Friday, July 31, 2009

Why Ken Layne Has No Balls

On January 10, 2008, Andrew Cuomo referenced one of the Democratic debates and suggested that now-President Barack Obama was "shucking and jiving." Pam Spaulding has a good go-to explanation of why this is a racist, asshole sentiment that shouldn't be tolerated in our elected officials.

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 Obama
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 —...
Unfortunately, this post was lost to the interwebs. Currently, all the links reroute to this edited bullshit.
Andrew Cuomo Uses Phrase That Made Some People Uncomfortable

(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.
The "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.

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.


wobblie said...

Your vision is clear, your prose is sharp, and your rage is righteous.

What a fucking tool.

Nefarious Newt said...

Ken Layne needs to kneel before you, apologize profusely, and lick your boots. And even then, it will not assuage his suckage.

rptrcub said...

Jeebus H. Vishnu. There's a reason why we call him Layme.

Nick Whitman said...

You're ridiculously awesome, Megan. I've been keeping up with your writing since you were the Anonymous Lobbyist, and I always wanted to tell you that.

Good luck at Air America.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a piece of fucking shit that asshole Ken Layne is. If he had any sack as an editor he would have scanned an image of his 'nads and faxed them back to Cuomo's fuckwits with an invitation to lick them.

Unfortunately, he had nothing to scan.


Anonymous said...

Technically, given this history, Ken would be defined as a Sackless Bag of Shit.


s said...

What the fuck could Cuomo do to Gawker or Layne? As if they have time to do anything but make a threat.

Anonymous said...


Nothing. Layne could have sat on the phone with them telling them how far he was going to fuck them all up the ass and they would have had no recourse saving calling the publisher who could have and would have told them to suck shit out of a camel's asshole and fucking die.