Category Archives: Satire

Downtown Charlottesville’s Leading Public Intellectual

We’re all guilty of taking ourselves a little too seriously around these parts; not just, but in Charlottesville as a whole. To that end, man-about-town Matthew Farrell has penned a letter to both The Hook and C-Ville Weekly requesting that they provide him with a title. (“Man-about-town” was the best that I could come up with.) Matthew has proclaimed himself to be “Downtown Charlottesville’s Leading Public Intellectual,” and accepts all of the rights and responsibilities that accompany that. Read on to see his letter in whole, which I find really quite funny, and hope that others will enjoy equally.

From: Farrell, Matthew

Sent: Tuesday, August 06, 2002

To: ‘Hawes Spencer (The Hook)’; ‘Cathy Harding (The CVILLE)’

Subject: ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES: an timely arrogation.

Fine day to you all!

Apologies for the informal (‘e’ always is) nature of this communication.

I suppose the realization had been gradually dawning on me for some time. While, though, yestreen flicking playing cards into a straw boater across the room in my penthouse-Altamont digs, feeling the gentle and substantial clarity and warm-wellness of a few carefully-chosen gin cocktails suffusing through my spirit, I was suddenly stirred by an insistent dimly audible voice from everywhere.

As you know it has been my calling these twelve years to serve downtown as its token dandy and rake, a boy-about-town placeholder in a public space requiring such a figure.

With broad national cultural changes ushered in by the new century, and certainly the local cultural narrowing brought on by extending the patronage of Downtown Charlottesville (masses oddly homogenizing not diversifying Downtown), I wonder if this role to which I gave myself with such abandon and earnest civic-mindedness might not be becoming a tad obsolete.

For the first part, nobody today knows anything of the tradition of the urban dandy, the necessity of him and the value to a community; to the rest, the sheer number of transients flowing through the Downtown life makes it difficult to ingrain in the public mind by a pattern of studied appearance and indolent appreciations what they en masse must see and observe, who have as a body so many distractions from civic concentration.

With these thoughts congealing, I had been casting about for something I could be or do to continue my pattern of selfless and committed service to this town and its people I love more than anyone or anything.

It was then this sweet yet low voice last night, speaking as if across all time and through all matter, finding me at-home in my tower above the Downtown, that made me to know the path.

I realized then at its urging that I must rise to fill an urgent void, that I must again estop the dike, that again I must needs for the good of this community stretch myself as a coat to cover the puddle, that Charlottesville might cross unsoiled.

The national magazine media, and of late its television and newsprint incarnations, are a-swell with the talk. They all cast about for a name, and choose largely in affirmation of some self-proclamation. For as with so many things of suspect probity, of plausible dubiety, who but one could proclaim to be one.

To wit: in the spirit of self-sacrifice, and in continuation of my substantial commitment to and practice of public service in Downtown Charlottesville, I proclaim myself to be, and would ask that in future editions you so refer to me, “Downtown Charlottesville’s Leading Public Intellectual”.

That said, I am certain you will see both the aptness of myself to fill this role, and the necessity of that someone fill this role. Who indeed else could? The University has them in dozens, who with the stroke of a pen or the drop of a phrase name and claim themselves Public Intellectuals. And the national media fatuously allows such self-creations (which soi-disant appellations endure a lifetime and write themselves in stone once death darkens). Think here a mile away of Mark Edmundson, Larry Sabato, John Casey. Who have we to stand beside them? Who would offer and who would dare, and who above all, would we support to do so? Who could be so serenely pompous, so perpetually accessible and present, so lazily comfortable in the public’s eye and esteem?

It should be abundantly obvious that politicians must be leading politicians, journalists must be leading journalists, and so on through the vocational ranks. It takes a chameleon, a person of infinite guile and mutility, a person of a flexibility and facility of mind and being, a person of infinite gall and infinite audacity, of limitless capacity for public self-texturing, posturing, a person without other overarching designation or role, to both proclaim to be and live the life of “Leading Public Intellectual”.

Brevo, I am now “Downtown Charlottesville’s Leading Public Intellectual”. I will make occasional vague cultural proclamations, occasionally challenge the proclamations of leading public intellectuals from elsewhere, occasionally meet with other leading public intellectuals from elsewhere, and otherwise uphold the distinction to the best of my abundant or adequate ability, with appropriate pomposity, loftiness of purpose, self-significance, and amorphous/ambiguous opining.

To the end of presenting a solid front, and providing Our Beloved Charlottesville with its very own, and now culturally necessary, “Leading Public Intellectual”, I would ask that the two of you recognize and support me in this effort. Please when it is necessary or condign to refer to me in your respective publications, append the titular “Charlottesville’s Leading Public Intellectual” to my name or any other reference to me.

I will be sending out informal notice to several leading public intellectuals in the University community, just to let them know that I will be acting as their opposite number downtown. When distinguished leading public intellectuals visit from other towns, cities, states, countries, I will endeavor to drop them each a card just to let them know that I am available here to greet and discuss heavy matters in light ways with them. I will dutifully accept the keys to the City, or other proferred honoraria as my well-wishers amass such offerings.

Know my dedication to and humility in serving Downtown, and to you each my gratitude and respect.

Matthew S. Farrell

Downtown Charlottesville’s Leading Public Intellectual

Not Much Going On

Jack writes: Throughout Charlottesville and surrounding Albemarle County, few notable events have occurred in the last week. Analysts note that the infrequency of news is striking in comparison with the same period in previous years.

Throughout Charlottesville and surrounding Albemarle County, few notable events have occurred in the last week. Analysts note that the infrequency of news is striking in comparison with the same period in previous years.

Hawes Spencer, editor of a local weekly newspaper shared one view on the trend.

“Sometimes there’s a whole bunch of stuff going on and we can hardly keep up. But lately, stuff’s pretty quiet. There was that bear that somebody saw last week. A pretty small bear, but it was still a bear. And that was almost news, I guess. I wish Matthew Farrell would do something again. Just dance around with a sign or something. That would work.”

While journalists like Mr. Spencer are taking a generally negative view on the lack of news, local citizens have expressed less concern for the trend.

“There’s still the funnies every day, ain’t there?” remarked Luanne Shiflett, a 24 year old cashier at Food Lion. “Plus I read the classifieds. And the personals- not like I, you know, just to see if somebody else might have, ah…I gotta take over register six for Dwayne now.”

“I don’t read no papers no more,” said retiree Leroy Thomas from the porch of his home on Harris Street. “Get the hell off my lawn!” Things are kind of slow. Maybe it’s the heat. Maybe we’re all worn down after the council race, the CHS/UVa attacks, the C-Ville/Hook schism and the Ivy Road parking garage debates. I don’t know. Thankfully, here we just put up stories when there’s something to talk about; there’s no need to put out an issue every day or week, regardless of whether or not there’s anything to write about. Anyhow, keep reading for Jack’s take on the matter.

An Open Letter to the Bastard Who Stole My VCR

writes: To: The bastard who stole my VCR

It was my VCR, you knew it! But you took it anyway! You bastard! You knew it was mine, but you did it anyway! Your VCR was broken, so you just took mine. You could get your own VCR ya know. Or steal one from someone else. but you NOOOOO! You had to steal mine instead.

Whats wrong with you? What if someone stole your VCR? What would you do without your pornographic videos? Huh? Didnt think of that did you? Someone, somewhere, watching x-files reruns on YOUR VCR while you sob pornlessly in the dark! You make me sick!

Its an evil addiction! You had to steal to get your next fix, you’re no better than a crack addict stealing to get his next rock! You’re just a porn addicted 34 year old bum welfare ghetto white trash honkey bastard.

Fuck you guy who stole my VCR. This is the weirdest thing ever submitted to, so I figured I’d run with it. It pretty much continues along this vein.

Earley Parodied in Onion

Madison, Wisconsin’s satirical weekly, “The Onion,” has directed their biting humor our way. In last week’s issue, they carried a story entitled “Candidated Turns to Focus Group for Position on Rape,” in which they say that Earley “has not yet declared whether he will adopt a hardline anti-rape stance or take a more moderate position to avoid alienating the state’s estimated 35 pro-rape voters.” You can read the short piece just a few stories down the front page of the issue.

Mandatory “Off” Button Proposed for Televisions

Jackson Landers has provided another satire piece, this one lampooning the v-chip and the television industry.

“In a seven page open letter to the Virginia House of Delegates, Parents for Safe Children proposed new, mandatory standards for the manufacture of new televisions that would include an ‘off’ switch on the front of the device. The idea is quickly gaining support on both sides of the aisle.”

However, the proposal will have many staunch opponents to overcome before it becomes law. The ACLU has wasted no time scrambling to lobby against the proposal.

“This is just the type of thing we have a constitution in place to protect,” said Willis Carroll, attorney for the ACLU. “The government has no right to tell the people what they can or cannot freely say, or for that matter, tell them whether or not they can stop listening to what the TV has to say. We may not like everything that the television says, but we have to respect its right to say it.”
Manufacturers are equally opposed to the measure, citing reasons similar to those of the ACLU. Frank Minter, CEO of Zenith Technology Group, explained his industry’s position to
“Look, if we go ahead with something like this it’s going to add at least $1.23 to the cost of each television. That’s a burden that the consumer is ultimately going to have to absorb, whether they want the censorship button on there or not.

“We also have to ask ourselves where all this is going. First it’s an ‘off’ switch. Next, you’re going to hear people talking about removing televisions from their homes altogether. They’ll start reading newspapers, listening to the radio and surfing the Internet. Maybe even engaging in conversation with one another. It’s a slippery slope, my friend. A slippery slope.”