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Joseph Mailander Steps Down at Martini Republic

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Water-coloring, jazz-listening, horse track-attending, local politics-loving, cocktail-making, Joseph Mailander is stepping down from the blog he helped form, the Martini Republic.

LAist has the exclusive interview with one of our favorite LA bloggers who dares say something about the Yankees which we recommend that you ignore as we have done.

LAist: There appears to be some major changes in Martini Republic, namely I see that you are not the Editor of the site any more. Is that true?

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Joseph Mailander: Yes. Right now, Martini Republic is an editorial vacuum. My guess is that Alex will pick up the reigns, and lean on TS a bit for hands-on stuff, and that there will be uneven editing for a while, but people there will find a new-found respect for it.

But it's important, Tony, for people who might be surprised by this news to remember that I still co-own the site. As a matter of fact, I can see how I might be able to sell the site to advertisers as an owner in a way that I wouldn't as editor or participant. For instance, the site now might be willing to ditch the long-time "no political ads" policy.

Also I see that the Angeleno blog tab has been removed, is that permanent?

Yes. Angeleno blog was mostly me, and the Drinks blog was mostly me this past year, and I'll take the two of those with me, first to my new temp blog (which I admittedly put together in some haste last night---I don't really know how blogspot works yet), but later to a new project I have in the works.

Does this have anything to do with the violence in MacArthur Park this week?

It does likely all have to do with the various torrents of spring, yes.

Does this mean that you will be spending more time on the Mayor Sam blog?

That's a good question. If I get the kind of readers I'd like at "mainbrace" and especially at the next blog, I'll probably be present at the Mayor's site about as much as I currently am, about twice or three times a week. But hey---if I fail at the new ventures, sure, I'll be there at LA's best political site more. I love MayorSam. It's a vital blog here in the City.

Over the years, which bloggers and commentors were the biggest pains in your ass?

that answer and 18 more including which LA street gang's colors he wears... after the jump...

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Over the years, which bloggers and commentors were the biggest pains in your ass?

Do you mean inside the blog or outside of it!? Roderick has been a pain, sure. But I've given up on him ever being a nice guy to me, so I'm at peace with it these days.

But far and away, the biggest pain in the ass has been my own partner at MR, Alex, a relentlessly-bellicose anony-toper who contributes to the blog whenever he likes, does absolutely nothing administratively or marketing-wise, undercuts me whenever I suggest the slightest different direction for him, and thinks his two links a month from Crooks and Liars run the blog. An enormous pain, I tell you!

Commenters never have bothered me. I would typically email even the most stridently hostile and assure them that they were valued and that the name of the game was interactivity and dialog.

We have a commenter at our blog, Hubert Wilson or something---he actually writes poems around some of our news postings. That's not a pain in the ass, but it was certainly unique.

Truthfully, as far as general pains, I've never liked anonybloggers, but ironically I've been obliged to work with three of them at MR. I find anonybloggers just don't have enough of a stake in things to truly care about the business end. They just want their say and that's it. They're just there to spout whatever they feel they need to---which often makes them entertaining, but almost never viable.

How long had you been writing and editing Martini Republic?

The site's three year anniversary is June 30. It used to be in the beginning that we had four people who knew each other well and there was not much editing to do and not much incoming swag and RFPs and inquiries and not a lot of anything but straight writing. Now that the site has more posters, it gets more attention from newsmakers and pr people, and it needs more singular editorial vision, and Alex and I disagree about it. So it's better for me, far more nimble at setting up blogs, to go elsewhere. But I will likely continue to shape that vision even at MR, by hook or crook, even though I won't be doing the hands on editing and administrating, and none of the writing there anymore. It will work a lot better. And there is a certain power of the purse.

Is it true that this move is a way for you to pursue a career in watercoloring?

If it were to end up that way, that would be a dream life! But alas, I've sold more print articles this year than I have watercolors.

What is your overall feeling toward LA blogs today?

I like where I'm at with them, and it's really cool to have some kind of a hand in not one but multiple, but I think especially writers under 40 are habitually shortsighted about what will truly be helpful to them as writers, and it shows most in the blogosphere.

There is nothing better than a good, hands-on editor until you're about 40, and bloggers especially don't like submitting to any kind of less-hip but maybe wizened editorial hand. So they game their sites for links instead, which can be a kind of fake editing; suddenly, you're linkers are your editors.

Look at it this way, Tony, knowning that this is a town with a lot of hungry young writers who dabble in the blogosphere. What even hustling people don't understand much in LA so far is that there's three parts to blogging: readership, influence, linkage---and you should aspire to work all three. Generally, people if they're good can get two of three easily: but work for influence and linkage, and readership suffers, because those are the two worst dependencies to have, and you're always behelden to someone; work for linkage and readership, and then influence suffers, because you're posting about American Idol and Britney all day; work for influence and readership, and linkage suffers, which is the situation we have among the local blogosphere at Martini Republic. But I'll tell you: at least when you are influential, people will follow you anywhere, which is one of the things I think some LA blogs lack---a lot of people, especiall the young'uns, are pandering far more to readership and linkage than to cultivating true influence.

For instance, I thought Scheer's blog Truthdig was going to tank, but it didn't, and I think influence carried the day with it.

What do you suggest the LA blogosphere should do to make it a more nurturing community?

I would suggest that I move to New York or Paris.

Barack or Hillary?

I'm leaning Edwards. I could stomach Mayor Bloomberg too.

West side or East Side?

LA? East side, bay-bee. NYC? Westside. I've lived mostly in LA 90027 and NY 10027 in my adult urban life, and sometimes forget about all the zips elsewhere.

The Valley or The OC?

The people in the Valley don't feel like they need a hepatitis shot to come here; the people in OC still do. So the Valley.

Bloods or Crips?

Nice try.

Kobe or Shaq?

I'd rather watch Kobe miss four straight threes than Shaq win by moving his butt into the lane, any day.

Mac or PC?

I'm on a Powerbook and I hope it shows with regards to photo editing. I am probably more proud of the photo editing I've done this past year than anything else I've done in the blogosphere.

AL or NL?

True story: when I was about seven, 1964, I went to a spring training game, Dodgers v. AL stars, in Palm Springs. Because it was February, there was a shortage of balls on hand, and it was requested that the fans throw foul balls back onto the field, but kids were entitled to keep balls if they caught them.

Lo and behold, in the ninth, a ball landed at my feet and I picked it up. I looked at my dad and wondered what I should do. My dad said, "Well, let's's not a National League ball..." I threw it back.

But later in life I became a Yankee fan. So neither AL nor NL, but BronxL.


Yes. Sarkozy too, after Sunday.

For more on Joseph, you might consider our last interview with him conducted last summer.

photo of Joseph and Ann Coulter by Emmanuelle Richard

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