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© 2004 The Beast

It’s hard to take the Buffalo News sometimes, but there’s always one good thing about it—it sucks.

That may not make sense to you, but to minor league journalists such as we at the BEAST, it often helps to read a few columns in the News, and to realize that yes, we are good enough to make it. Maybe even too good.

But nobody has done more for my self-esteem in such a short time than Mary Kunz, the News’ “fresh voice,” who has recently been promoted to regular columnist, for reasons I can’t even guess at (though I suspect an intimate relationship with an editor or a deal with Lucifer might be involved). In fact, Kunz’ detestably nauseous drivel makes Donn Esmonde look like Pulitzer Prize candidate.

Her columns are like horrible, drawn out automobile tragedies—I don’t want to look, but can’t tear my eyes away as this vacuous woman crashes and burns in piece after piece. It’s as ugly as it is odd—Kunz’ ill-informed and poorly written “insights” aren’t worthy of a college newspaper, and the News is embarrassing itself even more than usual. Frankly, it raises my ire to dangerous levels to see a “writer” so hopelessly overwhelmed by the task of assimilating information and producing a coherent article.

I can just imagine the demographic profile of a perfect Kunz reader—not quite bright enough for Dave Barry; not quite hateful enough for Rush Limbaugh. Young enough to want to stay hip, but too old or just plain stupid to succeed. Tries to appear urbane, but secretly wishes that all non-white non-Christian non-heterosexuals would just spontaneously evaporate.

The inspiration for my hatred is Mary’s latest column. Called “Drivers with an outlaw mentality,” it seriously made me want to defecate—good thing I was on the crapper when I read it. The piece was an urgent message to readers about a stunning new problem Kunz has discovered only recently: people drive like assholes. Seriously, that’s it. The tired content wouldn’t even make a decent installment of the News’ wonderfully demented “My View” section. Kunz tediously recounts the details of every traffic infraction to have occurred within her view, and even evokes the mirage of the good old days, when people didn’t drive like assholes, as if it were ever so.

All I can say is that Kunz had better not attempt to drive in New York, Boston, or any number of cities in our great nation, or she might be tempted to write a series of books about her flabbergasting yet irrelevant experiences with such savages. She’d better not leave Buffalo at all, really, but I have a feeling that’s not going to happen anyway.

Then there’s Mary’s insipid “Buzz” column, which was always dumb but didn’t annoy me quite so much before her emergence as WNY’s new dunce of prominence. Check out this line from her latest: “When did Edritos close? What is Buffalo coming to when a cheap taco joint can't make a buck?”

Mary, Edritos didn’t close—they moved, to Main St. downtown; not because they weren’t making money, but because their lease ran out and their landlord chose not to extend it. You would know that, of course, if you were a real Elmwood strip regular, instead of a sheltered suburban imposter

Then there’s this line: “Jimmie Mac's [sic], which just can't accept the new non-smoking laws, has taped big signs about freedom to its windows. What is this place, the Rosa Parks of gin mills? Buzz's advice: Have a beer and get over yourselves.”

This quote is an example of a running theme in Mary’s work—people protesting the government’s policies are just irritating show-offs, and we have better things to pay attention to. Dissenters should “sit down and shut up,” as she said in her ill-informed and quasi-fascistic rant against germ artist Steve Kurtz, the deer-feeding lady, and that guy in Hamburg who won’t use clear trash bags. "We enjoy demonstrations a bit too much and too indiscriminately,” she writes. “Fame can be addicting. And, unfortunately, someone loses his place in the spotlight if he backs down," Right—Kurtz was really getting off on all the attention.

It gets worse: “It might be possible to use terrorism books and E. coli in art - but do you really have to? Can't you just use oils? Especially now that we're at war…?” Pathetic, ignorant, unsophisticated trash. “I'm not calling for an end to artistic freedom,” she goes on, “I'm just saying, like a stressed mom to a naughty tot, that now is not a good time.”

Hear that, everyone? Freedom of expression is okay, sort of, but not right now, or any other time when it really counts. She’s not calling for an end to such freedom, just a brief hiatus until we get this terrorism thing worked out, which shouldn’t be long, right? Kunz’ troglodytic admonition to Kurtz is not that of “a stressed mom to a naughty child,” as she says; it’s more like a retarded cosmetician lecturing…a college professor.

Running against the grain is just in poor taste in Mary’s book. Except, that is, for one downtrodden minority, which she happens to be a member of—Republicans. Everyone I know who had the misfortune of reading Kunz’ “humorous” fluffaganda column of August 3 entitled “Dirty secret revealed: I'm a Republican!” had to remark upon its sheer banality and utter stupidity. Kunz, obviously disgusted with the inclusive language of the Democratic National Convention, decided it would be humorous to “come out” as a Republican, as if she were gay—revealing a deep misunderstanding of the level of social rejection gay people face, and her own obvious prejudices regarding them. Kunz gleefully declares her opposition to abortion and support for the war in Iraq. She also seems to think we’re surprised. “My confession,” she declares, “must come as a shock to many. People think to be a Republican you have to drive a pickup. They think you can't like decent music.” Actually, Mary, we just think you have to be ignorant, intolerant, and narrow-minded. Or extremely rich.

Listen, Kunz, if you want to be surrounded by naïve Bush-boosters such as yourself, go back to the suburbs (I hear they drive nicer too). You see, urban people have a rich variety of experience, which leads to a more nuanced understanding of societal issues.

If you look at a map of red and blue counties, you can see that it’s the cities that are blue, throughout the nation, floating in a sea of sparsely populated rural redness. The reason behind this is the same reason that most professors and journalists are liberals: they actually know what they’re talking about. On the other hand, it must be nice to dispense with all of that knowledge, and just adopt an opinion based on whatever makes you most comfortable. And now there are those great cable news channels to help you along!

Then again, speaking of cable news, maybe the Buffalo News is way ahead of me here. Perhaps Kunz is their “Fair and Balanced” decoy, the Democrat’s equivalent of the lame-ass “liberal” ambulatory props found on Fox News and MSNBC, legitimizing biased news sources with ineffective, easily dismissed ‘opposing’ arguments. Is Kunz the News’ smugger version of Alan Colmes? Or is she a genuine lobotomized Ann Coulter? Whatever the truth may be, she’s sure making Donn Esmonde and Jeff Simon look good. Hell, Kunz even makes Cal Thomas seem smart. And she also makes The BEAST look, well, like the most thoughtful, well-researched and literate paper in town. Not saying much, perhaps.

So have a beer on me, Mary, and get over yourself. Your insipid bullshit will always make me feel better—about me. There’s no point in denying it, though; you will always have an audience as long as you continue to be an idiot. You’re the kind of writer that idiots love—provincial and smirky, substituting flippance for substance. It makes sense that you’re a Republican, since the President is probably the only politician out there whose logic you can follow.

Sit down and shut up, you dumb Kunz. I hate you!



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