This week the cover story in the Village Voice was about some stupid book called "The Game" (currently #71 on Amazon's list of books), which supposedly revealed secrets used by juvenile fratboys to ensnare female prey. The entire piece read like a press release for the book-- when we read it, we wondered how much money Nick Sylvester was taking to sneak it into the magazine. Read a couple of paragraphs that we've chosen at random:
Needless to say, rumors of the book's success have sped up the adoption of its lines and methods. The Game has sold 170,000 copies so far, keeping it in the Amazon Top Sellers list, while episodes of CSI: Miami, Twins and even the Late Show have explicitly ripped details, lingo, and character names from Strauss's forays. In just six months, women have wised up to the book, catching men running Game mid-act, and even turning the pickup lines against the men using them...
Even as early as October, I started noticing Strauss's book taking effect downtown. For men completely lost with women, or for others like Rob, a handsome but skittish twentysomething who spent years with a college squeeze and no time in the field, The Game offers step-by-step advice. Eleven steps, to be exact, and key lines and stage directions for each.
If the story contained nothing but this sycophantic fluff, Sylvester would probably still have his job. Unfortunately for him, he also penned this:
At 151, a Lower East Side bar that's seen The Game manifest itself in all too many ways, from plastic firemen's hats to amateur hypnosis, I met Steve Lucien, DC, and Vic, three TV writers who had flown in from L.A. for the weekend. Under the pretense of visiting friends on the East Coast, the three really had come into the city because, as Strauss writes at the end of The Game, L.A. is completely sarged out. They want to investigate New York.
Except that he really didn't go to that bar-- he made up the whole article, based on anecdotes that the authors of the book told him. Why? Well, take it from us-- if you don't actually leave your apartment, "reporting" becomes a whole lot easier.
[Related: Gawker was disgusted by the Voice's decision to pull down the piece-- we agree with them-- the magazine published it, and it should let the public see what the fuss is about. It doesn't make sense to publish the retraction without leaving the original article online. What's more, it's a pathetic statement that the Voice's phony news scandal is about something this stupid. In the old days, the Voice used to write about important, political stuff-- now it's about spoiled, rich guys picking up girls. Bah!]
Update: Gawker says that acting editor Doug Simmons is still employed by the Voice-- despite his role in the scandal. Impossibly, they add that Nick Sylvester is only "suspended" and has not yet been fired, despite admitting to fabricating parts of the article. Attention plagarists-- the Voice is apparently a much more "forgive-and-forget" kind of place than the New York Times. Oh, and a blogger accuses the Voice of stealing the idea for the piece from her.
Update: Mediabistro says that Sylvester FAINTED when Simmons confronted him about the piece. Way to take it like a man, dude!
Update: one of our beloved commenters pointed the way to Brooklyn Vegan's account of Sylvester going semi-nuts at the Plug Awards last month.
Update: Nick Sylvester's blog hasn't been updated since yesterday.