Cafe Society

Reader: It's hard to be Jason Sheehan

Jason Sheehan has been gone from Westword for a year, but he is far from forgotten, as evidenced by yesterday's missive from Still Reading in response to the Julia & Julia characterization of Laura Shunk's Sachi Sushi review:

It's hard to be Jason Sheehan.

Probably not as hard as it is to be a trauma surgeon, or maybe Iron Man or something, but regardless it's still hard to be like somebody else....Don't get me wrong here, Laura's a great reviewer. She's reads like she's got some good style. She's got humor...

Is it that hard to avoid trying to write like Jason Sheehan?

It's not that hard to do. Some constructive feedback to get the ball rolling; forgo the ethereal contrast and comparisons to Brooklyn and Los Angeles. Denver's a cowtown, guys. We know it, and we love it. We're sensitive and neurotic about it. Mos Def never wrote a song about Arvada as far as I know, and we wouldn't want him to. Accordingly, while we may not have Jane's Addiction, we're the home of 16 Horsepower and Devotchka, so take that, Redondo Beach. And with more than a small nod to Matt Smith, we live in Denver now, because Denver is cool.

Location-dropping the two major coasts in your reviews will do nothing more than ruffle people's feathers and make us think you're pretentious. You get ten cool points for casually mentioning that you lived in major `mover and shaker' metropolitan areas, but you get minus fifteen for doing it in a city that deserves your full attention. Embrace your western shirts, my friends but in a non-hipster, Shepler's kind of way.

Laura; I think he had a point about the bloggy-type style. Maybe try less flowery overarching descriptions of things that peripherally deal with the food and focus more on the subject at hand, like the food, the owner, the back story, what makes it what it is....

All in all, you guys are doing a great job. You're out there, writing things. Writing them down, even. And in a paper that hasn't folded yet! And you're good at it, and you're funny. Just.. Try a little more to be like yourselves, instead of `that guy who was here before but left and is pissing off Seattle'.

Read the rest Still Reading's very entertaining, erudite comment (with plenty of advice for Cafe Society intern and In the Weeds writer Kyle Garratt) here:

And for those who still miss Jason Sheehan, some news: He and his wife, Laura, recently welcomed a second child, a boy. And yes, the family is at home in Seattle.

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun