I received my first submission for the zine at my PO Box this week! I was ecstatic for a few hours, until I had time to read the letter. Then my excitement turned to a queasiness, which then became outright disgust. I am definitely not going to publish this in the zine, for reasons I will explain below. But you can click on scans of the submission, to help you understand why it so disturbed me.
First, the more minor offense: It isn’t even about a zinester! The first paragraph explains, “There aren’t too many zines, unfortunately, being published out of LA.” Oh, really? The organizers of the LA Zine Fest would beg to differ, I think. And come on, I can name five to ten Los Angeles area zinesters that I have a crush on, off the top of my head. Just because you aren’t connected with the scene, “Lewis,” doesn’t mean it’s not out there.
All this could be overlooked, really, and I might even have printed this letter, if not for the strong suspicion I have that it was written by the supposed crush himself. The letter states his name, but here I’ll just use his initials, J.D. Because the whole thing is obviously just promotion for his skeezy book, and I don’t want to give him the satisfaction. Why do I suspect this? For starters, notice the mystery attached to the author J.D. The tall black stranger tells “Lewis” that he is not J.D., but that he should “Google him.” The internet search reveals no photographs of J.D. I honestly couldn’t care less.
The strongest evidence I have that this letter from “Lewis” was written by J.D. himself is the overwhelming amount that it quotes from the author’s book. Like, half of the letter is quotes. And what bad writing it is! A man masturbating to the softball teammate of his teenage daughter. To middle-aged men like J.D. aka “Lewis,” this type of American Beauty rip-off escapism is “naughty” and “hot.” To me, it displays a predatory sexual aggression, and makes me worry that the man behind all of this, whether he’s named J.D. or “Lewis,” might have a real life daughter.
So in conclusion, let me put another call for submissions out there. Send me your tales of crushes on actual zinesters! As it is, this “Lewis” experience has me wanting to burn sage and cleanse the negative energy from my mailbox.
Zine Crush, PO Box 936, Portland, OR 97207