Patterico's Pontifications


L.A. Times Editor Encourages Ass Whipping

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 8:51 pm

Two sources tell me this is a genuine internal memo from L.A. Times editor Ashley Dunn.


As most of you have heard, there were layoffs today. We’ve all been through this before, but it doesn’t make it any easier. We’ll all miss the fine people who are leaving.

For those of us still here, the hard task ahead is getting back to the business of reporting the news. It feels like rushing back into battle after a hellacious ass whipping. To those who are understandably feeling a bit down, I say: We don’t get our asses whipped, we whip asses. We don’t get ulcers, we give ulcers.

Take a look at the Metro’s budget today. Nita is writing about Post Office closures and how people in towns and neighborhoods are taking it. Marosi is shining a bright light on the shitheads in the Sinaloa Cartel, and Ari is back with City Council as it wrestles with those damn red-light cameras. Don’t forget the fighting nudists of San Diego.

These are the great stories we do every day about our beloved city and state. We are kicking ass in our own modest way. Life is calling out for us to write, witness and be moved.

Deadline is coming. Swig that Mountain Dew, suck deeply on that Marlboro Ultralight, tell your editor to move that fucking story.

This paper waits for no one. Let’s get to it.

If you want to vent about the layoffs, plot strategy for the future or just shoot the shit about the old days, come on in.


If that doesn’t inspire you, comrades, then nothing will. Now grab your Mountain Dews and kick some fucking ass!


  1. I’d like to say I’ve not seen a stupider memo from management before … but I have.

    It is in the Top Five Stupidest however.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 7/28/2011 @ 8:52 pm

  2. He actually used the salutation “Comrades”?

    The closing cannot come fast enough.

    Comment by AD-RtR/OS! (7ab0c4) — 7/28/2011 @ 8:55 pm

  3. I saw this yesterday at FishbowlLA — I think via Drudge. It seemed strange to me but most of what journalists say and do seems strange to me.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/28/2011 @ 9:04 pm

  4. red light cameras don’t wrassle fair

    Comment by happyfeet (3c92a1) — 7/28/2011 @ 9:08 pm

  5. Reeks of desperation.

    Comment by Dana (4eca6e) — 7/28/2011 @ 9:10 pm

  6. DRJ,

    I seem to specialize in old news these days. I think I need to up my intake of Mountain Dew.

    Comment by Patterico (8316da) — 7/28/2011 @ 9:15 pm

  7. Kinda reminds me of Jimmah Carter’s malaise speech.

    Comment by elissa (f66496) — 7/28/2011 @ 9:15 pm

  8. Or Black Jack!

    Comment by AD-RtR/OS! (7ab0c4) — 7/28/2011 @ 9:15 pm

  9. It couldn’t be any clearer than “comrades,” can it?

    Comment by Robert Evans (4094dd) — 7/28/2011 @ 9:16 pm

  10. “He has a bachelor’s degree in English from UC Berkeley.”

    Well, that explains a lot.

    Comment by AD-RtR/OS! (7ab0c4) — 7/28/2011 @ 9:21 pm

  11. I wonder how the staff received the memo. Did they raise their fists in solidarity or roll their eyes and snicker behind his back?

    Comment by Dana (4eca6e) — 7/28/2011 @ 9:21 pm

  12. after layoffs people in stultifyingly oppressive corporations can get downright giddy

    Comment by happyfeet (3c92a1) — 7/28/2011 @ 9:23 pm

  13. Dana, it also depends on whether or not they follow the advice of “One Sheet” Sheryl Crow.

    Comment by AD-RtR/OS! (7ab0c4) — 7/28/2011 @ 9:24 pm

  14. I don’t know about y’all, but i’m ready to put my fist through a wall!

    Comment by Ed from SFV (7d7851) — 7/28/2011 @ 9:25 pm

  15. Sophmoric. Complete lack of empathy for those who were laid off.

    What an embarrassment.

    Comment by Anita Busch (a025dd) — 7/28/2011 @ 9:27 pm

  16. Speaking of laying off…
    Time to get some rest,
    ‘Night all.

    Comment by AD-RtR/OS! (7ab0c4) — 7/28/2011 @ 9:29 pm

  17. And “we don’t get ulcers, we give ulcers”?

    Something to be very proud of, isn’t it?

    Comment by Anita Busch (a025dd) — 7/28/2011 @ 9:30 pm

  18. What newsroom still allows smoking?

    Comment by bob (either orr) (6713b4) — 7/28/2011 @ 9:35 pm

  19. Having been a survivor in more than one corporate blood-letting I can conjecture this: The survivors at the LA Times feel grateful to still have a salary, but most are totally at sea about how they will handle the additional work, larger territories, more responsibilities and less support services while trying to still maintain the semblance of a personal life. I do not think this memo will help. It is insulting. And, as Anita says it is quite blasé about the loss and contribution of those who were let go.

    Comment by elissa (f66496) — 7/28/2011 @ 9:39 pm

  20. “Comrades” indeed. Where I come from that is a word the enemy uses instead of “friends”.

    And I come from California.

    Comment by tyree (84087f) — 7/28/2011 @ 9:40 pm

  21. A full on fever swamp.

    Comment by Andrew (bb9991) — 7/28/2011 @ 9:51 pm

  22. Deadline is coming. Swig that Mountain Dew, suck deeply on that Marlboro Ultralight, tell your editor to move that fucking story.

    Look at that repulsive goonspeak, most likely picked up from the finest World of Warcraft chatlines or an evening in her Jezebel internet hugbox.

    This brainless twaddle is the final result of years of anti-bullying measures and superficial self-esteem programs in schools.

    Comment by Another Chris (c983db) — 7/28/2011 @ 9:56 pm

  23. ____________________________________________

    FWIW, Dunn’s background is rather humble — assuming the early part of his bio doesn’t refer to his teenage years — and based on his photo at, he is of Asian descent. But his memo sure does make him sound like a douche. And if his use of “comrade” wasn’t meant to be cheeky or flip, but was said with total solemnity, then he sure must have some ultra-liberal tendencies.

    Dunn is a California native who has worked as a dishwasher in Sacramento, a printer in San Francisco and a bicycle repairman in Walnut Creek. He has lived along the levees of the Sacramento Delta, the Powell-Hyde Street cable car line and the shaded streets of Pasadena. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley with a degree in English.

    Comment by Mark (411533) — 7/28/2011 @ 9:59 pm

  24. To those who are understandably feeling a bit down, I say: We don’t get our asses whipped, we whip asses. We don’t get ulcers, we give ulcers.

    This line is even more ridiculous. I wonder if the defenders of Jerusalem said the same thing right before Trajan and the Romans ransacked the temple.

    Comment by Another Chris (c983db) — 7/28/2011 @ 10:00 pm

  25. The St. Crispian’s Day speech was more inspirational, I think.

    Comment by elissa (f66496) — 7/28/2011 @ 10:04 pm

  26. Sorry, I meant Titus. Easy to get the names of the great Roman leaders mixed up during that period.

    Comment by Another Chris (c983db) — 7/28/2011 @ 10:05 pm

  27. Despite the Lombardi pep, the deck chairs are still gonna need rearranging.

    Comment by PC14 (4a4ed3) — 7/28/2011 @ 10:05 pm

  28. Smoking in the newsroom?

    If you haven’t read Hamill’s newest, Tabloid City, it’s worth it. Not his best, not even close, but he does a great job with the color and mood of the dying, newspaper business.

    One character, a very talent rewrite editor, hasn’t been on her game since smoking was prohibited in the newsroom.

    I’ve always liked Hamill. He’s a liberal type but not as far-left loony as Breslin. Those are working-class Irish guys from the Brooklyn and Queens, but both far removed from the douchebaggery of a poney-tailed NYU Prof.

    Comment by PC14 (4a4ed3) — 7/28/2011 @ 10:13 pm

  29. Dear L.A. Times:

    Die faster, please.

    Cordially yours

    Comment by Major Kong (f4574f) — 7/28/2011 @ 10:16 pm

  30. And quit sullying the fine name of Mountain Dew by associating it with the LATimes Losers !

    Comment by Alasdair (205079) — 7/28/2011 @ 10:51 pm

  31. I think I need to up my intake of Mountain Dew.

    Mountain Dew’s for wussies. If you want caffeine, drink Jolt Cola.

    Comment by Chuck Bartowski (e84e27) — 7/28/2011 @ 10:57 pm

  32. ‘Whip asses… Mountain Dew… suck deeply… Marlboro Ultralight… fucking story…’ they must be doing a series on porn in the valley.

    ‘Suck deeply’ is the operative phrase in this ‘executive memorandum.’

    Comment by DCSCA (9d1bb3) — 7/28/2011 @ 10:58 pm

  33. ‘Whip asses… Mountain Dew… suck deeply… f–king story…’ they must be doing a series on porn in the valley. ‘Suck deeply’ is the operative phrase in this ‘executive’ memorandum.

    Comment by DCSCA (9d1bb3) — 7/28/2011 @ 11:02 pm

  34. Apologies for the double posting.

    Comment by DCSCA (9d1bb3) — 7/28/2011 @ 11:03 pm

  35. I have no problems with journalists who read Hunter S. Thompson. I do have problems with journalists who read Hunter S. Thompson and then think they have license to write like he did.

    Comment by JVW (39c649) — 7/28/2011 @ 11:24 pm

  36. I’m less sure that the Times reports the news as much as they shape it. I wonder whether they’ll survive without some sort of help from friendly legislaters.

    Comment by scr_north (5b4c7c) — 7/28/2011 @ 11:43 pm

  37. “If you want to vent about the layoffs, plot strategy for the future or just shoot the shit about the old days, come on in.”

    Sounds like Ash has a lot of free time on his(her?) hands.

    Must be nice not to have a real job.

    Comment by Dave Surls (28f866) — 7/29/2011 @ 12:09 am

  38. Shouldn’t the LAT just, you know, take the pain pill and have done with it?

    Comment by d. in c. (6d8a47) — 7/29/2011 @ 2:24 am

  39. I suspect that “Ash” has a rich fantasy life. If that was his qouted bio “lived along the levees of the Sacramento Delta” etc. I know he has a rich fantay life.

    So he’s channeling his inner John Belusi in Animal House here. Still as the nominal leader of the LAT staff he had to say something other than “Help”!

    Comment by Comanche Voter (0e06a9) — 7/29/2011 @ 3:55 am

  40. When the vertical hierarchy is unstable, people attempt to strengthen horizontal relationships. Dunn hears footsteps, uneasy rests the crown, and he’s calling on fellow employees to join his praetorian guard.

    Comment by ropelight (a08880) — 7/29/2011 @ 6:03 am

  41. I got the rest of that memo:

    “And don’t forget that the Tea Party is the enemy of the People.”

    Comment by AZ Bob (aa856e) — 7/29/2011 @ 7:28 am

  42. they want to do good?
    exposé redlight cam’ra
    near Steven’s Steakhouse!!!

    Comment by ColonelHaiku (8a1a1f) — 7/29/2011 @ 7:37 am

  43. You sure it ain’r Ashley Wilkes?

    Comment by Bigfoot (8096f2) — 7/29/2011 @ 9:00 am

  44. Sounds like the bosses son, who arrives after 10:00 am, learns of the layoffs, and “exhorts” the troops to “carry on,” generating one collective eye roll. Then onto another column lambasting Prop 13.

    Comment by Bemis (329cc1) — 7/29/2011 @ 9:22 am

  45. Love the way it starts out “Comrades”.

    Maybe they should go all the way and rename the paper “L.A. Pravda”.

    Comment by malclave (4f3ec1) — 7/29/2011 @ 1:01 pm

  46. No, it should be L.A.IZVESTIA, since there never is any truth (pravda) there (old Soviet joke).

    Comment by AD-RtR/OS! (dd399a) — 7/29/2011 @ 1:11 pm

  47. That’s some powerful ego Ashley has–Life is calling them to write? Really?

    Comment by rochf (f3fbb0) — 7/29/2011 @ 2:44 pm

  48. I love getting phone calls from the local papers asking me to subscribe.
    I reply that I don’t support killing trees and emitting greenhouse gases to produce and distribute their product, and that when they die, the world will be a better place.

    I’ve never heard angrier telemarketers in my life…

    Comment by nbindo (8b5ad5) — 8/1/2011 @ 7:06 pm

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