by Maurice Spencer Teilmann
When I started at Synthesis, Napster was just a loaded gun ready to take down the music industry and the only funny cat videos were on a show hosted by Bob Saget. Nowadays people still read, it’s just they do it on their phones. So fuck it, I’m scrapping the rest of this bullshit intro. Here’s the straight poop on five of my favorite/most memorable/most cringe-worthy things I did during my nine years writing and editing at Synthesis (that I can talk about because the statute of limitations has expired). Since Reddit and Buzzfeed have sent the young public’s appreciation of longform journalism into the toilet, here are some fucking blurbs. Now go sit on a shitter and read this steaming pile of nostalgia.
Cesar Chavez was not actually a bandito
…When we published a cartoon advertisement for Normal Street Bar celebrating an upcoming Cesar Chavez Day Drinking Holiday. We didn’t look too closely at it, as Thorne the artist sent the graphic at the last possible second and we had to get the hot heaping mess of next week’s issue to the printers on time. Well, this ad not only spelled the farmworker rights hero’s name wrong, it depicted the solemn figure as a mustachioed, sombrero-wearing yahoo, brandishing six-shooters and syrupy drink specials. Insensitive at the least, racist at worst, we featured it on the inside cover. Keep it classy, Synthesis, keep it classy.
Frat Bro Porno
…When Shane’s World filmed their College Invasion 6 fuck-flick at a Phi Kappa Tau party, CSUC recoiled in horror… and Synthesis had a field day. We put a question and answer session with a porn actress on the cover the following week, but what really pissed off the CSU Women’s Center was our critique of the nefarious film. As I recall they weren’t as mad that we were giving ink to a sensationalized local story, but that we gave the film a negative review, said the girls were kinda ugly, and that the frat guys couldn’t fuck worth a shit. True to this day!
Lou Reed was a Dick
…When I got the opportunity to interview American songwriting legend and underground music luminary Lou Reed, and he was a total dick. I mean, a real cock-punch. Every effort I made to ask him smart, toothy questions were rebutted with monosyllabic, crusty retorts. Grandpa Fuckstick was always hard on journalists, and our exchange didn’t sully how much I love his music or admire his prominent role in the shadows of American pop culture, but man… such a ballsack. If you want to listen to the interview just click HERE (oh that’s right. This is how the internet made print media obsolete).
…When I convinced companies to send us products for review in exchange for “publicity.” And this was mostly legit, like when I asked the Roland music gear company to send me a Boss distortion pedal so I could light it on fire and throw it out of a moving car; or when we asked to test the Grey Kangaroo alcohol filter, or the portable margarita fun pack…on the clock. Getting fucked up on someone else’s dime was the joie de vivre of the Syn team, and we often excelled at the prospect. And what happens to all those review-albums that get sent to us? As it turns out, Dimple Records in Sacramento just turns those fuckers into cash! (oh that’s right. This is how we helped the music industry become obsolete). But nothing beats the feeling of calling my mom and bragging that I got high and wrote about video games that I got for free AND got paid to do it; that all those hours in front of my Nintendo DID pay off. (Now get out of my room, MOM!) Of course, I did eventually get fired and was unemployed for like three years…
…When I hatched a plan to take more space away from the cultural cesspool that is On The Town by writing about tacos every week. It was always my goal to erode those stupefying pics of douchebags making duckfaces and throwing fake gang signs with actual, readable content (big up to Raphael di Donato and Corey Bloom’s Slanguage), and getting to interview local arts folks about their upcoming productions while reviewing the embarrassment of riches that is Chico’s Mexican food scene was a personal milestone. Yes, On The Town gets our name out there. But so does giving out blow jobs in a college bar bathroom.
So much more that I’d like to mention, like turning Groundhog’s Day into a drinking holiday (full credit to Jeff Shaner), breaking into the under-construction Diamond Hotel after hours, grips of well-spent Duffy’s Bucks, office Edward 40 Hands party, putting my own damn band on the cover; the people I loved, the people I privately obsessed over, the people I both disliked and admired, the awful columns I promoted just to piss off high-and-mighty hipsters. Thanks Synthesis. And thank you for picking it up all these years, dear reader. Now use this last issue to line your birdcages or finish painting your house, ya bunch of culturally bankrupt idjits.