New Editor-in-Chief Ian Murphy raps about The BEAST and more with contributor D. Armenta
Say, Mr. Murphy—can I call you Ian?
Of course, Mr. Murphy is my father’s name. [Insincere chuckle]
Is the Buffalo Beast dead, or what? First you stopped printing, then went to website, then all posts stopped. What’s going on?
The BEAST isn’t dead, but it is starving. It’s very difficult to maintain the financial viability of any media outlet, especially in the internet age, and our particular brand of vulgarity has never played well with advertisers. While our abject lack of operational capital has been apparent, well, forever, it never seemed to bother us. But this winter was a demoralizing time, for a bunch of reasons, and we basically just dropped the ball. However, as this sycophantic interview and the other fresh posts suggest, I have picked up that ball. And I hope to accomplish some kind of sports metaphor with said ball in the near future.
Talk about your rise through the ranks at the Buffalo Beast; how did you get the art and writing gig?
What an interesting question I asked you to ask me. Funny story: I was out in Seattle working and living in this dump colloquially referred to as the “Heroin Hotel,” I moved back to Buffalo and fell in love with The BEAST at a Chinese restaurant, so I just showed up at the office one day looking to contribute in any way I could. Taibbi, who founded the paper, was already long gone, so I had to deal with an evil Kurd called Uthman. His dad once acted as Saddam Hussein’s dentist, he told me, passing a makeshift aluminum pipe full of cheap reefer. Once Fallon, our publisher and resident nudist, confirmed that I wasn’t a serial killer, I became a delivery boy. Uthman clearly hated the art director at the time (a one-eared white guy with dreadlocks, who was always shouting “Holla!” for no apparent reason), so I learned the layout software and stole his job. Slowly, but surely, my idiotic prose was allowed to grace the pages of The BEAST as filler. I just kept plugging away and now I’m stealing Uthman’s job as editor-in-chief. I hope he still lets me use his car.
Now that you’re the editor-in-chief, what can we expect? Same format as the old Beast?
Yeah, more-or-less. You should expect more egregious grammatical errors, more original reporting and more personal attacks that border on libel. For instance, I have it on rather good authority that Roger Pielke Jr. smokes crack and molests small children.
Are any of the old writers going to participate, i.e. Matt Taibbi, that guy who did “Kino Korner”, Allison Kilkenny, the music review guy, Alan Uthman?
Yikes. I’m pretty sure Taibbi wishes we’d just go away. We might link to his articles now and then, but don’t count on Matt writing original BEAST content. That would be weird. I wish Michael Gildea (that guy who did “Kino Korner”) still wrote for us, but he quit out of frustration. Allison Kilkenny’s awesome. I don’t know if she’ll ever write for us again, but she’s awesome. And maybe she’ll write for us if I call her awesome one more time. She’s awesome. I suppose we’ll still have music stuff sometimes. And Uthman? Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit. If he can stop playing video games long enough to string a few sentences together, I’d gladly post his expert political analyses in exchange for the continued use of his car.
What are you wearing right now?
Uh… this (the stupid expression came with the jacket):
Where do you come up with ideas like dressing up as a clown in church on Easter, posing as a retarded guy to get an interview with Ken Ham, building a shit bomb to spray –Karl Rove, was it? –at a speech? Did you have any help, or did you think these up by yourself? Were you sober/straight or under the influence at the time?
In Buffalo, NY, where the downfall of American life has been apparent, for quite some time. But really, what an odd question. I mean, how do we think of anything? Junk just pops into my head, I usually run it by a trusted friend and if they think it’s a terrible idea, I go for it. The Easter thing was something I’ve just wanted to do for ever, the Creation “Museum” jape came to me while swimming and the Rove shit-sprayer thing was a colossal failure, which I thought of after watching a movie about Tesla. I wanted to invent something useful. If I remember correctly, all those pieces were conceived under the influence of coffee.
Any more covert ops, a la “Let there be retards”, in progress?
That’s classified information.
Have drugs ever enhanced your literary and artistic endeavors?
Yes, no and maybe. Some drugs, especially speed and opiates, help me write. Some drugs, like DMT or mushrooms, make for interesting subject matter or a fresh perspective. Pot, however, has a mostly deleterious effect on my creativity. I’d just say that drugs have altered my work, and since there’s no drug-free Murphy acting as an experimental control, it’s impossible to know whether it’s been for good or bad.
Ever been arrested? If so, for what?
Nope, though I look forward to it.
What was the scariest threat you got after writing “Fuck the troops”?
None of them were scary. Internet threats, no matter how violent, are typically hollow gestures. I had mostly positive feedback in real life. This one chick I met, nearly two years after writing that piece, recognized me and insisted I say something inappropriate. I was like, “Suck my dick!” She did. Ah, freedom of speech.
Talk about your first sexual experience.
Really? Why? Uh… I invented jerking off when I was in fourth grade — did the whole penis dry heave thing, for a while, but that’s probably not what you want to know. I lost my virginity to my high school sweetheart. Is that enough? Yes. Yes, it is.
How did you get to be so fearless? Were you born with it or did you develop it over time?
Come on. I’m not fearless. There’s a fine line between bravery, idiocy and just being a jerk. I’m mostly a stupid jerk, but when you’re producing any kind of “art” outside of the mainstream, there’s just nothing to lose, so you may as well get your kicks. My kicks usually involve an adrenaline payoff, which wouldn’t be possible, I don’t think, without some amount of fear. My biggest fear is coming across as an egomaniac, but as this interview clearly demonstrates, it’s a fear I’ve overcome.
Any final thoughts?
Yeah, um, in order to fulfill the BEAST’s potential I’m going to need help. So if there’s anybody out there, with a bit of wit or business sense, shoot me an email. World domination is the goal. Let’s make it happen, BEAST fiends.