,000 word column) it could be a great magazine. Ridiculously personal, that. It smacks of axe to grind. We'll see if he pops in.

starzstylista said...

you know it's just your MANHOOD that threatens him, right? i mean you're legend (or legion), i can't remember which.

The Corsair said...

Damn my manhood. (The Corsair audibly sighs)It attracts such dubious media attention.

Anonymous said...

Larry Dobrow works for Maxim as well as MediaPost, so it's no surprise he'd bash Razor.

His articles are kinda funny sometimes:

Anonymous said...

Under all this self-obsessed 'cleverness', you have succeeded only in showing the world the depths of your insecurities. You seem oh so mad at Mr Dobrow, for what? He pointed out the simple fact, your piece was ordinary. Maybe you had a bad day, or that was as good as you get. Either way, respond in the only a profesional would...get better. Petty name calling does not make a writer. Try growing up

The Corsair said...

Please. Are you Larry Dobrow hiding behind anonymity? Or are you an acquaintance? Reveal thy name; come out, come out whjomever you are .... I gave Dobrow the opportunity to refute anything I wrote and promised I would print it verbatim -- AND give him the last word. He didn't respond (or are you doing so now, cloaked?)

Obviously you are responding at this late a date because you googled Larry Dobrow and got this and know him in some way. Admit it. Stop feigning objectivity.

He attacked me and, like the rough and tumble blogger that I am, I hit back. Hard. I'm old school that way. You don't fuck with me and my name in a quasi serious online media publication and walk away without knowing that you've been in a brawl.

And, as for "petty name calling," I, "anonymous," am not the one who began this little pissing contest with "Ron Mwuangawhatever." Think about that one. And, Anonymous: lose thyself.

Anonymous said...

"anonymous loose thyself" Is that what passes for wit in New York now? If you really want to know, I am not Larry Dobrow, I don't even live on the same continent as either of you. I just took the opportunity to comment on the self-obsessed rantings you call writing. It seems you didn't have an off-day with that Corsair piece, that is as good as it gets.
As far as being 'in a brawl', as I said before, grow up. You sound like the scared kid in the playground trying to talk himself up after the big boys have gone away.

The Corsair said...

OK, Friend-of-Larry-Dobrow. When you meet him next, or email him, tell him he is welcome to resume this online conflict with me anytime. My email is, and I'd love to revisit this. Since you want to divert attention to his calling me "Ron Mwuangawhatever," maybe he can tell me why as you called it "petty name calling" was relevant to a media criticism of my Razor article.

The Corsair said...

And, anonymous -- real name, please.

Anonymous said...

Do you really believe Dobrow is the only person on the planet who has ever had a poor opinion of your work. While such self-delusion is impressive, I have bad news for you. There is a world of people out here, and many reading your scribblings will be less than impressed, (unlike your little band of sycophants). I am not in a position to pass on messages to your other fans, but I will be sure to drop you a line when I am next in NY
Marcus - London

The Corsair said...

Again, no answer for the "Ron Mwuangawhatever." As for the proposition of dropping me a line next time you get to NY, please don't. This conversation has already gone on far too long.

Anonymous said...

I live for Larry's Magazine Rack articles. You guys need to chill out... realize they are mostly meant to amuse and not to directly criticize magazines or other writers. If you would read other articles by LD you would realize that. And WTF is Razer magazine anyway?

The Corsair said...

Please. Larry "Bitch" Dobrow made it quite personal, with everything from the deliberate misspelling of my name (which you studiously avoid) to basically telling Razor Magazine to fire me. But it is easy to be fearless when "anonymous", no?

Mart said...

I've been 'Dobrowed' too. It's not pleasant, you have my sympathies. (
It's hard when you put your heart and soul into something and then you just get someone nit-picking away (and talking utter bollocks), sigh.

Anonymous said...

I went to middle school and high school with Larry D. I see nothing has changed. I beat the crap out of him in the 8th grade because the little punk deserved it. He has a mouth with no punch to back it up.