What’s your job?
“I’m arts editor at the Twin Cities Daily Planet, and I contribute as a freelancer to a variety of publications—including Vita.mn, where I post weekly under the ‘Last Night’ tag. I also teach sociology online for Rasmussen College.”
Other than your job, what are your claims to fame?
“In January, I co-founded a creative writing blog called The Tangential, which has become widely-read enough that a rapidly increasing number of people seem to think of me as ‘Jay from The Tangential’ rather than ‘Jay from the Daily Planet.’ I’m also a cast member on Freaky Deeky, in which capacity I’ve danced in my underwear onstage in the First Avenue Mainroom, at the 7th Street Entry, at Patrick’s Cabaret—and, oh yeah, on live TV. People also like to introduce me by saying that I wrote Sociology for Dummies and pointing out that I’m inclined to wear relatively short shorts. And I was voted best tweeter of 2011 by the readers of Vita.mn, which I use as an excuse when I want to get out of a conversation. ‘I’m sorry, but I have to go tweet something right now. Gotta reputation to keep up!’”
What’s your relationship status?
“I’m dating someone who doesn’t live in Minnesota. Yes, she actually exists.”
Where are you most likely to be seen?
“According to Foursquare, this month I’ve made the most stops at the University of Minnesota’s Rarig Center (for the Minnesota Fringe Festival), Milio’s sub shop on Franklin Avenue (right next to the Daily Planet office), Liquor Lyle’s (a.k.a. The Tangential Clubhouse), the Triple Rock Social Club (I rarely miss a Triple Double Tuesday), and Clubhouse Jäger. In short: theaters, bars, rock clubs, and sub shops.”
Where are you least likely to be seen?
“In a canoe, a kayak, or a tent—though I have a premonition that may be changing soon. If and when it does, I’ll be sure to blog about it.”
With what people are you most likely to be seen?
Where were you born?
“I made my official debut in what is now Fairview Hospital in Minneapolis—though my parents were then living in the Mac-Groveland neighborhood of St. Paul. We moved to Duluth when I was six years old, then when I was 11, my parents bought from my grandfather the house my dad grew up in, near the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul’s Merriam Park neighborhood. My parents still live there.”
In what neighborhood do you live now?
“I live in what most people would think of as the north end of Uptown Minneapolis, near Franklin and Lyndale. Technically, it’s the Loring Heights side of the Stevens Square/Loring Heights neighborhood—the smallest of Minneapolis’s 81 officially recognized neighborhoods, squeezed between Franklin and I-94 just east of Lyndale. I like to call it ‘the panic room of Minneapolis,’ because people realize the space is there if they stop and think about it, but it’s never occurred to them that anything would actually be there. Other notable current residents of Loring Heights include The Tangential’s Becky Lang and artist/singer/songwriter Bethany DeLine; notable past residents of the neighborhood include Prince and Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead, who in fact lived in my house.”
What’s your ride?
“A red Schwinn.”
What’s the best way for someone to start a conversation with you?
“Disagree with one of my reviews.”
My friend Sophie just forwarded an e-mail that I sent to her in September 2009.
The living situation finally seems to be stable, and at the moment I’m crazy busy with four jobs: (1) Ye Olde Daily Planet, (2) teaching sociology, psychology, and (!) early childhood education at Rasmussen College, the premier for-profit technical college in the upper Midwest (and Florida), (3) writing Sociology for Dummies, and (4) still, believe it or not, writing for Go2, this crazy little company that offers event recommendations via a tiny site you’re meant to go to on your cellular telephone. HOWEVER, (1) may go bust within the calendar year (let alone the academic year), (2) is part-time adjunct, (3) will be over in November, and (4) pays $100 a month. So we’ll just see how things look by the time the snow starts to fall.
I don’t really have a typical day, but I at least have kind of a typical week for the next couple of months.
MONDAY: Daily Planet meetings all day.
TUESDAY: Write 1/3 of a Dummies chapter, write half of the Daily Planet’s weekly arts newsletter.
WEDNESDAY: Write the other half of the arts newsletter and prepare for Rasmussen class, which takes place on Wednesday night.
THURSDAY: Write 1/3 of a Dummies chapter, answer e-mails and post stories.
FRIDAY: Write 1/3 of a Dummies chapter, answer e-mails and post stories.
SATURDAY: Post Daily Planet headlines newsletter in the AM.
SUNDAY: Post Daily Planet headlines newsletter in the PM.
TIME OTHERWISE UNACCOUNTED FOR: hang out, watch/listen to things to review, answer e-mails and post stories, sleep, drink, &c. Sometimes eat.
So how’s this all going now?
(1) The Daily Planet is still going! Huzzah for us.
(2) I’m still teaching at Rasmussen—but now online rather than on campus, which is very convenient given that I no longer own a car.
(3) Published! Buy a copy and bring the publisher $1 closer to recouping my advance.
(4) Shortly after I wrote this e-mail, my editor at Go2 started changing my posts to include corny little things I’d never say, so I quit. Shortly after that, the company went under. Coincidence?
- Drive-thru guy: How are you doing tonight?
- Courtney: Good! You?
- Drive-thru guy: Great, now that you're here!
- Courtney: Aww.
- Drive-thru guy: We're cooking some fresh nuggets for you. It'll just be a minute.
- Courtney: Great.
- Drive-thru guy: They'll be the bomb dot com. [goes back inside]
- Courtney: I've been here like, five times. He loves me.
- Drive-thru guy: [emerges, waves bags of food back and forth to fake Courtney out]
- Courtney: Whoop. Whoop. Whoop! You got me.
- Drive-thru guy: [relinquishes bags] Come back any time now. We'll leave the lights on for you! [goes back inside]
- Courtney: That was some next-level shit right there.
I don’t believe I used to illustrate music reviews with phone pictures.
God, that show was two years ago already?
Jeez, I totally made that a positive review just because my ex-girlfriend liked that singer.
Wow, I was really drunk when I wrote that one. Wonder if anyone could tell.
Oh, yeah! I forgot all about meeting Alan Alda.
I’m 36 years and five days old.
Earlier tonight, I was listening to The Chronic, an album that’s—like all gangsta rap—very controversial, albeit in this case widely acclaimed on the basis of Dr. Dre’s innovative production and his rapping, along with that of Snoop Dogg.
In the very first track, Dre and Snoop thank all the “niggas” who have supported them. At one point, Snoop mentions “niggas and nigettes.” That struck me as a typically Snoop way to take a common slang term and make it his own, an example of the lyrical skill that he’s often praised for. As an offhand—clearly, far too offhand—observation, I tweeted, “You know what phrase you haven’t heard a lot of since The Chronic? ‘Niggas and nigettes.’”
My intent was to refer to that specific formulation by Snoop Dogg, in a hip-hop context, and not to the term “niggas” or any variant generally. I know that term is still heard very often in many contexts—some intended to be friendly, some intended to be appallingly hateful—and is never a term to be taken lightly. My tweet was both overly ambiguous and, besides that, poorly judged and unnecessary. (As it happens, I wrote about the album at some length this spring, in a post that constitutes a more considered discussion of The Chronic specifically and gangsta rap generally.) I did not mean to implicitly or explicitly celebrate a term with a uniquely horrible history, and I sincerely apologize to my friends and followers for my error in judgment.
I turned to a couple of friends to seek advice on how to handle this situation, and one of them wrote in a text, “Maybe it just seemed like a white person presuming they could say that. I think that just hits hard still, and always will.”
I would delete the tweet, but I don’t want to sweep this matter under the rug. It happened, and I’m sorry.
Ubbe Ert Iwwerks
Kat Von D
Isaac Kaufmann Funk
Jenna von Oÿ
Count Ludwig Joseph von Boos-Waldeck
Isabel: Happy birthday, Jay!
Me: Thanks! And you know how I’m celebrating?
Isabel: BY DRINKING!!!
Me: Well, yes…and also by seeing your show!
Isabel: Oh, really? Cool!
In character as Jon Arbuckle last night on Freaky Deeky, with Evan Lefavor as Garfield and Carolyn Kopecky as Odie. Photos by Canadian Bacon.