In January of 2008, I was working at Wonkette, and Ken Layne had been our managing editor for almost an entire week. After John Clarke's departure, myself, Jim Newell and intern Greg Wasserstrom had kept the site afloat (and increased traffic over the previous December, by the way) for about a month; Ken's new position was announced to us after it went up on the masthead. Ken is, let's say, not a particularly communicative boss and left us to our own devices and actively discouraged communication amongst ourselves. Having become accustomed to claiming stories, timing posts and generally being helpful to one another, it wasn't a great new environment.
That day, Jim Newell claimed this story, and, chagrined, I let him have it. His response, lost to the internet, was fucking epic, people, and began like this.
Andrew Cuomo's Advice for Slave Barack ObamaUnfortunately, this post was lost to the interwebs. Currently, all the links reroute to this edited bullshit.
Jan 10, 2008, 3:05pm
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, son of Mario and nephew of Luigi, loves him some Billary, and he's not afraid to get racist when it comes to black candidate Barack Obama. Yesterday, he used the words "shuck and jive" in reference to Barack Obama's campaign tactics. "Shuck and jive" is a term we use frequently on Wonkette to describe the same thing —...
Andrew Cuomo Uses Phrase That Made Some People UncomfortableThe "Ed" in that is, of course, Ken Layne. Why, might you ask, would Ken Layne, Managing Editor of Wonkette, remove a piece of fucking hilarious, awesome satire of an elected official's racist comments from Wonkette in an election year? Well, I think the title is some idea.
(This post was updated at 5:16 p.m.) Andrew Cuomo’s press office says he wasn’t referring to Barack Obama but to the overall primary campaign when he used the term “shuck and jive” during an interview Wednesday. Some people think that’s a racist phrase. Some don’t. But Cuomo’s press office seems to agree there’s something unsavory about saying “shuck and jive,” because now Cuomo claims he meant to say “bob and weave,” which doesn’t mean anything at all. And none of the “jokes” in this post make any sense now, so they’re gone. — Ed.
Less than 30 minutes after Jim's post went up, Andrew Cuomo's flacks emailed us, requesting that we edit Jim's post based on their clarification. They weren't exactly clear on the consequences if we didn't: it was just clear that they were going to do something. This didn't happen to us often, so we emailed Ken. We IM'd Ken. For 90 minutes -- which is like a week in blog time -- we got no response from Ken. And so, in typical lobbyist fashion, I replied to the email and encouraged them to send whatever bullshit explanation occurred to them to send after their boss trotted out a racist phrase in a public forum.
You'll note, from the time stamps, what happened. Ken deleted Jim's post. He replaced it with that time stamp -- which, by the way, is utter bullshit, because Jim's post was missing well beyond midnight that night. He caved. He didn't want to deal with Cuomo's flacks, he told Jim and I that "shucking and jiving" was not a racist term and that he wasn't going to deal with us antagonizing people.
Anyway, so when people tell me how funny and smart and subversive Ken Layne is, all I think is about this time when one call from some asswipe in Albany made him delete a funny post rather than call Gawker's lawyer and tell the guy to fuck off. And, why, yes, my reaction to this was probably a precipitating factor in me getting fired, because my reaction was that this was bullshit and that Jim had better not be in fucking trouble over this and Ken didn't really appreciate that.
Eight days later, I was canned for not being "funny" enough.