Kiss This!

Jack Shafer has made a great civic contribution by writing, “I Would Have Loved To Piss on Your Shoes,” a compendium of memos and whatnot that journalists sent to their former or about to be former bosses. My favorites are the pithiest and therefore the pissiest:

  • “Jesus spent three days in Hell. … I could only handle one,” referring to
  • “Don’t worry about me; I’ll land on my feet. I don’t regret coming here, even though I’ve been laid off now. In fact, my only regret is that you haven’t come to visit the Beacon Journal. I would have loved to piss on your shoes.” To Tony Ridder, the head of Knight Ridder.
  • “The last time I was up in front of this group [American Society of Magazine Editors] was 27 years ago, when we won General Excellence for Harper’s. I was fired the next day. And as the chairman of the board was escorting me to the guillotine, he said, ‘Didn’t I hear you won some sort of prize?’

My favorite of all time is missing, though. It was long and it ran in the newspaper on the editorial page. I’ve looked for it online but can’t find it. The subject was Robert Jelenic, former CEO of the Journal Register Company, which owns a bunch of small to mid-sized papers in Connecticut and elsewhere. The guy was so hated that even after he died of cancer former employees continued to attack him. Note that Gawker posted the story. Anyway the “goodbye” memo said it best. It was actually quite gentle until one looked at the first letter of each line, which read “F— you, Jelenic.” It is a testament to the competence of his editorial staff that no one caught the hidden message. But by then I think he’d fired all the copy editors.

I’m truly sorry for the reasons those emails, notes, and tweets exist, but they offer some of the most impassioned writing I’ve seen in a long time. Thanks for collecting them, Jack.

One Response to “Kiss This!”

  1. Betsy Says:

    Kudos to Jack! Love those messages.

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