JournoList, Shame of a Nation: Meet Spencer Ackerman, Juice-Box Mafioso

It’s unfair to analyze Spencer Ackerman, arguably the most immature and ugly contributor to the now infamous JournoList, through the hyperbolic battlefield exchanges of prosaic political warfare that exist between pundits of the Left and Right on the Internet. But there is ample reason to view him as one of, if not, the worst of the offenders.

The record reveals that he was all too happy to light the torches for a mob of journalistic-malpractitioners intent on leaving integrity behind on this, or that, malevolent and persecutive march – so long as it advanced their political agenda. Evidence of his more notable transgressions has been widely reported. Another example of Ackerman’s orgasmic-like fantasy plate glass window tossing fetish behavior towards his political opposition was reported by the Daily Caller.

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Having taken the time to try and understand who he was and the forces that shaped man-child Spencer Ackerman back before he became nestled snug in his singularly-minded D.C. womb, I think I understand his need for a womb with a plate glass window Washington, – call it, Spencer Ackerman’s Washington womb with a view. It may be the only environment in which he can exist, given the abuses and rejections the less than talented scribe believes he has endured over his still young years.

At one point, Ackerman suggested that fellow members of the listserv should fight the way the right is fueling the Rev. Jeremiah Wright story by choosing one of Obama’s conservative critics, “Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists.” … , “what I like less is being governed by racists and warmongers and criminals.”

… In other words, find a right winger’s [sic] and smash it through a plate-glass window. Take a snapshot of the bleeding mess and send it out in a Christmas card to let the right know that it needs to live in a state of constant fear.

Spencer Ackerman finally found his womb in an insular, mostly small-minded group of back-patters and you’re so smart, dudes in Washington and on JournoList. In fact, the prenatal ooze of it has made him so strong, he’s actually capable of throwing people through plate glass windows, and making a niche (sic) in someone’s skull with a baseball bat without even leaving his keyboard. One can only imagine the strength, character, maturity and courage required to pull off such feats – and marvel at his inept use of the English language.

However, the problem with wombs is, while they may incubate the little geniuses, what none has ever been designed to do is produce a full-grown, actual adult. Standing on the outside of Ackerman’s Washington womb with a view looking in through that plate glass window is probably enough to tempt any pro-lifer to embrace abortion. But I’m honestly torn. It isn’t that I mind suffering little children, so much – but when it comes to fools, that’s another issue entirely. And it’s difficult to tell which one Spencer Ackerman is at this point.

As for Ackerman’s displeasure with his college education, he makes that clear in this somewhat revealing moan.

I’m nearly finished with college, and I have little good to say about my education. I’ve grown accustomed to disinterest and condescension from my professors and resigned myself to hearing platitudes in the face of strenuous questions.

That is always the rant of the pedestrian malcontent, who never genuinely seeks out challenge in his or her educational experience, preferring to sit back and bitch. It’s most often driven by a fear of not measuring up. There are good and bad professors everywhere, from the Ivy League to state schools. At the secondary-level, the challenge rests upon the student to seek out the best in order to learn, and, most especially, challenge oneself. I’ve no doubt that Rutgers, where Ackerman attended, is stocked with same. He simply never sought them out. God forbid he be made to confront how much he actually doesn’t know. That’s simply too much for an immature little schoolboy, intent on impressing himself within his own cocoon, to comprehend, let alone endure.

Consequently, an insecure and unprepared Spencer Ackerman found himself craving what every as yet unformed individual would likely crave before attempting to confront anything like an adult world – a womb. One can indulge the whole piece, or settle for this sketch – imagine Charles Bukowski hurling in Hunter S. Thompson’s lap, as Thompson sits in a lawn chair wearing briefs while trying to figure out how to work his newest Gameboy. And, at some point, tears are probably involved.

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The howling begins close to midnight, which in my old age is when I’m reading in bed. Dude, dude, dude. Nah. Nah. Okay, bro. Screaming and whooping, they slump along my bucolic street and they break things. It usually lasts until 3, an hour after bars here close. Girls giggle and hector. Yo, Tony. One morning after a particularly energetic howling, I left my house to go to class and found a green chair shattered for 50 feet. Someone threw it off a neighbor’s porch onto the sidewalk and kept smashing. Usually there aren’t any traces left behind.

In a month I’m going to graduate from college. The city’s unemployment rate is above 7 percent. This is all a massive mistake. I came to school in 1998, when Robert Solow lamentations were unimaginable. Now the world wears a giant smirk.

Everyone’s rubbing his temples. At barstools, friends tell me they don’t know what they’ll do. Crop didn’t come in, Earl. Got the creditors on the phone. I can’t pay for this drink. Students are fleeing from the job market, waiting it out in graduate school. I’ve become deeply ashamed of myself, bitter over the economic tide I’ll be wading in, discovering an ugly sense of entitlement I nurtured through years of watching the dimmest bulbs shine the brightest. In the first years of college, everyone’s e-mail came from a business domain. Now it’s back to Hotmail, or school accounts that are still active.

… The equilibrium state at present is panic. I’ve abdicated all presence on campus and try my hardest not to see anyone. Stroll to class through erratic weather, ride the buses, visit the library, get the hell home. I’m a shut-in, needing a haircut, and I can’t find the nail clipper.

These days, my favorite engineering daydream involves taking a generator, armfuls of foam rubber and insulation rolls, and yards of tubing to construct a massive artificial womb. Pump water into a closet, hang a phone repairman’s belt from the clothing rack with the tubes in my mouth, strap myself in and float forever. I want to draw a bath and practice. Every other year here I’ve been forcing myself to mature, a self-conscious and foolish effort. And now it seems a better option-7 percent unemployment back in New York-to find a womb without a mother and hope no one needs anything from the closet. Outside it’s a shattered chair, gravelly laughter and Yo, Tony, all night.

The world is smirking because it sensed within its pampered ones the surreptitious expectation of eternally maintained ease and comfort, and now it rejoices in a righted wrong. And I sympathize with the world, ashamed of a deeply selfish and sniveling yearning. But as the howling comes back, louder each night, the throbbing womb is more enticing.

Ackerman’s rejection experience didn’t end with the educational establishment; he also had a knack for having his writing rejected on a somewhat personal level. As a Jersey boy myself, when a New Jersey or New York gal rejects you, it tends to be cutting and quick. I must confess, though, the only marks ever left on me by a Douglas College co ed had more to do with what might transpire after a late-night pub crawl, than anything I’ve ever written. But I digress. The critical marks left on Ackerman by women in the Northeast judging his writing likely weren’t nearly as enjoyable for him as any I may have had to endure back in college.


More seriously, there seems to be something of a pattern here given JournoList. Ackerman developed something of a reputation for playing fast and loose with the news as far back as college and was called out for it … by a Jersey girl.

If Spencer Ackerman is trying to be the next Hunter S. Thompson, then of course he is entitled to make the attempt. If the Targum insists on printing his self-aggrandizing columns, then that is their prerogative, so long as they continue to run on Fridays, when almost nobody reads the newspaper.

That being said, I think the editors have put themselves on the wrong side of the fine line between journalistic integrity and tastelessness ….

Spencer Ackerman is entitled to his delusions of self-importance, but please, keep it in the confines of his opinion pieces and don’t allow him to distort the news for his own amusement.

Kelly Sexton Douglas College

Lest the reader think I simply dug up one old criticism, it isn’t as if there isn’t a pattern here, too. The need for the fairer sex to stand up and bitch-slap Ackerman over his writing ability, or lack thereof, for some reason, continued on to some post-college freelance work he did for the New York Press.

Spencer Ackerman should indeed have “little good to say about [his] education” (“Live & Learn,” 1/9). He can scarcely write a coherent English sentence.

Justine Nicholas, Brooklyn

Touche! Ackerman spent much of his time entertaining himself with tediously unreadable reports from the traffic beat, more commonly known as a waste of time for writer and reader, except that they permitted an immature Ackerman to indulge his childishness and, presumably, strut hs stuff. But some stuff doesn’t really warrant strutting in the mind of the more serious individual Ackerman would like to make himself out to be. Serious would be journalists don’t waste their time on crap, preferring serious wit, should they wish to distinguish themselves in a humorous way.

Throwing her arms up in exasperation after a futile attempt to open the driver’s-side door of her light blue 1993 Mercury Topaz, Johanna Westcarr expressed a permutation of that statement yesterday. “I just parked my car over here at maybe five to one” — referring to her spot on Neilson Street, just past the Lord Stirling School where the Rutgers College senior teaches French — “and now some jackass hit my car!”

Indeed, concurred Police Officer Lee Hampton, it appeared another driver backed out at an unconventional angle, striking Westcarr’s Topaz hard enough to leave an indent preventing the door from opening. “Now I got to get in on the other side,” she said. The officer recommended taking the car to a body shop to ascertain the extent of the damage.

All in all, if I had to sum up Spencer “Attackerman” Hackerman, I’d suggest he’s not quite the Superman able to hurl his political opposition through a plate-glass window with a single keystroke he played on JournoList and in email. Instead, he appears to be a not yet fully human man-child, clinging to an insular womb of his own design for fear of being bitch-slapped by college girls and ignored or rejected by the more mature and intelligent human beings able to survive out here in the real world where the rest of us live.


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