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September 13, 2011

Blog Post "Phail"

On September 12, I wrote a blog post titled "Here For Phish? How About You Lend a Phreaking Hand?" In retrospect, I realize that it was ill-timed and ill-conceived. A number of readers felt the post impugned the good work already being done by flood volunteers, took for granted Phish's contribution to the relief efforts, and was offensive to a legion of music fans.

This was not my intent. I simply meant to draw attention to a need facing our state in the wake of a natural disaster and, at the same time, poke a little fun at the caricature of the Phish fan that has formed over the years. And, yes, I realize there is more than one kind of Phish fan. 

I, like my fellow Vermonters, appreciate the work that is being done around the state to help get people back on their feet after Tropical Storm Irene. Phish is being incredibly generous by donating their time and talent. The money that is raised from their benefit show on September 14 will go a long way toward helping the state heal. I didn't intend to minimize their contribution, or those of concertgoers from in and out of state.  

Judging from the negative reactions to the blog post, I clearly didn't achieve what I set out to with the piece: to entertain and inform. As some have already pointed out, this piece was a "phail." I acknowledge that, and I'm sorry.

Editors' note: Opinions expressed on our staff blog do not necessarily reflect the views of editors or staff at Seven Days. Many of us are longtime Phish fans, and all of us appreciate what the band, and its fans, are doing for our state.

Much better. Now let's all focus on having a great day and night tomorrow and contributing to raising a bunch of money.

Apology accepted. Kudos for the response. Let's have some fun tomorrow and stay safe and courteous to all who attend as well as the residents of Essex.

Lauren, everyone makes mistakes and sometimes things just miss the mark. Thanks for clearing it up. Many of us are looking forward to heading up to your beautiful state tomorrow, spending some cash and seeing our favorite band, all with the goal of raising some money for our friends in VT.

Thanks for the apology on your "Phail". Remeber, snark is not always the best or only way to convey thoughts, ideas or humor. Ask Ed Shamy...

Your article maybe had the right idea, but why "poke fun" at these fans? Is that the way to get people to respond and take action during a disaster, to "poke fun"? Bad taste..Im sure I could make a ton of stereotypes just by looking at your Facebook picture, but is that gonna accomplish anything? I hope your lesson was learned and that the people of VT take you back..

The first blog post was lame. The apology for the lame post is doubly lame.

They pay you for this?


Really? REALLY?

Knickers were so knotted Seven Days is printing this? Come ON. We all know Phish phans are too stoned to organize a backlash. Besides, the paper's free.

That's a joke, super sensitive Phish people.

Also: "Editors' note: Opinions expressed on our staff blog do not necessarily reflect the views of editors or staff at Seven Days. Many of us are longtime Phish fans, and all of us appreciate what the band, and its fans, are doing for our state." Nice. Way to stand behind your staff, editors. Like... ten feet behind them.

good recovery, good apology, looking forward to a great show

Just stopped at Home Depot and purchased face masks and gloves to bring to VT. Also have a box of canned food and clothes to donate to Red Cross. I think an extraordinary amount of good will come from the Essex show and not only the financial contribution that the Phish organization will make. For the most part, the fan base is a caring, thoughtful and articulate group with much to offer. While deeds of compassion and concern have been happening for years by many in the fan base and typically go unreported, periodically its nice to be acknowledged for the work that so many do in the communities that Phish plays around the country. Apology graciously accepted. Better to focus on the important matters.

What an awesome post!!! Apology accepted. You'll have to ignore the responses of a view trolls who are filled with vile and hate. I venture a guess that most (i.e all the reasonable) Phish fans who were initially pissed, will be happy to move on from this and do good things for VT. Cheers!

::claps not all that sarcastically::

Apology accepted

I was more concerned with the fact that you used the term "white dreadlocks" as opposed to any other type. This was a very derogatory statement and should not be tolerated by the publication.

OK, she says she's sorry. I'll accept it. Let's move on. Next time though, don't be a mouthpiece of hatred and intolerance.

Apology accepted. Time to move on.

The only portion of the post that offended me was your insistence on spelling all words that start with an f -- such as "flood"-- with a PH. It got phucking old fast. I did not think an apology was needed.

These comments are coming in so rapidly because a Phish message board called Phantasy Tour got hold of the original article.

Users of the board are typically very angry and immature. Obviously a secure Phish fan wouldn't even care about the content of your article because it was obviously filled with out-dated stereotypes in an attempt at humor.

The PT lynch mobs do not represent the fan base at all.

I'm troubled by this. Your tone sounded much more authentic in the original piece than in this "oops, I got in trouble and better say sorry cover up"... if I were the editors of Seven Days, I'd be taking a hard look at your employability.

Apology accepted, Lauren. Just remember that it's one thing to be snarky but it's another to be plain mean for no good reason. And just because this is a blog and not a paper, that doesn't mean you get to abandon your professional standards.

Of course, some of these Phish fans haven't been helping their cause any with vile, hateful language. Wonder if they'll apologize. It's only fair...

No PT does represent a portion of the fan base. You mess with the bulls, you get the horns.

Erin - I couldn't agree more. I'm SO disappointed that 7 Days didn't stand behind their writer. SUPER lame!!! People can't make fun of anything anymore, we've gone to PC hell. I thought your blog post was funny Ms. Ober and really, they should pitch in since a big group of them have been noshing on free meals at the Salvation Army, meals which are designed to help feed people who can't afford food NOT those who cam afford a $75 concert ticket!!!

I'm 36. A college grad. Own my own insurance agency. I'm married. I own a home. I donate to many different charities. I am active in my community through volunteering. I'm a Phish phan of of 16 years and 80 shows. Peace and love to all, including you Lauren, because thats what its all about.


Thank you Lauren. I really loved your Rte 100 piece and the blog post just made me...sad. Let's move on people, to a great show!! And remember non-phish fans - your computer has a mute button. Get the webcast and $20 goes to the cause.

Well, now, instead of just being a snarky, petty, little brat, you can add LIAR to your list of titles.
C'mon. I, for one, doubt that by referencing Phish fans main travel gear as a bong you meant to convey goodwill or shine light on a terrible tragedy. You simply did it to impress your equally lame friends and have a good laugh at a group of people who have a main objective, besides playing music, to help people. You apologized because you got in trouble.
You should have said," I fu***d up. Sorry." At least that is believable.
Fake apology not accepted.
What have YOU done to help?? What have your bands done???

Geez, don't mess with the Phish Mafia! They got twitter accounts & smart phones and they aren't afraid to use them.

Wow, forcing your writers to apologize for an article making fun of Phish fans? You've reached a new low Seven Days....

As for anyone who is commenting on this because they heard about the blog post from a Phish message board--if you're over the age of 17, it might be a good time to re-evaluate your life.

Holy hell! I just saw your pic. Are you Trey's brother?

MEH. weak and poorly written apology.

Thanks for the apology...Now go home and get your phuckin' shinebox!!

Too little too late. When will the paper realize she's not a good writer?

Folks keep asking this and I haven't seen an answer yet... and I'd actually be really curious to know... what have YOU done in the aftermath of all this Irene tragedy?

How does it pheel to eat crow? Pheel good does it?
You’re a joke and so is this apology….not accepted by this phan.
This article lacked humor and was immature.
Even the editors are embarrassed by your article. Time to quit your day job heady sister…..

Sounds like you got served and are still in shock about it?

Big of you to apologize. Now it's time for everyone to move on and focus on bigger issues. I hope the fans just drop it now. Lauren was right in the sense that there are a lot of people out there who need help in recovery. She admitted that she missed the mark which is great.

The problem isn't so much, individually, with Lauren's Phish blogpost, but with the fact that every thing she writes has exactly the same tone. Not only is she not clever, but she's lazy and tiresome. The sooner Paula and Pamela put her out to pasture the better. She clearly does not belong in the same company with such quality journalists as Kevin Kelley, Ken Picard, Shay Totten, Eva Sollberger and others to whom I apologize for the omission. Her presence cheapens Seven Days.

Ah, I see now how dangerous it is to have a sense of humor about something so sacred as Phish. Can we suggest that many of these layman critics here not deal with the waste and atmosphere brought about by the many individuals that swarmed Burlington in anticipation of tickets going on sale? Of course! Of course! How dare anyone make an attempt at humor at the expense of any one community! Or is it not the fundamental element of caricature-based humor that most communities are eclectic in membership but have a thread that unifies them and lends itself to satire? I wasn't aware that Lesbians are comparable to Phish fans. I suppose they have both undergone the same degree of social oppression. Poor Phish fans. How dare you be ridiculed! How dare someone bring up the irony that a benefit concert attracts consumers that also need to be cleaned up after! I suppose if we are to call out those individuals we should do it frankly instead of appealing to their decades-old reputation and suggesting other means they can help (since they are CLEARLY going to the concert for the sake of helping the relief fund, not because they worship Phish in a way characteristically reserved for religious fanatics). I suppose anyone should be ashamed to ask even more of these people, after having come so far for such a good cause and purchasing so much of the Bob Marley Black Iced Tea from KKD. I respect your attempt to appease these fools Lauren but your original intention was in good spirits and your humor was not out of line.

Couldn't agree more with this sentiment: "Wow, forcing your writers to apologize for an article making fun of Phish fans? You've reached a new low Seven Days...."

Editors - you knew who Ms. Ober was when you hired her, her style of writing is satirical humor. Give me a break, get a back bone. I'm so embarrassed for you that you made your writer write a retraction.

It is at this point now that we will see the negative aspect of the Phish community come out. She apologized. I'm sure the immature comments will continue to pour in.


Phish fan with better things ti worry about.

Thanks for the second thoughts.

The real joke here is your writing, not the content of these blog posts.

You're "phorgiven"

Alright, now get back to helping out your fellow Vermonters, and stop your crappy writing. I'm sure you'll find lots of phans helping alongside you.

I don't believe you. you are only writing this because you my frie (wait why would i call you my friend?) are told do so by your higher ups. you do not mean it. I am not a fan of who you are or what you do. so take your fake apology to the gullible people. I for one am not. Thats like calling your whole seven days independent voice scumbag reporters that sit around and start crap. Although i do not believe this is true only YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE WHO I THINK IS A SCUMBAG REPORTER not everyone. So I am not stereotyping your whole "independent voice" JUST YOU. Thanks and have Grateful Day

Meh. Apologies are lame. Forget phish or their fans, you should be embarrassed about that article as a legitimate journalist. I'm not sure if any apology is going to teach you why that little write-up of yours was a travesty to journalism, but my guess is you care about as much about that as you do being forced to write an "apology." As a Mizzou J-school alum, I held my breath as I looked up Ober's education .. poor Syracuse. This is what the masters program produces? Seven Days' editors should be equally embarrassed to have let the original article through. I won't be returning to this site.

People should be upset by this. She generalized a community she obviously knows nothing about. While some of what she said may be true, the percent of those “phans” is small.

Every single person I know going to the show, including myself and others I met in line on Saturday have the phollowing:

Were in their 30’s – 40’s
Have steady 9-5 jobs
Have mortgages
Make Car payments
Have Children & Pets
Are active in their communities
Have already been part of Irene relief in some fashion and no contribution is too big or too small.

The article was in poor taste and unproductive.

Screw You Anyway.

Thanks for the thoughtful explanation of your intent. Comedy is always a risk, and it sometimes "phails: As a MA resident and Phish Phan coming up to donate time and $$$ both through buying my concert ticket but also by donating supplies & needed items, I appreciate your reconsideration/better explanation of your intent.

Thank you for the (accepted) apology. I do for one think it was necessary, given your original post. I think we can take a ribbing about the generalizations of Phish fans, but when you couple that with basically saying we are doing nothing to aid Vermont, you have crossed a line...even if it is in the name of satire.

I do regret the more juvenile comments you and 7 Days will be subject to from the more immature members of Phish's fan base. After seeing the band 107 times over 16 years, let me assure you, they do not represent the majority of the fans today. But of-course there is going to be bad apples.

Thanks again!!!

Zither, Rachel, cardamom, frost - But at what cost?
Threshold, skin, fortress, win - A life of sin
Pliers, tension, toy store, grace - The human race
Raking, fourteen, basket, screw - Now how 'bout you?
Passion, cardboard, raisin, stop - A better crop
Field, cater, open, new - Who's mocking who?

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