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24 July 2011

"With Voices Out of Nowhere, Put On Specially by the Children, for a Lark"

Rudolfo Carrillo
By Rudolfo Carrillo

Hey there, people of Albuquerque!

Here is something for you to read on your Sunday evening, even as the thunder crashes and the rain you prayed for comes seeping, drenchingly out of big, fat gray clouds that look really, really beautiful in their aqueous magnificence.

I am going to warn you, though, it will probably piss you off. That’s okay as far as I am concerned. I already have the reputation of being a pugnacious, overly literate asshole, whose work is as difficult as it is charming.

So, I’m going to pose a question. You don’t have to answer it, but maybe you can think about its implications -- for me, for you, for the parallel cyberspace that permeates Albuquerque and its participating human membership.

Here’s the question, in case you are interested.

What the hell is up with Duke City Fix?

What started out as a quirky repository for Burque’s writerly talents has descended into a mediocre and somewhat poorly designed reflection of abandoned possibilities, cliquish commenter culture and obscenely bland poetics.

Now, before you get to the point where you point at the sour grapes that are just out of my reach on yonder rain-soaked cottonwood tree, let me tell you about my experience with DCF.

After the site debuted in 2005, I was mostly content to sit back and comfortably read the offerings therein. After a while, I thought I could do better than what I read and set out to do just that. Though I admired the work of some of the scribblers I encountered (Nora Heineman-Fleck and Paul Krza, for example) I was sure that I could contribute meaningfully and substantively to the Fix, as well.

After a meeting at the Frontier Restaurant with their managing editor in 2008, I was assigned a weekly column and given full reign over the contents of those yet-to-be observations, memoirs and eccentric interpretations of my life in Albuquerque.

As it turned out, I contributed 167 weekly columns for DCF. When called upon, I happily filled in for other weekly columnists as well. Most people liked my work and thought it was intense and thoughtful, though I have to admit some of it was snarky nonsense, mostly aimed at exasperating a growing readership which mostly (in my opinion) consisted of a sort of bourgeois clientele that was pleased as punch to be told where to eat and what to do, as opposed to having their imaginations uncomfortably stretched to the limits of sanity by what I penned on a weekly basis.

Besides, that, I had to contend with the other writers. One of 
their writers decided he would ape my style. Predictably, he was an adman whose life was apparently based on the clever appropriation of other’s work. Lucky for him, he didn’t read Infinity Report he didn’t have time for such abstruse sci-fi excursions, I reckon, plus which, it probably would have fried his Clear-Channel driven acquisitive mind.

On the few occasions I met with the rest of the staff, the results were predictable, and sometimes downright insulting. I remember one springtime gathering where the publisher made fun of my nascent obesity, offering me a tiny DCF t-shirt as a prize for my hard work.

Well, push finally came to shove in November 2010. I complained about the quality of the work on the site and the well-known fact that I was the only volunteer who contributed on a regular basis. The groupthink stuff came seeping out in an email the editor sent me. She told me plainly that she didn’t care how hard I worked because the others involved were part of an intimate community and, therefore, their positions on the masthead were sacrosanct.


In my usually fierce way of doing business, I responded by removing all my work from the site and moving on to better things.

The publisher wrote me to tell me thanks for my “creative posts” and that she thought her thankfulness meant we parted well. I responded by saying no way, further pointing out the hypocrisy of her words and intentions. Since I didn’t care for her further responses, I blocked her email address.

I would have blocked her on Facebook too, but over the three years I knew and worked with her, she never deigned to respond to my friend requests, as if I was an embarrassing presence in the midst of her high and mighty creative-class friends list.

From there, it seemed like it was all downhill, for them anyway, as the number of posts dwindled, longtime members abandoned the site and the awkward design of the place came into question by more than a few folks in the blogosphere.

Flash forward to summer 2011. The site is a mess. The managing editor disappeared into thin air. Editorial guidelines for posts and their accompanying graphics are all but ignored. Poor writing and self-promotional posts seem to have triumphed. The number of posts has dwindled to under 50 per month, when it used to average about three times that number. The main readership draw, The Morning Fix, was abandoned for lack of interest among the staff.

Oh, you still get occasional updates from the Whataburger man, but my marketing-savvy doppelganger has vanished to concentrate on conquering the world for Clear Channel. Otherwise, there’s not much to report, except occasional screeds by self-righteous bicyclists, the same group of local poets every week (as if on queue) and a bevy of overly concerned if utterly misplaced Nob Hill-centric commenters. You think they would at least try to fill in the gaps left by writing something meaningful about their experiences out here in the mysterious and eccentric west.

And it’s okay that I left. I went on to find my voice here in the desert. Infinity Report has more visitors than ever. I’m writing art and music criticism too.

But still, every pore in my body pours out sadness when I visit my old stomping ground. Though, as a native and a writer, I was the perpetual outsider.

I think of all those possibilities, vanquished by arrogance and cliquish certainty and wonder when DCF will finally be reduced to an occasionally viewed page at the Wayback Machine.

Rudolfo Carrillo / a fifth-wave feminist from the fourth estate | a burqueña | a ladyboss | a writer + editor

I am a fifth-wave feminist and a reluctant member⸺hey, Groucho knew whereof he quipped⸺of both the fourth estate and the gig economy. I am an Albuquerque-based freelance writer, editor and social media marketing and branding+PR consultant. I remain an observant ’90s riot grrrl and a devout practitioner of halfhearted yoga posturing and zen and the art of the sentence diagram.


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