THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
Kevin Cullen

I'm a waste of this space

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Kevin Cullen
May 29, 2008

You'll have to excuse me today. It is very difficult to type through all these tears. You see, Boston magazine says I'm not tough enough to be a metro columnist.

It's only a matter of time before the boss appears at my desk and has me escorted from the building. I'd jump out the window, but none of the windows in the newsroom opens.

If you haven't read it - and unless you've gotten your hair cut or gone to the dentist recently, you probably haven't - Boston magazine says neither I nor my colleagues Adrian Walker and Yvonne Abraham have the mettle to be good columnists. Apparently we don't do enough outrage and are in the tank with the powers that be.

A couple of months ago, I got a phone call from a nice young man who said his name was John Gonzalez. He said he was a senior writer for Boston magazine. I congratulated him on this remarkable achievement and then he asked me some questions.

Mr. Gonzalez informed me that some people think I'm too busy comforting the afflicted to be any good at afflicting the comfortable. I asked who these people might be and he said he couldn't tell me. His article included the opinion of an unnamed person who thinks most of what I write is "crap." Had he bothered to ask, I could have provided Mr. Gonzalez with a list of people quite willing to go on the record and say I'm useless. They're called my friends.

My favorite part of the article was when Mr. Gonzalez explained how one of his colleagues - alas, again, no name - has devised a system whereby points are awarded when a mentally retarded person, or the Red Sox, or the North End, is mentioned in a column. This is a very, very clever device to suggest I write about the same things all the time. I have written two columns about mentally retarded people, but one was about a terminally ill, mentally retarded Red Sox fan who lives in the North End with her mother, and that got the most points. Wow. I can only dream of having the kind of in-your-face edginess possessed by that unnamed person at Boston magazine.

I can't say I've read Boston magazine very closely in recent years, but they were kind enough to send me a free copy of the current issue, and thumbing through its glossy pages, it seems it is indeed indispensable reading if you're in the market for an overpriced meal or a face lift.

The magazine used to publish an annual "Best and Worst" issue. But somebody in the front office with good eyes noticed the ad book was getting thin, so they jettisoned the "worst" awards. It was pure genius. Now none of the restaurants and beauty salons that are potential advertisers gets offended. And, before you conspiracy theorists get all worked up, it is pure coincidence that many of the businesses that get "best" awards advertise in Boston magazine.

Being called soft by Boston magazine is like being called fat by Carmen DiNunzio, the 400-pound Mafia boss. Being lectured on the fine points of newspaper writing by someone who, when he's on the radio, insists on being called Gonzo, is like having Kevin Garnett give you tips on hair care. And Boston magazine pontificating gravely on what they see as the shrinking relevance of the Globe is just plain ironic.

Or is it oxymoronic? I can never keep those two things straight.

I'm sure there are any number of people at Boston magazine, or J.J. Foley's, or the Malden Elks, who could do better than me if they had my job - but, well, they don't. As for Gonzo, we have a word in our business for those of little experience and less accomplishment who sit in smug judgment of their elders.

But, frankly, I'm too much of a lady to say it.

Kevin Cullen is a sorry excuse for a Globe columnist. He can be reached at cullen@globe.com, but why anybody would want to reach him is beyond us.

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