This post was updated on .
My Sister was going to accompany me "freeganing" for a feature story-searching for discarded food, a whole often anti-consumerist, often communal, & money saving movement. But with a fine new job, family, being just across the water in NJ...She outsourced the gig to a friend who has done many freelance articles, books, does standup, including in a show I gave her at my last free weekend Midtown NYC arts festival.
This is for a magazine that the writer told me reaches 25 million folks online, Vice. I spent about 3.5 hours taking him around, he was friendly, seemed sympathetic to the cause, & I gave him & he got mucho goods. He even helped me carry stuff to my building & then I took him to more spots.
The only problem: the article had many errors, & a couple that had to be intentional.
The non-trivial ones did not represent the practice well, & painted a somewhat inaccurate picture of me & what I sought & consumed.
I wrote notes to my siblings & my spouses when Sister sent them the link. Then posted on the web site's comment section, finally E-Mailed the writer & as kindly as possible systematically corrected his errors & asked for inaccuracies to be corrected. Though the story of who was responsible for what is still unfolding, Susie told me that his EDITOR pushed for changes, falsehoods to make the tale more dramatic. Somehow my man got the idea that we hit only gourmet & organic supermarkets, which was nonsense.
Includied was changing the actual neighborhood & how fancy the stores were, to make the contrasts more dramatic.
To me, painting a fuller picture of who I was instead of plugging in a script, lies & massaging the truth, also including some humanizing, non-ideological encounters would have been more engaging.
MAINLY it is wrong to make up or change facts, & perhaps more so when the subject is dedicated to representing the experience & cause correctly,
Someone close to me is an Editor at a top NYC Newspaper-I added his advice to first write the author Harmon Leon for corrections. More powerful coming from the publication-& I think that with NO other sources to investigate, no fact checking needed, a single visit, it was simple enough to make few if any errors.
And any fabrication is a betrayal of Journalistic ethics, even if not on a "Jayson Blair" scale.
Below find a link to the articles, photos...And then I cut & paste my NOTE to the writer, so you can judge the discrepancies between the story & The Truth.
It is useful to gague how much even an "official" outlet or reporter can distort the truth, intentionally or not, thius how much the facts, reputation & history can get twisted. Thus do not take the printed word as gospel.
However it stiill transmitted some useful information to an area often viewed with ignorance, fear & sterotyping. Hopefully it also holds some intrinsic interest.
Now for my E-Mail describing the factual & tonal problems, what I would have preferred, & seeking official corrections. A couple things are tiny matters or mere suggestions of things that would have been better to include.
Harmon, I really appreciate the your enthusiasm, & thanks much for the very useful & evocative article. Yet there is much to correct re: accuracy, & Susie & her WSJ Editor husband Ed suggested i write you to get corrections printed. Some matters are trivial, but there are basic errors that give an incorrect impression about our adventure, what I sought, & could reflect freeganing in a better light.
Maybe your Editor changed some material? But there are some important facts & impressions that you must have been mistaken about, & a couple of suggestions...
1) We were never on the Upper West Side.
I thought I made this very clear, that starts at 60th Street, & described my neighborhood's precise parameters in careful detail. We ranged from the upper 50's on 9th Avenue to 8th Avenue & 49th Street, all Hell's Kitchen, except technically just east of it to conclude. It adds to the fancy-fied false impression caused by this more significant mistake:
2) I did NOT take you to all high end, gourmet places. Maybe Gristedes qualifies.
I have never heard Morton Williams referred to as a "specialty store". If that happens to be a marketing tool, that location is not high end or yuppified. We spent most time at that stop, & the customers can be all types.
This & the entire experience was not "yuppified".
LATER addition in a subsequent note: the vast majority of what I get, & I believe ALL of what we freeganed, was absolutely NOT labeled or actually "organic".
3) The final stop was NOT Gristedes. We went to my place, then I took you to pick-a-bagel next, not especially gourmet...Then the dumpsters at Food Emporium were empty & i showed you an elegant high ceiling place for contrast, Lillie's Victorian bar, walking around both floors for photos-& contrast with the street/dumpsters outside.
4) I never remotely indicated nor implied i would only eat the "high end, gourmet, &/or organic" stuff. I delighted in the fancy offerings one could get free, eat generally healthy but some sweets...And never need food to be fancy or benighted only. I consume mucho cheap & generic products.
5) Best to say I live, & we were in, Hell's Kitchen. Would have been useful to mention what i do, the free all weekend arts festival & magazine I started & run. But I make no money, & certainly might go to Burning Man. There was no reason to feel otherwise.
6) Probably better to indicate that arm in the garbage bag was not up to the elbow in muck, just the hand cleaned when done. Accurate, & would limit revulsion or contempt.
7) Would have been a more engaging, fuller picture if'n you said something about some characters we met. 7a) I also said that one was FROM the Church steps, not that all there were unaware of freeganing. Recall his deluded conception he is a Master business man, but freegans there & Gristedes all the time.
Best at least to describe me helping out the garbage men by tossing bags into the truck.
8) Trivial: it was cheddar/wasabi spread, & I do not know if I kept or gave away more sandwiches from that Cosi Deli over 20 years ago.
9) But I did NOT say there are rats. I said if they were around they would scurry away, & while I have seen them in many places & in the subway, I have never seen them at garbage bags I was checking or about to. That would be rare, when it is busy, usually well lighted, etc. The misconception adds to the Fear Factor.
10) Small Potatoes: not getting the exact food right I would give to my Super.
Quoting me as saying the vast "amount" instead of "majority".
Not recognizing my jest in saying I may hate to carry more food-when I will sometimes carry so much heavy stuff in each hand that I cannot walk too far without needing a short rest for my grip to recover strength.
11) You got my biggest motivation correct, saving money...But missed out in explaining why good to limit ego-attachment to an approved image, & did not explain WHY it was good for the environment. Nor how when you are not buying meat it does not contribute to the monstrous way most all animals live & die on factory farms.
12) Oh it also gives a bad, false impression to write we were sitting in the middle of the sidewalk. As always there, I had my back against the side of the building & you nearby. Also out of the way at the other spots. This is important because otherwise we look insensitive & obstructing pedestrians.
13) We did NO dumpster diving, unlike the very title of the article. The one place with dumpsters were completely empty. And i told you very few places had dumpsters.
So note how much a well-intended, I understand skilled writer can get some basic facts wrong. And give a partially FALSE impression of the subject & topic at hand.
The food was overwhelmingly healthy, yet much ordinary stuff, & sometimes the cakes for my super, mucho cheap chips & junk....
If it was only things like missing describing one of the photos, me hand-feeding chicken to a frenzy of 4 Yorkshire Terrifiers (sic) with their cell phone yapping owners approval, fine. Those are discretionary choices.
or not describing my magazine I gave you, useful to describe 3 freegan stories on the cover, one by me, another "Mike Felber" a lawyer living across from the Supermarket about the legalities involved...
But some more care & now corrections could represent the experience better, my attitude & some significant particulars factually. Plus do freegans & freeganism more justice to an often prejudiced public.
With the errors & revulsion expressed such as towards freegan sushi, some of it had a whiff of condescension. Even if unintended.
Even so, I appreciate the concern for featuring this, getting things right & fair, & it was certainly more positive & engaging than wrong or bad.
please feel free to call me anytime about these matters Harmon.
Thanks for your patient consideration of the Truth.
Mike Felber Founder/CEO Hell's Kitchen Artists Guild & ArtistsintheKitchen.org
Publisher "At The Edge" 212-582-2990
Sorry you had to go through that. In this case it sounds like the editor was the cause of the betrayal. This is the reason people are hesitant to trust journalists these days. It's something I don't miss about that business. Keep me posted on what happens next. Do you think they'll print a retraction?
I do not know yet if they will run the retractions, I will let you know.
What he did was wrong, though betrayal is too strong. And I do not know yet how much was pushed upon him by his editor. Either way it was wrong.
There was some good stuff & it is positive to feature what this is, freeganing.
Just no justification for lies, creating a convenient story of what is felt to be most engaging.
They betrayed your trust. The reporter spent hours with you, gained your trust and then deliberately stabbed you in the back. It was betrayal.
I agree. Betrayal is the right word. He befriended you and gained your trust only to purposely decidve you later. The reporter (and likely the editor) knew all along what they were planning. Another word for use here is "ambush." They set you up. You're not the first or last to be decieved by the media. Thats part of why I stopped writing. Journalism is shark-infested waters unfortunately.
Sorry about that Entaowed. Just last semester i switched journalism to become my minor. After hearing stories from AJ and others about how hard it is to find work and how shady that business is, I'd rather use that career option as a backup plan.
In reply to this post by Becky
Thank you Becky & Phantom Punch.
Now I could be wrong, I have been accused a # of times over the years as naive, & sometimes still can be...
But I do not have evidence that I was set up.
My Sister told me about the Editor insisting upon some changes, seemingly to make it more appealing in terms of contrasts. though i think they could have made a more individuated portrait & done even better...
Like a good Journalist ironically, I am reserving final judgement until I get any significant, or adequate, information.
Often things are not conspiracies, see even if it involves me being aggrienced I try to be Fair & Balanced (unlike Fox News). Occam's razor is a tenenat of logic that says the simpler explanation tends to be the most likely to be true.
I do not even know if anyone cared enough to set up a whole fiendish plot, & the writer was likely just incautious sometimes, & something like about rats, he easily could have misheard me.
Yet things like what community it was, inventing what i would "only" search for & eat: those are hard to mistake, & I will try to confirm if indeed the Editor insisted.
This might apply to the false claim that we went to all fancy & organic markets.
Anyway while you know how I will debate any little detail with them,
& oppose lies on principle & for the good of the image of freeganing...It was still fine, the dude i do not think is bad or manipulative in general, but how good on details & if he folded to his superior due to his paycheck is another matter!
Another case where it is not black & white, folks just good or evil.
it would have been a better read if he DESCIBED a few principles better, & the pure fun of me hand-delivering chicken to 4 Yorkshire Terr-ifiers in a feeding frenzy! one eating straight from the bag. Or them staring at me like tiny Hounds of Hell from a distance, wistful for more meat. And the garbage tossing & interaction with the workers...Who have 100's of stops & I had him take photos which goave them a kick.
Or the aged always dressed in a jacket homeless freeganer who chewed off his ear, & has delusions including working on a $960 million business deal.
Or the photos of a fancy Victorian gorgeous restaurant Lillies, next to the dumpsters, a great contrast.
Unfortunately i have not seen the late middle aged Asain widow for a while who brings a tiny parakeet under her jacket, who will let me hand feed it a grape or strawberry...Unless it feels more like biting me.
he could have shown the Police Precint Midtown North right down the street from Gristdes.
NJ declared a State of Emergency, hit so hard by the last Hurricane, Sandy. Gov. Cuomo is standing by to acvtivate that. But we do not know yet if we will be actually hit by Hurricane Jouqin, or it will just continue to be rainy.
But I love big storms, even without indoor Romantic company.
Its not a big conspiracy or anything like that. I think you're over-thinking it. Regardless of what you told them during the interview, these folks already knew what kind of story they were going to tell. They printed what they wanted. You got shafted.
"Conspiracy" is much too big a word. This isn't something that they planned for years, no one was murdered, etc. Words that describe this are "betrayal" "deceit" "cunning" "manipulative" etc. They duped you but it was no conspiracy..just a manipulative set-up. What evidence do you need? The proof is in the article! lol. You said yourself that some of the inaccuracies were on purpose.
To avoid this in the future ask to read what is written before it is printed. Or only use journalists that you know well and trust. Your naivety came through loud and clear here; random reporters pop up, pretend to befriend you, write their own version of a story and then you're STILL giving them the benefit of the doubt?
A conspiracy can also apply to small matters, anything planned & deceptive. Though there is no need to use such a "big" word, your or mine can apply, yours more fitting to the scale of things...
If it is accurate. Yes, there was some false changes. But recall my Sister was origially asked to do this report, or she thought of it & was going to freegan with me. They could well have planned things in advance. Yet it may well have been that the Editor thought nothing of it until he RECEIVED the story.
I still am not sure how much he was asked or made to make changes or was sloppy...
Also it was not "random reporters". There was one, & i knew him & said i featured him (within the comedy show hour I gave my Sister) at my last festival. He did not really "befriend" me, we were just both polite during the tour I showed him. If my Sister did it as asked no distortions would occur. This was likely a "crime of opportunity".
I just doubt they pallned things like making it the 'hood just north of me.
Many things are done wrong that are improvised.
Also things like that or I only take the most expensive, organic food do not hurt me or my image-like i care-they just do not serve The Truth, but are considered useful for a tale.
Whether it was all planned out is very possible, but does not seem the most likely state of affairs.
They also risk my public complaints, though often folks do not care enough to protest or have trouble gaining traction for rebuttals.
Sounds like you got "Stephen Glassed."
Ha, Duggy & I were messaging about exactly that! He strongly recommends the movie.
I both strongly critique lies & less so oppose inaccuracy due to carelessness...& maintain that it was still fun & OK overall.
In reply to this post by Entaowed
You poor thing....always trying to see the light in a bad situation. Most likely they were looking at an opportunity to tell a story - its how they make their money. But once they got their information either they decided to make it more interesting and embellish or just tell whatever they heck they wanted disregarding the truth. No JFK type conspiracy, just typical journalistic betrayal and manipulation.
You said he was polite during the tour? I bet he was. Now let's see if he and his editor are "polite" enough to respond to your complaints. I doubt it. This is libel.
This post was updated on .
Yes lovely, I believe that is essentially what happened.
Though a good guy, Harmon either chose distortion & lies or agreed to them, perhaps under pressure.
I will write him again & will describe any answer I might get.
He is a performer too who my Sister has featured, so it will be awkward to ignore things.
In reply to this post by Entaowed
I viewed the article and saw the accompanying pictures. I would assume you were homeless too if I came across you sitting out there. The wild hair and everything.
It is fine if anyone thinks I am homeless. It is a weakness, a matter of insecurity & need for social reinforcement & shame that demands status to feel happy & validated.
Einstein would llikely also laugh off the observation & be fine if'n you found him a vagabond.
Oh i know you don't mind if folks think you're homeless. I don't interact with you much outside of boxing posts but from what I gather you're an arrogant white supremacist who always has to be right. My post was not meant to insult you. I was just saying that I can see why folks assume you are harmless. It was not a dig at you or the homeless population. I have no problem with them and in fact I've given them money before.
Dude you are really out of line.
The only things folks have recently accused me of is being naive. In a good natured way.
You managed to bring up the hoiary white supremacist charge when there was not only no recent conflict, but on the excuse that I just had a brief freindly exchange with 1 guy about how refreshing NAPS were to most!
There was not the slightest rationale to introduce race there, let alone accuse me of bigotry.
There was no conflict that existed, & you had zero takers in what, on at least a subconscious level, you tried to provoke.
You actually could not even address the vast majority of what I wrote opposing that slander-much worse than the journalism thread here-& dismissed most by saying "whatever" & that i am so annoying.
AJ was puzzled why you would do all this & make any accusation at all.
If it was after I posted about Rocy's crazy sexual & money habits, such as collecting $ by dangling a dude out of a window...Or even that Liston would certainly beat a long-retired Rocky-when at least almost all here believe would happen prime for prime-I would think it was revenge due to your fanatical dedeication to The Rock. Who I admire as a boxer & for what he accomplished with limitations...
But before those posts, you tried to re-instigate a controversy based upon NOTHING. And nobody supported that random attack.
It seems you are in denial about not giving "digs". Even I cannot be that naive.
An interesting typo & possible written Freudian slip...You said you see why folks would assume I am "harmless". That is correct.
My hair is not even that wild, just a lot know, since it has been humid enough so it is still curly/tight now.
Anyway going through the trash is the reason some may think or wonder if i am homeless, which is fine. I do believe you that you likely do not hate the homeless. Though virtually anyone has given some money at least occasionally.
Anyway hopefully you will see how unconvincing & wrong it is to bring up outrageous accusations upon something like a calm, polite brief exchange about naps!
But when you say how I look homeless WITH a horrified face ()...
Of course it does not seem at all kind, mature, or peaceful.
I don't have the time to be breaking down and responding to every little detail or "point" you make. Unlike you, who sits around homeless eating rats for shady journalists, I have a life outside of this forum. But I will clear up a few of your misconceptions being that I'm in a good mood.
Alright man. I already explained that. You argue viciously when white women were on this site talking about the differences between black and white men in bed, sizes, etc. You went out of your way to argue against African Americans being bigger and performing better, hip rotations and all that. You challeneged everything these women said, neutralizing their personal experiences, statistics, porn, etc. You just couldn't agree until months later when your little black girlfriend nurse confirmed it for you. BUT, you didn't mind agreeing with stats and studies when it came to naps. You only agree with facts and figures when it's something YOU WANT to be true. When its something that makes you uncomfortable (i.e. black people having bigger dicks) you're suddenly unsure and argumentative. If you don't see my point there, there's no help for you.
And like I told you before. I was trying to help. All I initially said was "this is a reason why folks think you're a white supremacist." I did not say you were a white supremacist initially. I was just saying that you had just added fuel to the fire. That's all. And I wouldn't say I had zero takers. I wasn't trying to ruffle anything. I was just giving my opinion to help you out and you attacked me for it. So much for being "calm as a lake" right? lol.
Look. I don't have the time to be doing that kind of siht. If nearly everyone on this board sees you the same way (annoying retarded racist) then there must be truth to it somewhere. Things didn't turn around for you in a positive light until Duggerman posted your TV interivew, which I myself praised you for if I recall. I am not going to address every single little point you make. I don't have the time to write a book and debate with a homeless racist. I have better things to do with my time. As a matter of fact, most people don't. I bet you anything that those journalists will not get back to you after that wordy email you sent. They're probably ready to blow their brains out by the second paragraph.
Why do you always say "AJ this" and "AJ" that? Is he a supreme ruler? Is he your dad? Do you worship him too? (Though it is an irony that you worship a black man AND Hitler. You amaze me). It may be AJ's site but he's a person just like the rest of us. Why is his opinion to be valued so greatly? Besides he hasn't said anything on here about our recent posts. We're not children. I don't think he and the mods have time to babysit. We're all adults. Tattle if you want but you won't be taken seriously.
Now I KNOW you're delusional. It was not a freudian slip. It was an honest mistake. I was up late typing on the computer and made a mistake. It happens. Just like you always confuse Lennox Lewis and Joe Louis, always typing "Lewis" when we talk about the Bomber. Freudian slip? No, just a mistake you make all the time. I make one typo and its a freudian slip? You lust after black women but its not a fetish, though if Michelle prefers guys with deep voices its a fetish all of a sudden? Seriously, fcuk you dude! Arrogant pieceasiht.
Anyway, I do not think a white supremacist who defends Hitler, Paul Deen, George Zimmerman, Charles Barkley, Hulk Hogan and others is "harmless." People like you have been murdering and oppressing minorites for hundreds and hundreds of years. You defend oppression and made up a sad Holocaust "sob story" about your family to hide your evil.
I used to not take sides each time your ass was in the fire. I could have easily joined in but I didn't. But after you jumped down my throat for simply telling my opinion and trying to help people see WHY you're viewed as racist, forget it. You're not gonna put my ass in the hospital like Zorro.
Mane. I hate they took the story down. I wanted to see that sh~t. It Sounded entertaining. "Eating rats." smh.
Malik El Debarge Wright
In reply to this post by Duggerman
I second that. Entaowed they may not have been "random" journalists but you didn't know them well enough. Even if you knew the guy previously he doesn't sound like a "friend" per se. You were only loosely associated with him and probably unaware of his lack of credibility as a journalist. He may have done this to people before.
I tried clicking the link but the article is gone. At least they respected your wishes. Let me know if they respond to your email.
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