What the Faux’s Up With Faux Alts?

Quick. Rage. Dirt.

These are the pseudo-cool noms de plume of the ubiquitous faux alt. Early in his hilarious presentation, New York Times media scribe and former Washington City Paper editor David Carr ran down such a list of awkward titles: “Spark — sure beats Willamette Week, huh?”

“We formed our products in opposition to mainstream media,” Carr said. “Now they are forming their products in opposition to us.” The approach doesn’t guarantee success, however: Carr highlighted many failed faux attempts at hipness, likening them to a creepy old uncle using trendy slang and failing miserably.

The faux alts are good at something, he said: disguising their identity. They try to keep their corporate ownership buried, projecting a more independent image by running pictures of a young “with-it” staff. But there are some “good” faux, Carr said: those with an authentic voice that foster community involvement and discussion. However, even the worst faux poses problems for alt-weeklies by making it harder for consumers and advertisers to differentiate among papers and by cutting into alt-weeklies’ circulation.

But what Carr views in the dimmest light is the fact that faux have appropriated “the holiest tool in the altie holster”: the word “fuck.” “Dear God, is nothing sacred?,” his PowerPoint screen read.