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Philadelphia Magazine chucks CAConrad

By Harriet Staff

Yesterday afternoon: Philadelphia poet, Penn Award winner, and sometime-Harriet scribe CAConrad was thrown out of the Philadelphia Magazine offices (nonviolently). First reported on the @PhillyMag Twitter feed as “Philly poet CA Conrad has been escorted from our offices. He was protesting a comment about Mummers in our December issue.” To which fellow Philly poet Jenn McCreary tweeted: “oh, @phillymag. bad enough to bash the Mummers — but you really don’t want a feud w/ poet and @pewcenter_pcah Fellow @CAConrad88.”

Philebrity.com explains the incident thusly:

Poet and recipient of the 2011 Pew Fellowship of the arts CA Conrad is just adding to the crazy, weird, greatness that seems to be pouring out today. After recently “liking” Philadelphia Magazine on Facebook, he apparently tried to occupy their offices…

They then quote the Tweet we’ve got above. Conrad explained it on his Facebook:

UPDATE: I very politely asked the receptionist at 1818 Market if I could please speak the editor in charge of the FB account. She asked me to please take a seat while she checked. A few minutes later she asked what this was about. When I told her the tone changed in the building. I was handed a card for their editor Tom McGrath. I asked if I could speak to someone in person. They said no. I said is anyone here? They said no. I said are they at lunch, because I will wait. They said no. They called security. Security called the policed. WHILE I WAS BEING ESCORTED OUT OF THE BUILDING I SHOWED THEM PAGE 72! NOT HAPPY! They let me go without arresting me. I just left the Mummers Museum. EVERYONE I SPOKE TO IS ANGRY!!!!

If you’re among those of us who does not know what a Mummer is, check out this video below:

Apparently the incident was sparked by this post from Philly Mag:

We’re getting hit with lots of angry comments about an anti-Mummer line in our December issue. We’re always glad to hear from the community—even when you’re unhappy with our work—but spamming our pages is not an effective way to reach us. If you have lengthy comments to make, please share them at mail@phillymag.com for consideration for our January issue’s letters page. Users who abuse our page will be blocked.

Commenters on the FB page are now speaking out against Philly Mag for their actions toward Conrad, with folks saying such things like “How long will it take for the world’s institutions to finally learn not to f with CA Conrad?”

Conrad has also written about the incident on the PhillySound blog. He writes, among other things:

10 THINGS TO GET RID OF. Get rid of. We GET RID OF things of no use. Right? Philadelphia Magazine is SAYING that The Mummers are of no use. They are saying that mainly because they are extremely uncomfortable with working class people and this is an all-out, 100 percent working class event, The Mummers Parade on New Years Day.

I’ve spent my entire life watching working class people get cut, and cut, and CUT deeper into the disappearing edges of this world. Nearly everyone in my family works – or has worked – in factories. I’ve heard countless stories of company abuse, and watched aunts and uncles die breathtakingly and heartbreakingly too young.

Get rid of? When I worked in retail in the elite, posh Rittenhouse Square neighborhood of Philadelphia I made a point on New Years Day of saying to customers, “Happy Mummers Day!” They HATED IT! I can still remember the sneers, snickers, rolling eyes, and the occasional, “You mean NEW YEARS DAY!”

We are STILL the same city who has told company bosses and corporations to fuck themselves. I can feel and believe this. And what Philadelphia Magazine does when they say that the mummers are SO INSIGNIFICANT that they should be gotten rid of is PROOF that it is the wealthy one percent they speak for. Philadelphia Magazine has TODAY PROVEN that they are in fact not at all interested in the 99 percent of Philadelphians who make this city shine! I’ve met the rich of this town, and they’re a bunch of fucking bores! And Victor Fiorillo is just another bellhop carrying their bags with a grin! CHUMP!

Philly Mag has followed up with this post, titled “An Encounter with Ca Conrad” today. On the subject of escorting Conrad out:

Was that the right thing to do? It’s a few hours later now, and, yeah, calling security feels like it was exactly the right thing to do. In fact, I even would have done it to Conrad Bain. We have no problem when people disagree strongly with something we write (even when—especially when– what we wrote was a wise-guy list), but we hope that they’ll keep their reactions controlled and civil. Mr. Conrad’s actions may have been harmless, but in the heat of the moment they sure felt threatening.

Earlier this evening I emailed Mr. Conrad and extended an invitation to get together and chat. He told me it was too late:

“It’s important to point out that there was no reason to mistreat me as your people did today.

“What on earth could you possibly say to me at this point after dragging me out of the office like a criminal? I’ve posted to PhillySound about you all, and need not speak to you at this point.

“You’re a bunch of creeps, but I love the Calder in the waiting room. I’m a big fan. I’m incredibly sad every time I walk past where the Calder Park once — all too briefly — stood on the Parkway.

You can read his version of what went down right here. He seems to want to make this all about the 99 percent and the tough plight of the working man in Philadelphia—which is ironic, because our December issue also contains a sympathetic piece on exactly that topic. Maybe one day CA will read it.

Anyway, he concludes his post with this lovely couplet:

But LOVE for Philadelphia, where I learned to love the world!”

Posted in Poetry News on Friday, December 2nd, 2011 by Harriet Staff.