Mean Girls

Rio Arriba County—The New York Post today published a scathing review of The Feminist and the Cowboy, a new memoir, that, as the title suggests, tells the story of an ultra-liberal urbanite who shrugs off her feminist beliefs after falling for an ultra-conservative cowboy. His kisses are so powerful they inspire the little moonbat to peel an anti-Fox News bumper sticker from her car, among other non-liberal, anti-feminist behaviors. Riveting stuff, especially today with the Country so divided, but I take it Valdes didn’t care for the review anymore than the reviewer did her memoir.

One of six Twitter posts Valdes cranked out today about the review:

Ironically, and probably around the time Post writer Susanna Cahalan was writing her (NASTY) piece, Valdes was busy with the dirty business of scribbling a foul and pompous screed about me, which she posted to her blog Dec. 22.

Why is a New York Times‘ bestselling author concerned with little ole me, you ask? Why is this woman who received a reported $400,000 advance on a previous book wasting precious time chasing after an unskilled, under-educated, self-styled reporter? Why is she-who-has-an-advanced-degree-in-journalism-from-Columbia leaving me strange voicemails and Twittering about me and emailing my boss with ancient details about me she dug up on the Internet with her own ivory-coated fingertips?

Could it be, perhaps, because I’m a real journalist, one who pounds the pavement hard, chasing down leads and scouring public records? Valdes, on the other hand, when it comes down to it, is a reportedly bankrupt poser with a $100,000 piece of paper taped to her tongue and endowed with an over-inflated sense of her own importance. The difference between her and I is that of glitter and grindstone. She covets the covers of glossy magazines; I like finding politicians on the delinquent property tax rolls. My work isn’t as glamorous as hers, but by golly it’s more darned important.

Valdes, a native of Albuquerque, decided to pick a fight with me over an article I wrote last month about a local activist who has leveled serious accusations against numerous individuals in leadership positions at the local electric utility. She’s made numerous legal filings that will cost the utility—thus ratepayers—hundreds of thousands of dollars to address. The article explored some issues around the activist’s credibility based on previous allegations she’s leveled. It drew from a variety of live sources and primary documentation, as good community journalism should.

According to Valdes, who is good friends with the activist, the article, sadly, led the activist to become depressed. Not just down-in-the-dumps depressed, but depressed to the point of being unable to rise out of bed. She could no longer walk around town without people smirking at her because my article now overshadows her every achievement. (Sounds like a crisis of confidence to me.)

I feel raped, Valdes quoted her as saying.

Really now?

Does scrutiny really approximate rape? Is that a display of commendable feminism, to reduce one of the most horrific things a woman can experience to that of having your credibility questioned? I don’t think so and I don’t think many rape victims would disagree with me. What a dumb thing to say. Wouldn’t that mean most journalists, including me, are rapists? She’s a journalist, too. Is she a rapist? Do I feel raped by her blog post? No, not really.

To her credit, Valdes hasn’t accused me of raping anyone (yet), but I do, according to her, hate women, which isn’t much better. And Mexicans, too, apparently. Hell, I allegedly hate all Hispanics, so much so that I moved to a mostly Hispanic town just to be in-your-face racist. I don’t simply hate Hispanics, either, apparently, because I’m allegedly attacking them, too. Right here, right now.

See for yourselves. Straight from the Twitter feed of a Columbia J-school grad:

She’d like everyone to believe that I’ve terrorized the activist, that I’ve sent threatening emails and set-up fake social media accounts to spy first on the activist, and now Valdes. She actually alleged a source in the story, a used car salesman allegedly, gifted me with a vehicle for helping take down the activist, his sworn enemy. Again, Valdes demonstrates astounding verbal agility in her polemic by shredding me while simultaneously preventing anyone from forgetting her awesome kick-ass credentials.

“I do know a little about journalism ethics, however, having attended Columbia Journalism School myself and having earned a wee little master’s in that subject before I was hired as a staff writer at The Boston Globe and, later, The Los Angeles Times, and buying a car from your source is unethical, to say the least,” she wrote. “Being given a car by your source, should that ever happen as, say, a reward for, I don’t know, slamming your source’s enemy in the paper because she is one of the few ethical people around and her good moral code might destroy your little empire, well. That would be downright illegal.”

In her post, entitled The Incredible Imaginary World of Nathan J. CompValdes belabors the fact I have a criminal record, but no college degree, that I’m 34 without much staff writing experience, that I am, in her words, the donkey-dickiest, most stinkingest, most intensely horribly suckiest so-called reporter in the state of New Mexico.

Using her amazing journalism skills, she typed my name into Wisconsin’s circuit court database and, all on her own, discovered what she referred to as my extensive court record. What she found was that at 18 I was charged with buying a stolen Nintendo, caught with a marijuana pipe at 19, charged with shoplifting at 21, and charged, lastly, with four counts of theft, which were dismissed after an ex-girlfriend admitted she dropped my name to protect the guy she was dating. Valdes must’ve missed that whole dismissal thing. She also incorrectly states I’m a convicted criminal; I pleaded guilty. Those are the facts, folks.

I’m not proud of these mistakes, but I’ve time again owned up to them, paid my fines, and have been a good citizen in the 15 years since my last entanglement. But I suppose in Valdes’ high-falutin world I ought to be condemned forever to a pauper’s existence for my high-crimes against society.

Valdes’ journalistic instincts next led her deeper and deeper into my court record, where she found that Madison Property Management once filed an eviction claim against my roommates and I after being more than five days late with rent. What she doesn’t mention is MPM dropped the claim once we settled up. That’s because Valdes never looked at the actual court files, only what’s available online.

This keen-eyed observer missed something else, too: the speeding ticket I received in 2007. If we’re putting it out there, might as well put it all out there, right?

Perhaps she overlooked the ticket because she was eager to get the scoop on my edumacation, where real scandal awaited. Using the Internet again, Valdes painstakingly pieced together that I never earned a degree from Madison College, or Madison Area Technical College, as it was called back then. Not even a certificate! she wrote. Then she went on to bash the school, which is actually a distinguished community college with real Ph.D-holding professors, not the drive-thru degree-type racket she suggests it is. For what it’s worth, I’m 11 credits shy of an associate’s degree in liberal arts.

Not that my dropping out was a big secret or anything. I stopped attending in 2004, after being hired to edit a start-up weekly in Madison and just never went back. Because I was happy freelancing, I never even looked for a staff writing job until recently in life, after tiring of the low pay and unpredictability of working as a stringer. Regardless, what a strange thing to be hung up on. This education/staff job thingy was harped on in an anonymous email my boss received Friday… Hmmm, I wonder if there’s a connection.

What’s strangest about Valdes’ smear campaign against me is that she’s obviously spent a lot of time stewing about this article I wrote, yet all her efforts have been in attacking me rather than the article, which I stand behind 100 percent. Not because I’m racist or have been gifted a vehicle, but because that’s where the information led. Plain and simple.

Normally I don’t waste time responding to vicious critics like Valdes, who, at her very core, is the worst kind of hypocrite, the kind guilty of the very deeds they wrongfully go about accusing others of committing.

On Twitter today, Valdes lamented more and more about her memoir’s poor review:

Here’s another libel trick: this one—the ole this is what people are saying line—was employed by Valdes against me in reference to the vehicle I allegedly accepted from a source as a gift for cooking the article.

“I’m not saying this is what happened,” she wrote. “I’m just saying this what people on the streets of Rio Arriba County are saying happened.”

I’m sure I’m all talk of the town in the 30-year-old Jeep I purchased on an installment plan from a woman my girlfriend works with, a woman who has no affiliation whatsoever with anyone on either side of the activist’s accusations. It belonged to her husband who died last year in a car accident. She didn’t like driving it, so she put it up for sale around the time I decided to get rid of the van. Does Valdes bother sourcing this accusation, which, were it true, would be career-ending (and rightfully so)? Nope. Nada. Does she contact me for a comment, like a true journalist should and would? Take a wild guess.

It’s just what people are saying is all.

I will admit, Ms. Valdes, the Jeep is pretty gangsta.

What else is there… I getting tired. I won’t bother to delve into the swamps of her sloppy journalism. Okay, maybe I will. I can’t resist. Okay, and this kind of stuff bugs me, this details-don’t-matter attitude among the nation’s celebrity muckrackers. In her post she writes:

“… my own “anglo” mother, as a child from the tiny town of Bósque, New Mexico, was forced in grade school to regularly consume “government orange juice” laced with radiation, as part of a national experiment on its effects on human beings. She, and countless others, later got thyroid cancer as a result. The Albuquerque Journal won a Pulitzer Prize for uncovering this incredible story.”

Lady from Albuquerque: the Journal won a Pulitzer in 1990 for a story about how an over-the-counter dietary supplement was causing birth defects, not for writing about the government’s radiation experiments. That honor went to The Albuquerque Tribune. It’s small thing, I know, and that closure thingy is confusing, and maybe it’s kind of nit-picky, but in journalism, small things matter.

As for her allegations I threatened the activist? Well, that never happened, either. Valdes, in her infinite wisdom, accused me setting up fake social media accounts to stalk both her and the activist… Well, I can’t disprove this one anymore than she can prove it, but consider this: What would be the point? To see what I can already see by Googling them? Which I did, because I’m a journalist, and I Google people. The article wasn’t an ambush, got’cha job. The activist had ample opportunity to step up to the plate and make her case. She chose not to. Bah-humbug!

I’d never even heard of Valdez until two weeks ago when she left several very bizarre messages where she toggled between berating me and asking for me to meet her so she can enlighten me. Since then I’ve had two nightmares with her in them and in each one she was chasing me through an arroyo, throwing copies of her books at me. She’s infected my brain like a parasite.

I could go on and on about this lady, and what a horrible rotten liar she is, and how she must see in me everything she hates in herself. So many things in her post about me were wrong, some of them deliberately incorrect for no purpose other than to be cruel and vindictive because I did what real journalists do, which was tell the truth.

Rather than waste another minute realizing this boorish lout, I’ll leave you with one last example of her glaring hypocrisy,  a Tweet she posted in response to the Post review of her memoir. It’s like she read my mind:


  1. Angela Cleary says:

    Lord have mercy. First, I am writing this with the presumption that, well, others are going to read it. Second, Nathan, I find how you are dealing with this to be spot on. To be honest, I was worried you would become lonely and isolated in New Mexico, but I am pleased beyond everything that it is turning out to be so… it just suits you. Like those rare occasions when you have actually shoved your grumpy mug in an actual suit, it just brings something out that is always there, it just needs highlighting? Anywhoo, Bad press is good press hon, tho I am sorry that what this woman has chosen to execute some sort of vendetta against you. Love the tittle of the article btw. lols. As far as the article- which is the matter of the debate- I have not yet read it. I assume it relates to the controversy I read about in Texas over digital water/ electric meters? People do not want them because they are too, “intrusive?” I will play the devils advocate a wee bit Nathan, in as much as you stay very real, but you still have been looking through journalists eyes for a long time. I have a unique perspective in that I have actually been interviewed by you, and by other reporters- tho I have never had a story focused solely on myself.. When someone writes an article about you or include you interviews, you are seeing yourself from another persons perspective. Sometimes we don’t like how other people interpret our thoughts or actions. It might be difficult to accept that how you act and that the actions you take may not be agreed with by others. to have your actions highlighted (libel lucre is filthy baby)  in what you perceive as disagreeable light- sometimes its a jagged pill to swallow. As far as this third party woman is concerned, I will keep my personal judgments to myself and Nathan, as always you take the high road. Its ok to dabble your toes in the mud for a little self gratification, but I know you would never resort to that sort of banal behavior.  Any press is good press honey, let that cowgirl ride till she falls off;) 

  2. Charles says:

    so I posted a letter over there but I’ll put it here too in case she erases it.-  If there was real libel we can be sure that Loyda , a woman who has wasted hundreds of thousands of public money though the legal system, would be all over it.  The disgusting elitism you have about education and salary says much more about how you feel about the “:little people” around you.  You scoff at his imagined salary laughing that it is less than a fast food worker.  well that is easy for an oppressed woman like yourself, who attended one of the elite schools in the world. Maybe your husband didn’t want the job because his wife wouldn’t respect his small salary making less than a *gasp* fast food worker. It makes me wonder about your cosmopolitan noblesse oblige to the poor “latinas” that you have told that Nate “must be stopped” because he “hates Mexicans”.I think you and your friend protest too much. Your friend had a good run on the public dime to try to politically position herself if there was a case there I’m sure she would have been as adept as in the past at proving her case.  Truth doesn’t need a fancy degree and I’m not sure when reporting stopped being a blue collar job but I’m pretty sure it is about the time that it started being part of the power structure and romance novelists started bragging about their degrees from prestigious journalism schools.If you have proof about your accusations about the car that Nate bought in a small town in new mexico put them out there.  You say that it is a dangerous place, while at the same time trying to direct race based attacks on a reporter.  Where is this in your ethics?  An incredible thing about journalism , writing, politics and many other worthwhile endeavors involving public service, they don’t pay well , they can make you powerful enemies, they can be dangerous and the results are out there for the world to see.  What would it say about the local paper if they couldn’t write about Loyda, a local woman who has apparently searched for political power , engaged in vicious feuds, thrown accusations of theft at other public figures all the while claiming her supposed credentials, her earthy feminism, and her race entitle her to represent an entire portion of the population?  Has she run for office? Why is she allowed to burn through money that would be better spent providing electricity at a reasonable rate.  I bet Loyda knows exactly who would be an excellent member of the board for the utility.  Thanks for threatening a local reporter you oppressed millionaire freedom loving patriot who only wants the best for us little people who can’t read a story and make up our own mind. Oh yes he also had encounters with the law that were dismissed and he may have once smoked pot but that has never, ever happened to any female Hispanic person ever and I should judge his writing based on that as well not by it’s content.  Quelle surprise! but if this was your life story it would be a romantic struggle against the poverty and the racist opposition of society.I’m sorry your feminist friend feels “raped” because a story was written about her.  It must take a masters at the COLUMBIA SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM or fake attending HAAAVAAARD to draw that analogy. I’m sure all the latinas out there who have been raped can see the similarity between the two things.  

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