Blurt: Seven Days Staff Blog

NOTE: Blurt has been retired and is no longer updated regularly. For new content, follow these links:

OFF MESSAGE: Vermont News and Politics
BITE CLUB: Food and Drink Blog

« Alice Eats: Donny's NY Pizza & Sports Bar | Main | VIDEO: Migrant Farmworker Leader Detained; 3 Protesters Arrested; Gov. Shumlin Orders Investigation (Updated) »

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.

As it turns out, I can separate Phish from it's disgusting fans that pissed in my elevator and left heaps of trash all over my front stoop and wouldn't move out of the way so I could walk my dog. Not a SINGLE member of Phish did that, I'm pretty sure they were in their own homes, not pissing in my elevator!

Also, please do not try to tell me all these Phish fans came to stand in line to "make a donation" to Vermont's recovery effort. Bullshit, they would have been there standing in line if this concert was a benefit or if the money was going directly into the band's pocket. You are delusional if you think otherwise.

As for all the incredibly benevolent Phish fans that are currently eating free meals at the Salvation Army on Main Street after buying their $75 concert tickets? I'm pretty sure they aren't donating to my community, in fact, they are freeloading.

Everyone relax. No apologies are necessary for anything - all that does is come across as insincere since obviously the original article is exactly how you (Lauren) feel. Apologizing for Phish fans' comments in the comments is equally ridiculous. Of course people are gonna be pissed -- you're ripping on them using early 90's cliches you obviously plagiarized from old Rolling Stone articles before they're even showing up. You have at least 10,000 people at $75 a pop all coming to see a 3 1/2 hour concert for one night. If there are any fans of any band out there that are more philanthropic than Phish fans then I have yet to meet them. The entire point of your article goes without saying. And to the people saying the article is "satirical" need to pick up a dictionary stat.

Maybe the editors can assign Lauren to cover the show. Not only can she see the best rock n roll touring band around, get her dogs some hemp dog leashes and get stuffed on Cheetos - maybe she can recruit people to help in person (I know there are suggestions in the article, but as we all know, talking to people one on one is better). Meeting people at the show, recruiting, following up on who they helped and how -- now THAT'S a story!!

Remember, we're all in this together.

And THANK YOU PHISH for doing such a great thing for your home turf.

Thank you for your apology. Best advice I ever got about writing editorials, which I think applies here: "Always assume your opposing audience is both moral and intelligent."

Unfortunately the bridge you've been living under - Troll - did not wash out. Thank you for doing our part, and for contributing in the way you can. I saw that Waterbury needed help with sarcastic finger pointing. Come on down to Page Side and meet some of the fine folks who've been contributing positively to the community.

Interesting that Phish fans are still upset by a blog post that was mean to them, even after an apology. Meanwhile, they seem to think it's okay to make violent comments and slurs over the sexual orientation of the writer, here and on Twitter and on Lauren Ober's Facebook page.

I'm beginning to think Lauren's original post nailed it. What the hell is wrong with you people? Lauren said a few mean-sprited, stupid things about you. It wasn't hate speech. But you responded, like a mob, with PURE hate speech. Disgusting. Vermont doesn't need the help of homophobes. Shame on you all.

And if there are any reasonable, normal Phish fans who still take umbrage at Lauren's original generalizations -- how about you prove her wrong by denouncing the vile, awful things that your compatriots are saying?

I used to be into this scene, unfortunately. Got out late in college when I realized the music sucked and the people aren't the nice peaceful fun-lovin' hippies they want you to believe.

This is what the phans are like. here's a few threads from their number one message board, won't post directly what they said because it's so f'ed up.

Also check out the #phish hashtag on Twitter for more gems.

Too little, too late.

I hate writing forced apologies, too.

You would not have made this post if you had a good reaction to you piss poor article. You knew what you were doing from the start. Don't try to act like you didn't. This is the same thing as Someone who is drunk and does something stupid blaming it on the fact they were drunk. You fucked up but apology not accepted. If you want respect do better in the future, don't try to play it off like you were trying to be funny and inform people. I agree with you that people coming could do more then just wait in line for tickets. There is nothing worse then apologies that try to appease.

As an avid phamily member, young deadhead and aspiring journalist, all I have to say is lighten up! I was in line talking to the phans, most of which were young hippies, like myself, and many matched the stereotypes referenced in the article. She wasn't trying to be mean or rude or snarky, she was making fun of the stereotypes, not the fans themselves and was issuing a call to a 'stereotypically' helpful group of people to HELP! If you go on tour during the summer, whether you follow furthur, phish or just the biggest festivals, you're part of a movement that's supposed to be about love, peace and acceptance... why do you find it so hard to step back and take a look at the sea of tye died dreadheads that you sway in and realize that people think that phans fit the description in the article because a lot of them actually do... and there's NOTHING wrong with that. Also, it's a blog... blogs are editorial, don't just her journalistic integrity by an editorial piece.


I was responding to this comment you made: "The writer of the blog post that is making everyone so postal never said anything bad about Phish...", when I commented about separating the two.

There are bad apples in every bunch. But, you're generalizing too much. We're all disgusting to you? Phish fans, some of whom have probably toiled by your side in concerted efforts to restore VT, are not perfect. But what community is? Just like the article, you're making unfair generalizations about a group of people based on their musical interests and your personal encounter with a few fans.

It goes without saying that fans would line up to see Phish play in their home state whether it's to benefit VT or not. I don't know why you think I'd argue that. In the case of this benefit concert, the end justifies the means (despite the bad apples). The money raised and economic boost still may not be enough, but maybe it will inspire non-local fans to stick around and help to repair communities. It's certain to raise awareness and help propel VT recovery in a positive, proactive direction (despite the bad apples).

"As for all the incredibly benevolent Phish fans that are currently eating free meals at the Salvation Army on Main Street after buying their $75 concert tickets? I'm pretty sure they aren't donating to my community, in fact, they are freeloading."

Seriously...if you feel so strongly about this, why not go there and give them a piece of your mind instead of venting about it in the comment section of a blog? I don't think anyone would argue that they deserve condemnation. Stand up for your beliefs and your community. Take Action!


Yin and Yang:

Nick NickNick Nick. :facepalm: what are you talking about?

Loren, I think your initial article was perfectly fine. I don't understand why my fellow Phans are taking themselves so seriously. Every stereotype you used is a stereotype for a reason. We've all seen those people on lot, and there will surely be many of those people in Vermont for the fundraising show. You rightfully provided several examples of how and where people could lend a hand. It's a shame that you received such a backlash for your post. It's not like the Wooks and Lot Rats that you described to a "T" are known for their exemplary community service. So to everyone who freaked out and made Loren's life hell over the last couple of days: get over yourselves. Your petty self-righteous indignation only serves to reinforce the negative stereotypes of Phish fans. If you want to prove her wrong, get off your ass and help the folks in need. Otherwise, go cry in your bong and continue to be the laughing stock of the scene. If you actually cared so much about what other people think of you maybe you would actually shower once in a while, buy your own tickets every now and then, and not try to bum a schwill from everyone that walks by with a beer. You people are retarded.

Phish fans as usual prove they have no sense of humor when it comes to anyone criticizing their beloved band or community of devoted followers. The band is able to attract these people to spend their money for a good cause- yippee. Thats a given. Phish is their religion, and I suppose its a good thing that they are getting the fans to spend their money in a more responsible way. Personally, I think most of these fans are hiding behind the bands' ability to raise money for a good cause so that they can simply have another excuse to escape from their daily lives and add another nerd statistic to their ticket counts or set-lists, but who cares. Criticizing a Phish fan is always going to stir up the herd because they band together like a freakish cult.

Lauren Ober is an amazing, satirical and talented writer and the fact that she hit the sensitive button for a fanatical fan base proves her talent and worth.

The hatred spewed at her is disgusting and unwarranted. Really- you want to threaten someone's job over this, people? Or threaten the writer's well-being? Over what, exactly? A blog post? Get over yourselves already.

The original post still shows that you get what you pay for with a free "News" paper.

What's sad is that this many people even read Lauren Ober's posts.

I understand why, but its lame you had to apologize. You did entertain. You did inform. The satire was lost on these folks, or not appreciated. Must have smoked away those receptors. ZING!!! LOLOLOMAFOBRB420.

Her article was out of line and I think she learned her lesson. Fans may have gotten out of line, but you stereotyped them, so they stereotyped you. Truce.

Yes, having a dialogue with Phish fans in this comment section has proven to be so useful. I think I'll go talk to more of them at the Salvation Army. Give me a break.

The Phish fans outside my building were not the only ones who left a huge mess while waiting in line. There was a wake of trash and pot smoke for blocks when they were gone. You are fooling yourself if you think otherwise. While that may not be all Phish fans, it was certainly the VAST majority of those who were standing in line for tickets this week.

The author of the original blog post never said anything bad about Phish, nor am I. I think it is an INCREDIBLY generous thing they are doing for Vermont. Not only that, but I think Phish has given back to Vermont in many, many ways. I don't in any way think Phish is to blame for the filth their fans left for blocks in Burlington after waiting in line for tickets. I certainly think Phish and their fans can be separated. I don't think the guys in Phish would condone the amount of headache their fans caused in Burlington while they waited in line, the free meals they are taking advantage of at the SA or the hate speech that is now being hurled at the author of the post. I'm guessing (and I certainly dont know) that Phish would VERY much want to separate themselves from their fans when they are throwing around homophobic slurs and threatening a journalist.

As one who DID muck out a neighbor's basement and participate in other benefit efforts, I'm happy to see an apology. The assumption that no one (out of 12,000) going to the show assisted in the clean up was a sad and immature leap. Looking forward to the show!

"phish fans, don't take yourselves so seriously?", bout "Vermonters, don't take yourselves so seriously?"
Do you think you are the only people affected by a natural disaster in the last 50 yrs? How dare you sit up on highhorses and dictate where and how your relief should come from, and then defend someone who carelessly blogged. New Orleans embraced every inch of help they could get, and in return thanked volunteers, givers, and helpers. "it is not you, but phish who are donating the money", how in the heck do you think they are gonna give the funds, out of their own pockets? it will come from the people. when you poke fun at someone or something on the internet, relaying the "intent" is very difficult when you dont put "lol" or something to that extent after the quotes. How many times have you felt stupid for posting a comment on facebook, or sending someone a text and the emotion gets lost because you carelessly type? Saying this or that band sucks, or this or that fan sucks is just pointless rubbish...the real deal here is the attitude in which the help is being treated with. This natural disaster was terrible for a lot of people, but it has now become "worse" due to this kind of behavior. You are lucky Babylon didn't burn burn burn

As long as a band such as Phish are around, they will continue to visit many communities.
Vermont, and Burlington, it is your with it.

And here is PRECISELY why I wouldn't engage with Phish fans at the Salvation Army:

"Maura is a street walking whore. i paid her $20 for a BJ and she said she loved the pot smoke wafting down the street. she even took a hit off my bong. it was a bong, however, it waqs my cock with a ring on it! lol fooled you! go back to turning tricks and STFU MAURA!"

So eloquent and original, well spoken and really able to engage on the issue at hand.

HaHaHaHaHa!! My plan to totally destroy Gamehendge, the Lizards and the entire Wook Nation is nearly complete. Little do you know, it was I who summoned Irene from the Baltic Sea through the use of Heady Crystals and Patchwork Pants. The destruction is phuckin' perfectly planned and completely insane. All that remains is the Time Turns Elastic Opener.

With Hate,
Your Seething King

Vote Perry in 2012

"I didn't intend to minimize their contribution, OR THOSE OF CONCERTGOERS FROM IN AND OUT OF STATE."

no, that's exactly what you intended to do.

For those of you asking (over and over again) what Lauren Ober has done to help Vermont, start here:

For the many of you who keep referring to Ober's blog post as an "article," try to wrap your skulls around the idea that there's a different between op/ed and reporting.

Lauren Ober, I love reading your work. I might not always agree, but I'm thankful that snarky voices are given a chance to be heard in Vermont. People need to lighten up, including whoever encouraged an apology.

"Opinions expressed on our staff blog do not necessarily reflect the views of editors or staff at Seven Days."

A hackneyed, unfunny, but ultimately harmless misfire like this is the one you finally put this disclaimer on? Really?

So you write an article you think is "epic", realize what a complete and total idiot you are, then backpedal when you realize you are hurting your blog's readership? Stand behind your words or get out of the blog business.

Everything Ober writes is offensive. This one gets an apology and a disclaimer just because it's about Phish?

Please ENOUGH of Lauren Ober and her snarky comments. This is the second "story" I have read where she is making fun of tourists, who come to VT and put $ into our local economy. Seriously, I can't believe seven days keeps her around. Don't you folks realize that the tourists help keep your paper thriving? Get rid of her!

You want to hear irony? I replace "Phish fan" with "lesbian" from this hack's second paragraph, post it in this comment stream, and guess what? It gets moderated. I guess its good enough for their 8th tier "journalists" to write it in their paper, but as soon as someone else copies it, word for word, well, you gotta draw the line somewhere, huh?

This rag has ZERO journalistic integrity. I'm glad the boycott of Seven Days' advertisers is still in place.

"Please ENOUGH of Lauren Ober and her snarky comments. This is the second "story" I have read where she is making fun of tourists, who come to VT and put $ into our local economy."

Yes, Lauren Ober is the only local to ever make fun of tourists. Ever.

"You want to hear irony? I replace "Phish fan" with "lesbian" from this hack's second paragraph, post it in this comment stream, and guess what? It gets moderated"

God, you Phish fans need to stop acting like an oppressed minority. Lesbians have to live with the eternal threat of violence from pea-brained thugs (like the "phans" who were posting the c word and the d word on Ober's Facebook page all day long yesterday). Phish fans have to live with people making fun of their drug usage and body odor. Not the same thing.

(Also, pretty sure that post was moderated, because it ended with a "You suck. Stop writing," dipshit. Again -- you're SO oppressed. Poor Phish fan.)

"I'm glad the boycott of Seven Days' advertisers is still in place."

You think all the local businesses will pull their ads from a paper they've advertised with for a decade, just because a few out-of-state pothead kids who spend too much time on the Internet told them to? Hmm.

"how in the heck do you think they are gonna give the funds, out of their own pockets? it will come from the people. "

Stop it. This show would have sold out just as quickly even if it wasn't a benefit, and everyone knows it. Stop pretending that going to a Phish show is some grand generous gesture. People aren't going to do some wonderful thing for Vermont, they're going because they like Phish and they want to have a good time -- which is fine! But the members of the band are the ones kindly donating the money.

"God, you Phish fans need to stop acting like an oppressed minority."

Man, look at this myopic moron thinking that only their plights are the ones that matter. You think no one has ever been harassed, attacked, or killed because someone perceived them as a dirty hippy? You think that every group of outsiders has not had it as bad as you, and therefore deserves the unwarranted attacks they get? You think that people who work every day don't talk about a certain aspect of their lifestyle because it might cause people to have false assumptions? Do you even hear yourself? Or do you think that now that less people are listening to this story of a failed journalism student biting the hand that is feeding her community you get to say the last word?

You think the same as detractors against homosexuals, you use innuendo and the specter of people not following the rules of society to belittle those around you. Everyone has done it, but what makes it particularly disgusting in your case is your small minded civics that thinks whats good enough for the goose isn't good enough for the gander.

"like the "phans" who were posting the c word and the d word on Ober's Facebook page all day long yesterday"

AND like those who lack the brain power to actually engage a group of people instead of lumping them into a stereotype, you expect me to defend assholes who happen to be in the group. You are just like a homophobe, you're just too stupid to realize it.

"Phish fans have to live with people making fun of their drug usage and body odor. Not the same thing...

Stop pretending that going to a Phish show is some grand generous gesture."

As proclaimed by the grand douche of Seven Days. Mental midgets like yourself and the not-so-illustrious hack author on this byline assume to know the mind of other people, when in reality your words only serve to show the narrow contents of your own.

You're a phony and full of shit.

"Also, pretty sure that post was moderated, because it ended with a "You suck. Stop writing," dipshit. "

Hilarious. This is obviously someone behind the scenes of this piece of shit publication. This is the complete lack of integrity here. She does suck. She should stop writing. That is offensive? But calling a commenter a "dipshit" is allowed as long as its the friend of one of the editors? Thanks for proving my point.

You think advertisers need a good reason to drop advertising on a pasted together rag, seemingly produced by a grade school, to your 300 regular readers? Your dumb stereotyping is what gets you in trouble here. You see, we are professionals, we are adults, we not only patronize some of the businesses which throw their $250 at this crap pile, but we RUN some of those businesses too. Some live in Jersey, New York, and Connecticut (which were all devastated by the same hurricane, I might add), but A LOT of us also live in Vermont.

You've lost so much more than you could ever hope to gain here.

I'm glad Phish did this show and raised tons of money, and I'm sure some of the phans volunteered while here. I'm also glad Lauren apologized for her post, and that she's done plenty of volunteering too.

Deep breaths, everyone. Positive vibes from here on. Time to move on, still lots of good work to be done to make VT perfect again! :)

Really? Really? I have so many problems with this.
First: are you trustafarian rainbow children really so used to the "universe" giving you exactly what you want that you can't tolerate one person's caricature of you, without crying foul? Get over yourselves. It was obviously meant to be funny. Let's just call a spade a spade; most of the caricature was accurate. I'm sure it doesn't apply to all Phish fans, but that's why they call it caricature people. You take the most obvious characteristics and exaggerate them. No need to get your panties in a twitch.
Second: I think that Phish throwing a concert to support those affected by Irene is wonderful. I think anyone who buys a ticket with that in mind is compassionate. Do I think for one second that the majority of fans, especially those driving in from out of state, are coming because they want to donate to Irene victims? Not for a second. If they wanted to donate money they could do it online from NJ or CO in the blink of an eye. But that's the whole point of the concert - to offer an incentive to cough up some cash for Irene victims. That's just human nature...not everyone gives to relief efforts, but a lot of folks spend money on Phish tickets. And so was born the benefit concert... Let's get off that high horse and stop pretending that Phish fans are so altruistic that they're coming here just to support the cause.
Third: To all the comments about Ms. Ober's poor journalism skills and writing...what context are you reading this in? This is a BLOG, listed under OPINION. It's meant to be written in her own voice and is allowed to be tongue-in-cheek. It's not a formal article. She's not writing about Islamabad for heaven's sake. It's a blog entry about her thoughts on this benefit. What were you expecting?
Fourth: Seven Days your supreme awesomeness just got taken down a notch. You were Ben & Jerry's and now you're just Breyers. The fact that you had to print that Editor's Note is just so weak. Have the balls and loyalty to stand behind your writer and support her writing her truth, rather then cowering under the criticism of a few angry critics. Let her write the apology fine, but to add the note was just so...insulting. Since when have your writers had to fear thinking outside majority opinion? Weaksauce. Might as well read the Burlington Free Press.

I will continue reading Ms. Ober, because if everything out there was as sterile as political correctness would have it be, the world of print would be a whole lot duller and less provocative.

Lets look at another point of view here:
Irene, if you didnt know, passed through the outer banks of North Carolina as well.
My home, neighbors homes, destroyed....the school where our children go to learn, destroyed....our church where we worship, destroyed...our community gardens, destroyed....our local businesses, destroyed....our lives, forever changed.....our possessions, lost.....
NO ONE threw a benefit concert in our behalf, (and one of the members of phish is from here), no one is volunteering from other places to help clean up, and no one seems to even remember this natural disaster struck other people.
I GUARANTEE if a concert was thrown to help us raise money or a webcast of said concert was held to raise additional funds we would accept with open arms the band, the fans from other places, and the dignity in which we would be given.
The arguments on both sides of this debate where one side has been called "dirty" and the other side "clean" is discouraging to the human spirit. Write what you want to and respond to said writing as you want to, but that will not help people who were DIRECTLY affected by this storm to help put clothes back on us, food in us, or shelter from the next.
We as a country have no problem sending funds to help other places when disaster strikes. When the problems hit us, why is the little thing like a benefit concert the debate topic of the week?
No one is right or wrong here, what is wrong, however, is the lows we have sunk to just to have our voices heard and to stereotype each other.

Lauren I thought it was hilarious.

Some people need to grow a thicker skin, any and everything will offend someone. I don't think you should worry about it to much.

your writing is horrifying. -a journalism grad

I will not be picking up another copy of Seven Days until Lauren no longer writes for this paper. This is only one example of her poor writing and even poorer taste. It is just so ignorant. I have lost all respect for this paper and its editors.

That's "failure", not "phail", as in: "Your journalistic attempt at humor was hampered by your failure to write well".

If this is the tack 7Days editors are taking, then this blogger should have issued an apology for all her mean-spirited posts. It's a shame her readership has to bear the brunt of all that latent venom and bitterness.

Just to be sure, I went back and re-read the original article. Indeed, people who think Phish phans lack a sense of humor are clearly wrong: they detected the complete lack of humor in the article quite well.

Lauren Ober is probably a nice person, but her writing skills are not up to the task at hand. Successful satire requires more than sarcasm and exaggeration. Apologies are nice, but besides the point. Someone who writes so poorly that they offend people unintentionally is simply a bad writer. Attempt less demanding literary forms... or leave writing to those talented enough to do the job correctly.

It really doesn't matter what you say about Phish. If you don't get it, we don't expect you to. The problem with your piece is it won't inspire anyone to help. It creates spite over the issue and your readers become an enemy of your ideas. Now you've insulted every single person you're asking to help and they won't respect your opinions. I'm glad your superiors had this retraction printed. It shows they may have some respect for the members of the band as natives and for their readers that are also fans of the group. Both fans and band are extending their generosity. Do you want help or to laugh in their collective face? Oh, and satire should be funny, by the way. Maybe you should find a job at The Onion when you learn that.

This is america and cash is king. $1.2 million was raised and probably about that mich was pumped into the economy just by having us "phans" come to vermont. You just about committed journalistic suicide by your ignorance. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Oh the hypocrisy.

All of the phish fans sitting here spewing hate at Lauren for her "hateful" comments.

Remember kids, this is your brain on drugs....

$1.2 Million and counting

Oh that looks like a comment that should be deleted.

Come on Delicious, you can't express yourself so you resort to dumb, and "you suck."

Aren't you late for study hall?

original article, annoying and cliche. apology, accepted, though probably suggested by clones from above. don't be meanspirited next time. so headdy brah.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Stuck in VT (VIDEOS)

Solid State (Music)

Mistress Maeve (Sex)

All Rights Reserved © Da Capo Publishing Inc. 1995-2012 | PO Box 1164, Burlington, VT 05402-1164 | 802-864-5684