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Everything wrong with publishing: American Purpose/Carolyn Stewart/Jeffrey Gedmin/Matt Hanson

Friday 12/23/22

One will remember--though only for this reason--the unhinged, unbalanced Matt Hanson, aka, Junior Colin. As a refresher, one only needs these two prior entries.

That is something else, is it not? What can one even say? Anyone who is aware of that behavior should be distancing themselves as much from the person behind it as possible. That's a dangerous person. Enough so that a couple people have said to me to be aware of my surroundings this Christmas, because this person may be back in the area, and they are obsessed. He signed up for this blog yet again, because he can't check his obsession. If there is anything else, it will go up on here.

But I'm going to do one of those things on here where I calmly state and show exactly what happened at a venue, in this case, American Purpose, where we will see bigotry, lies, envy, hate, and incompetence, directed against one person.

American Purpose is essentially The American Interest take 2. The American Interest folded in 2020. No less than thirty-six of my pieces appeared there, going back to 2008. These pieces were uniformly excellent, and covered, as I do, a great range of topics, with my trademark expertise.

Adam Garfinkle was the longstanding editor of The American Interest. He was gruff, not always consistent, but on the whole, you knew with whom you were dealing, and it was workable. He was pushed out and replaced by Jeffrey Gedmin, a man who is full of himself, and the worst kind of man to fit this bill; that is to say, a man of no real talents or intelligence.

He was rude to me from the start. Though I was a longstanding contributor, who'd done much work, and had stayed with the venue as payment rates declined, always giving my best, and work better than anything else that was run, he never once responded to a pitch from me. That's the level of treatment. There were two other editors who had stayed on, post-Garfinkle, who tried to keep things together, though it was obvious even from the outside looking in that this was a bad work environment under Gedmin. One of them left when he was able to. The other rode it out until the last.

Gedmin even refused to pay me a pittance for a last piece that had run. I had to reach out to the publisher, who ignored me. I had to reach out a second time--he lives in a mansion in Concord--and say that if he did not pay me the money they owed me, that we could document that with his name on this blog. What do you know--the check for the pittance then came.

American Purpose was launched, and it was essentially The American Interest all over again. Gedmin was the editor. A lot of the people were ported over. Seemingly everyone who had contributed for any amount of time--including Hanson, aka, Junior Colin, who as we've seen, stalks these pages, steals from them, has sent menacing, expletive-laden correspondence referencing the person who shot John Lennon, who began there in 2019, having gotten the idea to try from obsessing over me--was named a contributor editor. Save one person. Guess who that was? The person who did the thirty-six pieces going back to 2008.

I sent them an idea in the spring, and I was clearly handled by a woman named Michelle High who was lying to me. I know when I'm being handled. Just as I know that there is nothing I've ever done to these people. I have not down anything against them or to them. I have done no more in that regard than I have to my own mother. This is not just a fact, it's a truth. Were one to ask, "What did he do?" none of these people would be able to answer. Because there is nothing.

As I've said, and as one will see in that first blog entry about him, Hanson obsesses over these pages and me. He's oily and he will kiss the ass of someone he wants something from. Nothing he deserves because of merit.

A lot of times, these people just want someone to kiss their ass. They're not astute. If that is what they're getting, they're very easy to fool if it's someone equally untalented and equally like them. One could, for instance, kiss the ass of an editor and adopt the pose of someone who knows about jazz and fool that editor, because that editor likely knows nothing about jazz. Bad people of no ability are often able to take in other bad people of no ability. And time is short--insofar as how people live their lives and think--and very little is vetted. Space has to be filled, and frankly, there's often very little in place, standards-wise. They just want it done so they can go do whatever. And if that person isn't a threat to them because they kiss their ass, pose a certain way, and are either on their level or below it, then that's who they favor.

Having editors in common, I've treated someone like Junior Colin as what they are. And that is, nothing. I don't bring them up with these editors. I didn't--until this one example that you are about to see--send them the links to those blogs, which are shocking. Indefensible. The behavior of someone unstable. Which no one can defend. Imagine if I did that? What do you think would happen then?

I don't go into this with any of these editors, because this is someone not worth any of my time or attention, and I'm not seven-years-old.

Anyone who reads these pages knows how it works with me. Here is a good guy who is better at writing by an immeasurable amount, who only answers to the work, who conducts himself with the utmost professionalism, and who only wants it to be about the work. I don't want to tongue you, I don't want to be your friend, I don't want to be your enemy. It's work. And it should be a level playing field. If we become friends, that's cool. I'm a great friend to have. And I welcome friends.

But if you screw with me--as this blog also makes plain--and you discriminate against me, and you conspire with the people in your diseased sinecure to suppress me, to take money from me, to curtail me, to suppress my reach, to attempt to stop me from getting to where I am going to get, in acts of abject bigotry, you will go up on these pages.

And you will then have a problem. Of your own making. And whether you do what you're about to see here, or you ignore me because that's how you're trying to suppress and discriminate against me, when what I do crushes, in quality, whatever everyone else is doing for you, and we all know it, you will go up on these pages. You will keep going up on them until there's accountability and justice. Whatever form those things take. You make it right. I don't require an explanation nor apology. I simply care about the work and the work being treated as it deserves. That is a possible form. You're removed from your job. That's another. Whatever it may be. You don't work again.

Here is the pitch that the leading expert and writer on jazz sent to American Purpose a little while back:

Hello there,

Had an idea for January, if you're up for a look. My work has appeared just about everywhere, I'm the author of eight books, and I was a long-time contributor to The American Interest.

Eighty years ago, on January 23, 1943, Duke Ellington and his orchestra performed at Carnegie Hall. Is this the most culturally important concert ever given in the United States? It's definitely in the conversation. Ellington had three major live appearances that say a lot of what there is to say about him. By no means the totality, but if you understand those dates, their artistic utility, and their context, one has a conception not only of Ellington's significance, but that of jazz in America.

There's the 1956 Newport appearance, which was the career re-starter. We have the Fargo recording from 1940, which presents the Blanton-Webster band as the ultimate touring unit, out in frigid North Dakota. But this Carnegie Hall date is more front and center, if you will. High profile, and a date the Duke would have himself counted as a night of nights. It's the only complete performance we have of "Black, Brown and Beige."

How many compositions are more integral to our country's musical history--and its history-history--than this extended suite? There is nothing that better attests to Ellington's brilliance as a writer. The piece is akin to Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit" and Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come," but people also didn't know quite what to make of it. No one in jazz wrote this way--it was as if Ellington was in the realm of classical composers, only this was still jazz through and through; pure, socially conscious, endlessly inventive jazz. He had essentially invented a new form of writing, and then revealed that form on the Carnegie Hall stage.

This is a big deal, a Black band--a Black orchestra, in essence--playing at Carnegie Hall. Ellington and his unit played there in the years following (and were back at the end of 1943), but this is the watershed moment, and it's also the best music from the assorted Carnegie Hall dates. We have the spiritual and the secular up on stage in tandem. It's all just so thrillingly unclassifiable, really. Modern and historical, and futuristic as well.

The band is unbeatable. What tends to happen is the Blanton unit gets a lot of the focus, which is fine--Blanton was Blanton. This line-up, though, could hang with that one, or anybody's band, ever, period. Junior Raglin in the post-Blanton bassist, and what an under-sung figure he is. I think it's a bit like Yaz following Ted Williams. Yaz was Yaz, and Raglin was Raglin.

One builds a jazz collection, and there are records that must be included from the drop. The Armstrong Hot Fives and Sevens, Kind of Blue, the Parker Savoy and Dial material, the Ella Fitzgerald songbooks, A Love Supreme. We can put this set in that Valhalla set, and I don't think people think of it that way, often because they don't know it. (Sometimes that's for as simple as reason as it gets lost in the crowd of Ellington-Carnegie Hall records, as the man was no stranger to that joint over the rest of the decade.)

But this is as core as core gets. I want to make that case, and also set the scene, and take readers back to that night, and through this music. I think Ellington himself would have counted this as the most important night of his musical life. He wasn't going to screw that up, nor was his band. They were going to be amazing, and they were.

Here is what managing editor Carolyn Stewart then wrote to me. I hadn't pitched her. That was a general address, which I rarely use, but as I said, I knew Michelle High to be a bigot, and I wasn't keen to go back to her. I knew, pretty much, how this was all going to go, and that it would then all be going up on these pages. But I will still see anything through. I will give anyone a chance. The managing editor usually sends you a contract, payment information. They have no real authority as an editor. So when you see a managing editor as the point person on something like this, as Stewart is here, you know you're dealing with a slipshod, poorly run operation.

Here was what Carolyn Stewart eventually sent me as a response:

Thanks for reaching out. Apols for the delayed reply. We're interested, sounds like a fascinating topic. 1,200 words by January 16?

I see that you've written for a wide range of audiences, and so this probably doesn't even need to be said, but please imagine that you are writing for an audience that doesn't know a thing about jazz and that is, at best, apathetic. I'm exaggerating, but given that we're a geopolitics-first kind of publication, this approach will help this piece really land with our readers.

What you outline here sounds like an excellent piece:

"This is a big deal, a Black band--a Black orchestra, in essence--playing at Carnegie Hall. Ellington and his unit played there in the years following (and were back at the end of 1943), but this is the watershed moment, and it's also the best music from the assorted Carnegie Hall dates. We have the spiritual and the secular up on stage in tandem. It's all just so thrillingly unclassifiable, really. Modern and historical, and futuristic as well."

Does that work for you?

Many thanks,


"Apols." You like that? This was Tuesday. Here's what I said back:

Excellent. I'm about to give an interview on the radio in a couple minutes to a general audience on jazz! I always write with the general audience in mind. No jargon, no readers left behind. If you type in my name and jazz on Google, you'll see what I mean. I'll write the piece in the next little bit. I think I have something else from you so I'll take a gander at that, too. (Also: I wouldn't say you are exaggerating, or at least not by much. Your cited approach is a good one, I've found, in my years of writing about jazz. Or anything, really, for that matter.) Many thanks.

I knew this was going to be coming in the email I mentioned which I'd yet to read. And so it was:

Hi Colin - I might have spoken too soon. Our editorial schedule is in the air at the moment, and if it's not too much trouble, I'll circle back with a finalized answer in the near future. Many thanks and apologies, again.


And just as I knew what was coming, so do you know what was coming next. Because you read these pages. And you know what these people are about and what they are doing.

Hi Colin - as I feared, I spoke too soon. Our content schedule is swamped going into the new year, and we're going to have to hold off for now. Your pitch is an interesting one - I know it'll find a home elsewhere and I look forward to reading it when it does. Many thanks for reaching out, and sorry for my miscommunication.



Just as you also likely knew what would then be forthcoming from me, and that nothing would be forthcoming from her or them--save that Hanson would be signing up for this blog yet again, as creepy as that is--because they are guilty. I know it, they know it, you know it. We all know it. These are bigots. This is discrimination. These are bigots who have been caught discriminating. And when you look at the context--the work, the amount there had been at the previous publication that this one grew out of--and my personal conduct, which has always been unimpeachable with The American Interest and American Purpose--it's even worse, isn't it? Even more incriminating.

Only that's not true at all, is it? Do you really think I don't know what happened here?

I have a blog that documents discrimination and bigotry in publishing. You know, for instance, this unstable and unprofessional person:

Someone came to you and said, "Not that guy," and you have tried to pass it off with what I see below. And now the truth will be seen by many people.

You have someone who did nothing wrong, has done nothing wrong to anyone there, who is a better writer than anyone you have, who is the leading expert on myriad subjects, with the track to support that, who wrote for a long time for The American Interest, which is what your venue essentially is, who you are openly discriminating against.

As many people will now know.

As for Hanson: I don't necessarily know that he said anything. I know he does. That is the nature of obsession and envy. For all I know, they could be so dumb that they believe that this person who knows nothing about jazz should oversee jazz pieces. Contributing editor is normally a nothing title. They almost always have no dealings with the running of a magazine. The most they do is hook up their friends with that magazine by putting them in touch with someone who does help run the magazine and vouching for them. But you know what? When you do things as disturbing as this person has done, you lose all benefit of the doubt. You end up on here, because that's the situation that that person has created.

It's all shocking, isn't it? How does anyone justify acting like these people have acted? It's impossible for anyone to see this as anything other than what it plainly is. And to them, I am the bad guy. Think about that. Like I said, it's almost unbelievable, but there it is, the straight-up facts and truths.

As for Gedmin, he was allowing all of this to happen. It's his watch, his say-so.

Let me explain something else, too, for people who don't think in terms of word counts and the terms of publishing. A 1200 word web piece is nothing. That's about a half hour's worth of work here. It's not something that is a wrench in any editorial calendar, unless we're talking that day, or maybe that week--say, if weekend coverage for the Christmas weekend was already in place. It's a non-issue--in other words, this is a bad attempt at a lie that would not have tricked me twenty years ago, let alone now--that this simple, unintelligent woman is trying to get me to buy, because someone said to her, "We hate him! Now you must make him go away!" and she's so pathetic that what was she going to do? Say, "Why do you hate him? What did he do to you? He seems great. And he's an amazing writer."

She wasn't going to do that. She was going to try to lie to me. And that is not going to work out for you the way you want it to. Just like this didn't work out the way any of these people wanted it to.

The only thing one can do, and be in the clear, is do the right thing. Also consider that it's more important for these people to hate me, and discriminate against me, than it is to have the outstanding piece for their venue, which they would have paid a very, very, very low figure for. Like, barely enough to go to Trader Joe's once.


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