If you’ve been waiting for decent investigative journalism to catch up with Ryan Boudinot and Stranger editor Christopher Frizzelle, your wait is over. Read Seattlish.
Here are some excerpts:
Frizzelle has doubled down on his support [of Boudinot, over the best interests of Seattle’s lit community], running what Salon writer Laura Miller called “a ridiculously self-congratulatory follow-up” and then another one yesterday, which announced gleefully that Boudinot was in talks to get his own Fantagraphics imprint and oh by the way, his article and refusal to apologize for it has essentially dissolved City of Lit, whose board asked Boudinot to apologize or step down and, when he would not, had “shuttered.”
Boudinot defended his decision in the way that all white dudes ever do (see: the myriad accounts of sexual assault and abuse within the alt lit community that were met with “eugh! Free speech!”) — by claiming it would be “censorship” to apologize….
One [former Seattle City of Literature] board member, who asked not to be named (because that’s how awful this whole thing has become), noted that mostly, they just wanted him to separate his writing and involvement with the Stranger from his role as ED.
“We had no problem with [Boudinot] right to speak his mind, but we did have a problem with him speaking as the executive director of an organization that’s supposed to be pro-writing-education,” the source said. “We wanted him to make a distinction between his role as ED of Seattle City of Lit and as a writer, because that interview with [Frizzelle] made it sound like the piece was written by him in his capacity as Executive Director.”
As the board became more concerned, Ryan (and Frizzelle) continued to dial up the drama. At one point, there were even rumblings that the City of Seattle would not support a 2015 bid — which they need to do — if Ryan was at the helm….
He is now a divisive character, and the Stranger/Frizzelle’s coverage of the issue had a not-small something to do with that. And instead of stepping down and letting City of Literature continue without him, he dug in his heels and tanked the whole damn thing….
[T]he Stranger has a leadership problem.
In an alternate universe, the Stranger would align, instead, with the literary community, and with City of Lit, calling out a pissy white guy whose foot-stomping has robbed our town of a pretty cool thing.
In an alternate universe, the Stranger wouldn’t joyously dance upon the grave of City of Lit, touting the achievements of the man who let it die. They would investigate what else had happened, they would talk about how, with APRIL coming up next month, Seattle is still A city of literature, but no longer one with major international support. They would publish other sides of the story, like the side of literally anyone not on the side of Ryan Boudinot / anyone on the side of City of Lit who we know for a fact have reached out to the Stranger….
But they are not doing that thing, because there is no one left at the paper to stand up to the strong opinions of Christopher Frizzelle.
There are some very, very talented writers and reporters who are great at their beats. But several are new to the city, and no one’s beat is literature anyone. And, as we at Seattlish know first-hand, no one wants to lose their job in a market that sucks for young journalists. This is not a climate for young reporters to raise their hands and say “wait, are we serving the city with this?”
Last night, Frizzelle removed any doubt of the paper’s alliances, tweeting “#TeamRyan.”
No one responded.
Team Ryan, it seems, is the team that doesn’t care if Seattle has programs and cool international sponsorship as we try to become a more recognized literary city.
READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE AT SEATTLISH