You may recall that a few days ago we cataloged a litany of multi-platform complaints about the new in terms of its editorial guidance and web design.

Now, normally these days when the internet goes after you, there are a couple of standard responses. Either you:

a) Get your point person online and defend yourself, igniting a comment war and building even more traffic for your site. Or

b) you check into sex rehab.

It seems the Journal staff has done neither of these, and there’s been nary a peep of public response to any of the bitching and moaning. UNLESS…this is what Kenneth Smith was doing:

The crisis consists in late-capitalism’s universe of incurable egocentric self-delusiveness, the all-too-easily-organized and delirial self-denial by means of which materialist and imperialist societies positively drive toward such cataclysms, over and over.

It’s no fun when the other guy doesn’t play.

UPDATE: Gary Groth has stepped out on his balcony to finally address the issues:

Cosmetic shortcomings and functional glitches aside, we set our sights very high and some of the major initiatives we had planned are going to need further tinkering before we’re satisfied that they’re ready to be unveiled. For example, we don’t want to fully launch a regular news posting until we know we can deliver the kind of regular, in-depth journalism that has long been missing from the Internet’s coverage of the comics field.

Our primary aim, however, was to channel the range of thoughtful, confrontational, probing voices that make up The Comics Journal into a site that is true to the magazine’s sensibilities and unlike any other place on the Web. We wanted to take both the magazine and Internet comics coverage places they’ve never been before, and that is a goal that we are proud to see taking clearer and clearer shape every day.


  1. I can translate.

    It means that the author of that sentence is so far up is own ass that he has no interest whatsoever in communicating in a world outside his own anus.

    Oh, and he also thinks you stupid for not understanding it.

  2. i honestly think all the complaints about are off point. i started reading it after everyone started complaining, and it’s actually got some pretty good stuff. it’s a nice addition to my blog reader lineup so far.

    not to be a @#$% to noah, but his stuff where he just links to his own blog is actually the stuff that bugs me the most on the site. i mean, if you’re gonna write something for the blog, then put it on the blog! don’t make me click somewhere else! the only reason i bring that up is because he got the ball rolling with this recent spat of stuff.

  3. I’m parsing this as “If you don’t like what I’m doing, it’s because you’re too ‘mainstream’ – i.e., stupid – to get it.”

  4. The references to crisis and late capitalism provide some context. My guess is Smith is referring to the banking crisis and the financiers’ attitudes that they are, effectively, kings and that they’ll tell the government what to do, instead of being told.

    Smith could use some kind advice on writing clearly, obviously.


  5. Nick, you undermine your own point. In this day and age it is easy to add an RS feed of an affiliate site — as Noahs’s is to TCJ — on a sidebar or a drop down menu. Instead they have no elegant mechanism to do so and Noah has to post it himself in the content stream.

    So yeah, you don’t’ like the site’s design either.

  6. I agree the new tcj site has a terrible layout, for all the reasons Noah Berlatsky et al ennumerated. I just came across a new word (to me) the other day, the German word schlimmbesserung: “an effort to make something better that actually makes things worse.” But since I generally rely on this site, Journalista, and Comics Reporter to aggregate links I might be interested in, I don’t ever visit the tcj home page anyway.

  7. Gary Groth understands what Ken Smith writes, and that’s all that matters.

    If you are using more than 2 or 3 words with three or more syllables in one sentence, you are trying not to be understood.

  8. I stopped at the second line, because as a former copyeditor and a former physics student, I know for a fact that there is no such word as “entropized.” The concept doesn’t even make any sense. Thermodynamics fail!

    However, I lightly skimmed the rest of the article and didn’t see how it tied into comics at all.

  9. In my post about, I actually sneer at my own puff-pieces.

    “Who are we talking to? Do they want to hear tit jokes? Do they care what happens at the Hooded Utilitarian, and if so do they really want those damned desperately “controversial” updates every day? ”

    As Heidi said, it seems like there should be another way to do it…but for the moment it’s manually shoving things down the pipe along with the rest of everything.

    As for posting directly on…there are various reasons I didn’t want to do that. A short version, which maybe stands in for some other stuff, is that I get many, many more comments on HU than I do when I post articles on

  10. Hey Brigid. Ken Smith is a philosopher, though not currently employed at a university. He’s also a cartoonist, which may be how he knows Gary. In any case, his extended philosophical essays have run in the back of the Journal for many years because (presumably) Gary Groth likes them. They don’t have anything in particular to do with comics. Nor, I would argue, with philosophy — though he does have his fans, believe it or not.