Scallywag and Vagabond: a dissection of pop culture, a platform for the avant-garde, an offering from the arbiters of taste and probing interviews. Imagine; a fusion of editorials from the New Yorker meets the savagery of Gawker with the allure of Vanity Fair.
SC: Can you please explain to the readers of Society’s Choice what Scallywag and Vagabond is all about?
CK: It’s a forum for critical ideas, smut, gossip, scandal and why we care about it. In essence I’m interested in the underlying dialectics of our culture and asking probing questions that most media outlets are loathe to do as they busy propagating preferred truths. Whatever truth really means anymore.
SC: How did you originally start it?
CK: Prior to starting the journal I worked as a derivatives trader on wall street for 10 years and before that as a fashion model for 4 years in Europe and after having moved to NY to pursue a career on Wall street (I have a mathematics degree) at some point my soul cried out- that this was all so false and that what I really needed to do was be a writer, something I had been dabbling in all along, being part of the celebrated wing of the young playwrights of the eminent Circle Rep theater company. Trading by day and writing plays by night.
At one point I turned down a scholarship to Carnegie Mellon’s playwright graduate programme. I think that haunted me. I later retired, spend a few years traveling,exploring myself, the world, taking mental notes and becoming closely attached to various cultural figures that forced me to come clean with myself and from there I decided after months of media research to launch the website.
It’s a lot of hard work and discipline and I’m glad I’ve been able to resonate some themes as a writer. You kind of hope that the readers will find you and that eventually it makes a healthy income to keep supporting itself. But let me assure you it’s not easy work and one has to be prepared to live in some degree of poverty for a while if they fully commit to their own vision. It’s like a good wine, it takes time to ferment before it’s ready to be drunk and seduce you.
SC: You once told me that Lindsey lohan will run the other way if she sees you! Why is that ?
CK: I’m not the most loved social commentator. For anyone who reads us, you will come to see I often have a biting and merciless tongue. I don’t hesitate to call out fallacies and question what is really going on. Which has led to a lot of people loving us and a lot of people hating our/my guts.
With respect to Lilo I have been merciless and for some reason we google very high with her and at one event I was introduced to her she was from memory not quite too thrilled to meet me. Oh well.
SC: Of all the celebrities you know and write about, who is your favorite?
Who is your least favorite? And Why?
CK: I do enjoy writing about Lilo. She is a mirror reflection of all our collective fears and aspirations. But frankly I have no one particular favorite. I’m more curious as to what it is that they are doing and how what it is that they are doing captures or insults our collective sensibilities. I’m just here to act as a conduit.
With respect to least favorite. ..i have none! I try to keep any personal feelings subdued. It’s what and why they are doing that intrigues me. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if I was to get to know these figures on a personal level we would become friends.
Although I must say I have little love for most reality stars, not so much because they are vacuous and being validated for nothing extraordinary but because through their complicit actions and participation with producers they are propagating false ideas and hollow hegemony that needs to be critically explored before our culture is further debased and meaningful discourse and affection is relegated to commercial and false dogmas. Maybe I’m too late?
SC: What was the biggest scandal you uncovered and do you enjoy it when a big story comes your way?
CK: I seem to have scandal fall on my lap every weekend. People feel comfortable confessing to me. But I think that’s more because I have struck a certain vein in media and I have carved a reputation as a real journalist who doesn’t tow the party line. Unfortunately so much of what passes for news is regurgitated material to continue the indoctrination of falseness in a way to maintain the status quo and keep certain resources, power and money in a certain population’s quarter.
Scandal- there was the debacle with Tinsley Mortimer and Guest of a Guest’s Rachelle Hruska. That caused shock waves. That in essence the production of the one hit wonder ‘High Society’ was a propagated falseness with the collusion of media. The behavior of both Tinsley and Rachelle is really crass and have served to demerit on Tinsley’s side what society is anymore and from Ms Hruska’s point she has hijacked media and with the implicit collusion of other media entities turned into shallow unethical sport. The kids went wild.
Recent scandals- Alison Brod- publicist’s bad behavior, the bad behavior of Real Housewife of NY Jill Zarin and there was the ostensibly bad behavior of a network of Ivy league socialite group geared to hustle for dating money bags. Quite the contrary of their purported intent and the feature the NY times gave them
Sham doesn’t sit well with me, you could say that’s the result of my tenor in Australia and England where bullshitters get quickly whipped down. Perversely in America they are celebrated.
SC: How much of what you report is fact versus fiction?
CK: The Fact… All of it! I am very aware that there are lawyers hunting me and I am very very careful. If I have a chain of emails to further corroborate what I am exploring I will use it. Of course one can interpret those emails as they see fit or even deny it. Most perpetrators just prefer to wallow in the ridicule and very rarely dare challenge me. I wish they would, it would provide for ingenious revelry.
SC: Sometimes your stories can dramatically affect a person’s life .What do you feel about that?
CK: Don’t become a public figure. You are fair game as far as I am concerned. Once again I have no personal agenda with anyone, I’m just determined to question certain ideas and actions that in my mind ought to be questioned to preserve integrity and opportunity in our society.
SC: How do you find your sources for your stories?
CK: I get phone calls, I work with a lot of publicists and at this stage people are very keen to drop emails to me with the intent of me exploring them. There are things I have wanted to publish but dropped because I didn’t have enough proof.
One has to realize that as widely read journal you can real ‘fuck’ with people’s lives and I take that role very very seriously. I am careful to make sure I have my facts, but from time to time I will question certain actions and hope that will force a dialogue, something that unfortunately is hijacked from most media quarters, or which is to say, when they do choose to have discussions, they are really smoke screens and clever diversions. I wish more people realized that.
Otherwise with respect to our daily blogging I just read the tabloids and see what inspires me.
SC: What is the future for Scallywag?
CK: I’m hopeful as an independent entity that I can keep the journal afloat. Ideally I would like to add more writers to the site (I am very careful who I invite to write for us as I am intent on keeping the journal’s caliber and cache very high) and continue being a vanguard journal. Possibly have bureaus in London, Los Angeles and Berlin.
But this all takes time and money. I’m even pondering certain alliances with similar entities, which I think is the smart way to go as doing all of this has taught me- you can’t do it all by yourself. That being the case I hope that doesn’t compromise the magazine’s aesthetics should I at one point sell a certain interest in our concern. Perhaps colluding with similar like minded entities for now might be the way to go.
Also I am looking to launch a salon series where coveted members of society/celebrity/the arts are invited in front of a sit down audience to discuss ethereal ideas, with various members of our brilliant writing staff being moderators.
I think it would be a smash and I certainly think that will capture people’s imaginations as opposed to the regurgitated gunk that passes for news and only serves to desensitize us and cling to falsehoods.
SC: How do you see the future for Society’s Choice and do you have a message for our members?
CK: As you know, I have been watching your development from the wings and I am indeed inspired. I would ask of your entity to continue giving exposure to themes and noble causes – the wild life crises pursuant to the BP nightmare was a very good start.
What I would like to see with Society’s Choices wide body of members is to use their joy for revelry and social congregations and address pertinent themes that ought to be discussed. Be it the crisis with whether a Muslim center should be build downtown at the site of the 9/11 tragedy, giving discourse to those members of society disadvantaged either for class, race, or religion. Or even from time to time exploring the challenge of those in our society who are brave enough to make a difference.
These are credible themes. Much more credible than holding a Cosmopolitan drink like Tinsley Mortimer did on her show and cry ‘Poor me, why doesn’t anyone love poor rich me.”
Editor in Chief
Scallywag & Vagabond