What the Critics Said about NegCap #1
I could go on and on about how great my zine is and how lucky and happy you’d feel if you bought it for yourself, but I’m really busy working on other projects. I mean, the idea is that I’ve got products for you to enjoy, and you should make up your own mind. The important thing is that nice people that you have heard of and that you respect have already weighed in and said it better than I ever could. I’m a dedicated and enthusiastic sort, but I don’t want to come across as some fucking jive huckster trying to double-talk you into an ill-advised purchase. Not me. I’m nice. So, here are lots of people who read NegCap #1 and were opinionated and open with their comments. If you have any doubts as to their authenticity, feel free to ask them all yourself! Sadly, most of these people are either no longer in zines, no longer online or just completely gone, so I removed the dead links, but not the words.
5 out of 5. Negative Capability is the single best new zine I’ve seen. Cutting, funny, unflinchingly in-your-business and wholly original, NC is poised to kick the flaccid, flabby asses of 99% of the zines out there. Jøsh Saitz is a comic madman, a humor terrorist with a squirting lapel flower loaded with snake venom and cyanide. He’s also capable of disarmingly sincere sensitivity and a courageous ability to present himself for your inspection with no pretense and few defenses. Razor wicked insight and brutal good fun. Rush right out and buy this zine - the first issue is sure to be a collector’s item. I can’t wait for #2. (Well, you don’t have to wait anymore, just click here to get ordering info!) — The Ultimate Magazine Database (RIP)
Even if he wasn’t a wheezer, I’d tell you that Jøsh has made one of the best debut issues that I’ve seen... ever. Jøsh is as adept at venting his frustration with the fools that surround him as he is at Quarking his rants into gold zine bars. But the similarities to his [ex-]boss’ zine [Crank] don’t restrict or detract from NC. By the time you’ve devoured the 52 pages (all of which are by the editor) of ad-free articles, expect dozens of Jøsh’s observations to be ricocheting around inside your skull. I suspect that even those who will find him deplorable will still find themselves grinning, simply because Jøsh has style. In this issue, there’s a furious rant on grammar, an article on drugs, the inside story of the dead MTV game show, Idiot Savants, and a name the celebrity boob contest (which I guessed correctly, thank you very much). The best reads in this, though, are the articles on dealing with the assholes that we all deal with, the tale of posing as a hot chick online and the reviews of Jøsh’s favorite musical genre - cover songs. He’s even willing to swap cover-song mix tapes, so buy the damn zine already. I feel like a chump being so nicey nice... — Amusing Yourself to Death [This review was written by Marc Parker, who is now officially dead to me.]
Big, bright and Borders quality [ironically, it was this comment that helped convince Borders to actually pick me up on my second issue! Cool, right? - Ed.], this is all Jøshua’s baby and he dares you not to like it. The usual rants, record reviews from his personal stack, his online acquaintances and identities, his saga of being on an MTV game show, and, not only one of his short stories, but his own literary analysis of it! Give this man a bar code! Set him free from our puny little zine world!
This is a beautifully designed and printed zine, looking better than most MAGAzines and yet completely devoid of advertising. It’s stunning! It’s got the flair of a good personal zine, (all of the articles and reviews are written by Jøsh) and the visual flair of a much larger publication. When I was done reading it, I was so angered by the writing that I was COMPELLED to write Jøsh an e-mail to tell him that I thought he was a complete asshole and I hated his guts. But the next thing I wrote to him was that I loved NC. Each article managed to piss me off for one reason or another, maybe its the way Jøsh maintains that everyone except for him is a complete idiot, or possibly because he is ruthless and venomous, lambasting everyone from lit majors to MTV to the retarded. But you know, I couldn’t put NC down, even though I wanted to. I read the whole thing from cover to cover and will be happy to see the next issue make its appearance in my mailbox. — Zine World
Negative Capability is the best new zine I’ve read in ages! I’ve seen so much SHIT lately that I almost had given up! I love that junkie story, by the way. Scott Huffines, Atomic Books [Scott lost Atomic Books and it’s now being run by new people, but Scott was a total dick who took way too long to pay me and I’ll never forget that. If you only have to do one thing to make me happy (pay me for zines you have sold) and you can’t do that one thing, you should find another line of work. I hope people read this when they google you, dude. Everyone in the zine business is a ripoff artist but at least you know that with the major magazine distributors, you expect more from a "fan" of zines.]
Last weekend I found a copy of Negative Capability in my APARTMENT of all places, and sat down to read the whole damn thing. I completely enjoyed it. Your writing sounds a whole lot like mine, but your thoughts are better expressed and your writing makes mine look like the shit it is. The effort you put into that thing shows, and the stuff you come out with strikes me as not only brutally honest, but put into a good perspective. Fuckin A! Keep up the good work and keep me on your mailing list, if possible. Thanks for providing me with an enjoyable Saturday. — James Morel, POPsmear Magazine which is ALSO now out of business but the guy runs this chain of tattoo removal places in LA. I imagine his business will only get better as all the people with the neck tattoos or the face tattoos start to rethink their initial decision.
The premiere issue of Negative Capability is the only full-sized, glossy-colour-covered perzine I’ve encountered. Every feature in the 54-page zine [It’s actually 52 pages] is by and about publisher Jøsh Saitz (with the exception the odd short feature like “Isn’t That Embarrassing?” or “How to Tell If It is Time to Get Married”). Design-wise, Negative Capability is fairly easy on the eye. It’s on real paper, not newsprint, which is a real plus. The colour cover, which depicts a satellite frying the Earth with a laser, is a strong image that hints at what’s to come inside the zine. Jøsh uses a lot of pretty fonts in his XPress-fuelled page layout, but kindly sticks to serifs for the body text. The illustrations compliment [sic] the layout for the most part, except for a few instances of black text atop greyscale pictures. The back cover is a parody ad that I’d love to have in poster size; other than that, no ads in this first issue. I paid a whopping $3.95 Canadian to pick Negative Capability up at Tower and didn’t feel ripped off, so I guess you could say I got a lot out of it.
The zine commences with Jøsh’s editorial, thanking lots of his pals and inspirations and proclaiming his devotion to his girlfriend. I’m always impressed when a guy is brave enough to do this. Among the first articles are “My Best Friend is a Junkie,” an account of Jøsh’s history with illicit drugs and the tale of how he lost his friend to heroin; “I Enjoy Being A Girl,” in which Jøsh quite humbly admits his affection for stuffed animals; “Lit. Majors Can Kiss My Ass,” in which Jøsh talks about his struggles as a writer, presents a fictional short story and then analyses his own story in a very honest way; and “More Savant Than Idiot,” a less personal, but extremely interesting account of Jøsh’s experiences on MTV’s Idiot Savants game show. An account of Jøsh’s adventures tormenting people in AOL chat rooms was mischievous and fun. These articles were all fantastic; very witty, sincere and more or less nice.
As Jøsh admits, however, he is a very contradictory person. Roughly a third of the articles, mostly towards the rear of the zine, are really cranky and hate-fuelled. It’s hard to believe the same sensitive vegan [I am not now, nor have I ever been a vegan, nor have I ever claimed to be] who adopts unwanted stuffed animals he finds in the garbage, feeds pigeons and proclaims “I do not drink milk because I am not a calf” can elsewhere write “You were molested? Get over it,” “I hope your wife is gang-raped, your daughters get AIDS and your sons die sucking dick for a living,” or “[I] laugh out loud every time I hear a cabbie is robbed or killed... they suck, and they deserve to die... don’t feel bad if you hear about a cabbie getting shot in the head for $20, trust me that guy deserved it. They all do.” It is startling that Jøsh would condemn an entire profession to death over bad driving, but he does, and I think he means it (and even if these are jokes, there’s a lot of hate behind them). Other people Jøsh wishes violent deaths upon include the retarded [I never said that, I merely said that I find the retarded annoying, but being misquoted is a fact of life], those with poor grammar, “every single personal injury lawyer,” anyone who smokes cigars, bike messengers who ride on the sidewalk and millions more.
Particularly in articles such as “The Eight and Ninth Circles of Hell” and “How to Cope with Assholes,” Josh offers a large number of rants about the very flawed world he sees around him. He’s very enthusiastic in his contempt, so the rants are entertaining to watch. In my humble opinion, Jøsh has an excellent sense of humour and a lot of interesting stories to tell. I’ll continue to feel this zine is worth $3.95 [This is the Canadian price, not the US price], if Jøsh can attempt to share with the human race some of the empathy he seems to have reserved for animals, and manage to come across as being slightly less contemptuous of his readers. — Ninjalicious, Infiltration
Jøsh sent us NC#1 to review in our zine. We haven’t managed to publish that particular issue yet, but we made Negative Capability our rave of the month. It’s an extraordinary piece of work, furiously entertaining. We liked it so much that we decided to overlook the vegan ranting. I think it’s a function of his misanthropy rather than an authentic ethic, and I actually kinda like it better that way. The thing is a must read in any event. — Think 3 (also long dead)
Negative Capability is full of Jøsh’s unique experiences and stories. Each piece in here is a long chapter that would keep other zines busy for a year. His account of a once good friend who got hooked on heroin is pretty harrowing and devoid of sympathy. But if someone dragged you down as much as this guy, and turned into a textbook stereotype of a lying, thieving junkie, you would probably feel the same way. Jøsh also relates the elaborate hoaxes he has pulled on AOL. Using pictures of himself as a hot model, he duped some married guy into wanting to get together for sex. There’s also his lengthy story of being on MTV’s canceled game show Idiot Savants, lots of things he hates and a cool review section of tribute CDs. — Factsheet 5 which is also now out of business, thank god, because it had turned into Seth Friedman’s personal piece of shit
Sarcastic, rude and hilarious, this is the kind of zine that points out what you already know is totally ridiculous but had forgotten about. Such a public service is deserving of your cash. — Broken Pencil, The Guide to Alternative Culture in Canada (still going strong as of 2012)
Much spleen venting and bile spewing from editor Jøshua Saitz, who drives this one-man debut ish with an iron fist and takes no prisoners with his abrasive wit and “fuck you” NYC ‘tude. Negative Capability is something akin to a split between the caustic jabs of POPsmear and the hateful spite of ANSWER ME! A total pro job. Impressive work here. — Funhouse [the editor of this zine was a really nice guy named Brian who was into horror movies and I read a while ago that he had died, which is sad for the world of zines]
This has to be hands down one of the best zines I’ve ever read! I read it cover to cover and loved every part. I am so glad that there is someone else out there whose attitude kind of mirrors my own, negativity-wise. Living in overcrowded (and growing!) San Francisco with everyone and their brother smushed up against you on the bus and in the supermarket and in restaurants promotes a lot of hostility. I just wanted to tell you that I find your writing really engaging, and I absolutely can’t wait for #2! — Janet Glasser, owner of the cool web site Scowl.
My name is Carolyn Gleeson and I am the managing editor of Adbusters. We got your magazine and were very interested in the Sosumi page. We are wondering if we could get a colour copy of that page and reprint segments of it in our magazine. Kalle, our editor, thinks your magazine is really biting and irreverent, but very very negative and cynical. I pointed out the title of the magazine to him again—but he hopes you continue to publish just the same. he is also in his 50s, and I am 26, so I know whereof you speak (GEN X, bitter, disappointed, underemployed and all of the above.) — Carolyn Gleeson, Adbusters
I enjoyed pretty much everything in NC but particularly “More Savant Than Idiot,” the “What Do Being in Spinal Tap,” Hitler in shorts, most of the “My Life as a Pedophile...” (those buns—egads! I’d write too if someone sent me that photo), the cover band reviews, and the bile that was “How to Cope with Assholes.” Please send me your next issue. — Chip Rowe, Chip’s Closet Cleaner, the Book of Zines & the Playboy Advisor
An excellent read! Jøsh obviously spent a lot of time and effort ensuring that this first issue would turn out great. “Many of these pieces are longer than you may be used to seeing in a zine...” which is not a bad thing, and if you take the time to read the rants, fiction, reviews of cover albums, advice, and true stories found within these 48 pages, you’d be a fool to disagree. Though a few of his interests are too mainstream for my taste (I don’t need to be subjected to the red tape at MTV headquarters to know that they suck, and my days of AOL abuse are thankfully far behind me), I had fun reading this zine. “How to Cope with Assholes” made me laugh out loud, and it’s always refreshing to read attacks on pop icons that you hate, especially when they’re written by other people. Thanks, Jøsh! — Skull (RIP)
We all love your zine — you’re sick, you’re twisted, and if you weren’t so funny, we would all be afraid of you. Seriously, your zine is just a fucking masterpiece. We’d like you to write for us, because you’re our kind of guy. Your zine is the funniest thing I’ve read in a long, long time. Thanks for sending it. — Kris Kane, Menace Publishing & Manufacture
Negative Capability was a great read. I enjoyed its particular brand of misanthropy an awful lot. I totally dug the candor, the humor, the venom, and the . . . the zest, I guess you could say. So now I just wait with bated breath for the next issue. — Dan Rhatigan, Rumpus Room (RIP)
When Ninj first suggested a different zine be reviewed every fortnight, and nominated Negative Capability, I sent right away for my very own copy. In fact I have it here before me now as I write this. I’d say slick. So what? That was my first impression. I mean slick hit me in the face, slick and attitude, which I happen to like a bit. So when Jøsh heard slick, I didn’t think anything about it. Sounds about the same to me. So no offense intended by slick, Jøsh. I don’t mean shallow. I was actually intimidated. Being new to this game of zining I compared your grand, highly developed Negative Capability to my tiny little first issue of Reddog (the name soon to change), and definitely came up short. That doesn’t mean I don’t like your zine. That means I was impressed with all the care you took making it really stand out. It’s a masterful layout. I also enjoy your humor and benefited from the grammar lesson in your sizzling article, ‘Let Me Warn You... MOST OF YOU ARE STUPID’. Did I punctuate that right Josh? Probably not [She’s right about being wrong. Punctuation always goes inside the quotes. - Ed]. You’re definitely onto something and set a high standard doing it. — Asha, Reddog Review (RIP)
The feedback I have received from those I have turned on to your zine has been amazing and “Where do I sign up?” comes out of their mouths as soon as they put it down. I usually say “Uh yeah, whatever... He basically sucks but he sure writes well don’t he?” No, I didn’t say that. I just gushed over you as usual so take it and like it, okay? My very dear friend Frank who lives in Michigan was the recipient of one of the copies that you sent me and he thinks you are a savage cynic and can’t wait for the next. Need I say that you rock one more time? I am very proud of you and hope the feedback in your hometown there has been as good as it has been out here. Let me know when I can get my hands on #2. — Jillian Uebel, Sony Entertainment