Frances Bula header image 2

Please save irreverent quasi-journalism and read K & K

August 10th, 2009 · 15 Comments

I was trolling the Internet tonight (an excellent time-waster, for those who have thousands of words of overdue stories to write, once they have checked the last 200 Twitter posts of everyone they can think of in the universe and googled all previous boyfriends from the 70s) and noted that one of my very favourite reads in the city is in danger. Apparently it’s not getting enough Internet hits.

For those of you who have never read it, the Vancouver Courier’s Kudos & Kvetches column, which I believe is written after hours by random groups of staffers who have altered their consciousnesses chemically, is one of the last funny corners of journalism in a city far too weighed down with Serious Columnists Trying to Be Important or At The Very Least More Hysterical and Shrill Than Anyone Else.

If you haven’t read their description of the Vancouver city council’s inauguration ceremony last December, you have missed a truly Pantagruelian account of the festivities. (One word: giant perogies. Oh, that’s two.)

I am sure some people will think I am utterly juvenile to be amused by this. I refuse to confirm or deny that I am utterly juvenile, but I have to say, these little bits of sharp anarchy are a pleasant diversion from my usual fare:  housing-policy reports,  sombre analyses of the declining media industry, or blog comments from people trying to outdo each other in insulting evaluations about the intelligence, personal appearance, and ethics of those they disagree with.

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  • Put me down as juvenile. K&K is the high point (twice) of my newsprint week. I suspect it’s not the high point for any of the editorial staff at The Province.

  • gmgw

    OK, this is going to be a rant. Whenever I pick up the Courier, I turn first to the “editorial” page to see what Garr is saying, then check the Geoff Olson cartoon (if the dailies in this town weren’t such gutless wonders, one of them would have hired Olson long since; apart from the aging but still-great Roy Peterson, there’s no one hereabouts who’s more skilled at the [sadly] dying art of editorial cartoonery). My third stop is always Kudos & Kvetches; whatever comic geniuses create the column consistently score major hits on all the right targets, local and otherwise, while making us laugh like hell.

    Thus I am, as the phrase goes, shocked and appalled to learn that K&K is in real danger of cancellation; but I am absolutely outraged! that it’s for such a ridiculously jejune reason as lack of Internet hits. This would probably be a good place for an essay on what this says about our society, about the state of journalism, and about the rank, puerile stupidity of Courier editors and publishers, but I’m not going to attempt one. I will say, though, that I must be nowhere near as net-savvy as I thought. I mean the damn paper arrives on my doorstep, unbidden, twice a week, hence it’s never occurred to me to look at their Web site, except on the rare occasion when I’m searching for a specific article in a back issue.

    Was I aware that K&K had a Web presence? No. And if the powers that be at the Courier would prefer that I read the bloody column online, why the hell are they still furnishing me with the print edition, gratis? I mean, what kind of idiots are these people? How the hell can they fairly judge the popularity of a feature in a widely-distributed, free, giveaway paper by measuring its *Net* popularity? In the case of one of the dailies, there are ways to quantify the popularity of a feature or a columnist. If the Sun decided that Shelly Fralic’s nauseating banalities had become a factor in dropping circ figures, it would theoretically be possible for them to use those figures to justify dropping her (the best thing the Sun could do to quickly improve its quality, as it happens). The same methods of appraisal are inappropriate for the freebee Courier, which is sustained entirely by advertising.

    Given the glee with which K&K’s writers stomp on toes right and left, occasionally including toes that belonging to figures of some local influence, I’ve feared for some time that some mortally offended toff (or Province editor) would succeed in persuading the Courier to drop the feature. And who knows, maybe that’s what’s behind this. But the lack-of-hits rationale, even if it’s true, is a simply pathetic excuse for a reason to drop one of the best features in any paper in this all-too-small town. As my wife said when I told her about this: “Well, that’ll be one less reason to read the Courier…” Take heed, Courier editors. Your own chairs rest on thin ice, too.

  • Andrea C.

    This is unbelievable. If anything, K&K was getting too popular in the Courier, and was outshining the “real” content, ruffling a few feathers.

    The inimitable satire concerning Vancouver’s personalities and foibles keeps me sane. I just have to recall a couple of words from the column , ex. “shovel ready”, and I’m laughing my head off all over again.

    Mooseknuckle. The best darn word in the whole English venacular. K&K gives it the exposure it so richly deserves.

    Master satirists at K&K, take a bow!

  • spartikus

    The “economic” argument for killing the online K&K is bogus – it costs nothing to Ctrl+C / Ctrl+V the print version onto the website. You’re not uploading large video or multimedia files that cost $$$ to host.

    Who care how many hits you get with something like this. It’s all upside from the Courier’s POV.

  • TheBestPlaceToBeANarcissist

    Satire? What a yawnfest. Normally satire is supposed to amuse.

  • I think it’s time for Fabula readers to start a ‘letters to the editor’ campaign to keep K&K. After all, there have already been far to0 many letters addressing dog shit in the park and the problems of the DTES!

  • some guy

    I’m pretty sure Mike Kissinger still writes K&K

  • Bill Lee

    Frances Bula did use the word “apparently” but it means little.

    Using Blynx, the blind browser, I find the Kerrisdale Courier site difficult to navigate. Why would I bother?

    However, we live in one of many sections of Vancouver who don’t suffer from having the Courier on our doorstops, probably too much of the hoi-polloi and not of the creme de la creme.
    I’m aware that there are several editions: West Side, East Side, and a fight-the-West-Ender City Centre edition, the only difference being a few of the adverts and the sorting of some stories.

    I was under the impression that K&K was mainly done by Greg Potter in its heyday. Certainly it’s gone downhill for years.

    I get a Courier, for the little classified adverts, where they force the local branch library to take a hundred for the day. Since such places pay per volume for trash, the Courier could at least pay the freight.

    I’m sure that one of Prof. Bulas assignments is to send her students out to various neighbourhoods the mornings of trash pickup to see what printed papers are being put out, what quantity, and are they mucked up or neat indicating that they went straight to recycle unread.
    Certainly in my area, “Zhe baozhe yingyu” and totally ignored as the Sun and the dailies. If the Courier would put a 4 page Chinese wraparound in the City, it might get more than one toss, but then “Outraged in Dunbar” would write letters.

    You saw the recent Ipsos-Reid survey, hazzahed by Rogers’ Omni TV, that Vancouver’s ethnic Chinese get 60 percent of their references through Chinese language print and broadcast medias. A bit less for the South Asian communities. You can’t work in English only effectively anymore.
    I can look out in the morning and see the adult Sun/Province delivery drop off 5 papers only in a total of 50 homes I can see in a glance. Print papers, even giveaways like the Courier are dead for most people.

    One can get on the buses into Vancouver, or the Skytrains and see that not many are reading even the two street dailies. Ipods replace radios. Snoozing replaces reading.

    As for the Kerrisdale Courier, unchain the Highland Echo and Galen Craik’s editorial stances for the Drive and the East side.
    We all cried when he sold the Echo to “business interests”

  • Wagamuffin

    Let’s get Tieleman to start a Facebook page!

  • A. G. Tsakumis

    It’s actually some very good stuff. I’d be sorry to see it gone.

  • Mike Clarke

    First I heard of it. Thanks for the tip Frances. I’ll check it out. Always up for a little irreverence.

  • jack the bear

    Bill Lee misses the Echo?
    Who could forget Mrs. Burch’s rivetting account of the faith healer who cured cancer. Community journalism at its pinnacle!

  • Inside the building

    K and K is one of the best things about the Courier. Some of my all-time favorites include:

    – the time K and K wined and dined the hollow tree for a sexy evening before it was to be taken down

    – the sporadic yet ongoing references to George Chow wearing a banana hammock

    – and of course, their mention of Randy Bachman and an STD, which resulted in a woman writing a letter to the editor telling them to focus on Bachman’s musical career, and not his sexual history – which then made the “best letters of the year” section

  • Bill Lee

    > jack the bear // Aug 12, 2009 at 12:23 pm
    > Bill Lee misses the Echo?
    > Who could forget Mrs. Burch’s rivetting account of the
    > faith healer who cured cancer. Community journalism at
    > its pinnacle!

    Not the Burch printing fiasco, nor the
    short-lived Hodgson interregnum, (who found that
    you don’t fool with politics on the East Side
    and left after a few years), but the previous
    editor and publisher.

    That’s the trouble with young “bears” these
    days, there is no history before they could
    read, the world was bare and blank, a formless
    mass. And the Gordon said: “Let there be the
    greatest place on Earth,” and the Mountain View
    cemetary came into being.

  • Dawn Steele

    I love K&K! Plopping that soaking wet, muddy, mushy copy of the Courier on my kitchen table, peeling apart the shell of gaudy flyers and delicately separating the decomposing pages until I get to the delicious treat hidden inside.

    That little intermission from earnestness, that moment of grounding sanity, is what makes every trek from under the shrubbery to the blue box worthwhile. Why would anyone need to look it up on the Web?