A friend walked up to me today and congratulated me. He said that he had just read my "When Bad Food Goes Good" article on the back page of the May 16 issue of Style Weekly. I swelled with pride and accepted his praise, before I remembered that I had not submitted anything to Style Weekly in a very long time. I looked at the article and there it was: "by Mad Dog (Victor Gottlieb)". I vaguely remembered someone named Mad Dog who I thought used to market faux Izod Lacrosse shirts with upside down alligators. Wasn't he the same person who used to organize "Tacky Christmas Lights" tours during the holiday season? Then I looked at the bottom of the page and saw that Mad Dog's mother calls him "Barry" (not Victor). The article was apparently really written by Mad Dog (Barry Gottlieb), not Victor Gottlieb. Style Weekly had made a boo-boo.
I had to make some quick decisions. Should I pretend that I did write the article? Should I explain that it was not mine? Should I read the article and see if it was really to my advantage to pretend that it was mine? I read the article and saw that it was a witty, humorous piece about foods which were once considered to be unhealthy but are now considered to be health foods. It was a clever piece, but what about that crack about "vegans" eating 'pond scum'? I'm sure that most vegans would understand that "Mad Dog-Victor Gottlieb" was just joking, but what about that one vegan who might think that I, "Mad Dog", was disrespecting vegans? I love vegans and don't want any vegan anger directed towards me. I decided that this whole matter needed to be cleared up. I'm not Mad Dog and I want my identity back!
I think I know how this travesty of justice happened. Someone at Style Weekly remembered my "You're Very Richmond If" contest entries from years ago and assumed that the Gottlieb who had been writing contest entries such as (You're very Richmond if you think 'Sally Belle' and 'Fannie Mae' are related") and the Gottlieb writing funny articles about food pyramids were one and the same person. Well, we're not the same person, and I want justice.
Once something has been published, it is considered to be fact. People are going to be holding me responsible for all kinds of things that they think "Mad Dog-Victor Gottlieb" has done. I'm sure Mr. Mad Dog is a good person, but we are all human and who knows how many groups he may have offended over his lifetime? Am I going to be held responsible every time he writes an article that mentions vegans and vegetarians? What if he makes a crack about lactose intolerants? Every time he sticks his foot in his mouth (where does that fall on the Food Pyramid?) people are going to attribute it to "Mad Dog (Victor Gottlieb)". What am I supposed to tell my Jewish relatives when they ask me why I have been organizing Tacky Christmas Lights tours?
You caused all of this and I know that you will want to help me regain my identity. When the "You're Very Richmond If" contest was still around, Style Weekly used to publish many of my entries. People used to send in entries about me. Style Weekly even came out to my house to do a story. For a few years, they featured the contest on television, and one year I sang my "You're Very Richmond If" song on TV:
I had a small following of You're Very Richmond If fans who looked forward to reading my entries each year. Unfortunately, the contest finally ended, and those devoted Very Richmond If brethren were cast out into the world to fend for themselves. I still bump into people occasionally who remember me from those good old days. However, now, thanks to your article, they are going to get me confused with Mad Dog. When they hear my name, they are going to think of upside down crocodiles, Tacky Christmas Light Tours, food pyramids, pond scum eating vegans and who knows what else! I want justice and here is how you can undo a terrible wrong:
When the You're Very Richmond If contest ended, I had more time to concentrate on my song writing. I have written a beautiful, inspirational state anthem which is perfect for the Virginia State Song. (Apparently thousands of other people have written the same song, because they also claim that their song is perfect.) I'm sure that if people heard my song, they would all agree that it makes you feel proud to be a Virginian. It is upbeat. It lifts your spirits and stirs your soul. I have given it the creative title of : " Virginia- by Victor Gottlieb". Unfortunately, from now on, people are going to think of it as "Virginia- by Mad Dog (Victor Gottlieb). When they hear me sing my song, they are going to be thinking about a Virginia with upside down crocodiles and pond scum eating vegans. I think the least that you can do is to help me to get my song professionally recorded, promoted and distributed. Make sure everyone knows it was written by Victor Gottlieb, not Mad Dog Victor Gottlieb.
I want to see my picture on the cover of Style Weekly. I want to see my name printed under my picture. My name, not "Mad Dog". When I was born, we were so poor that my family could not afford a middle name. "Mad Dog" is not my middle name. In fact, I have no middle name. When I fill out official forms. I have to put a dash, where the middle initial would normally go. What a cruel twist of fate that I have finally been given a middle name which I can't even claim as my own: "Mad Dog". (My wife thought of a great nick name for a talented and funny guitarist who was lamenting that he was the only famous guitarist who had no nickname. She suggested "Mr. Smarty Pants". It was a great name, but he was looking for a cool nickname, not a funny one. I would be honored to have that name bestowed on me, even temporarily, to help disassociate "Mad Dog" from my name. Call me Victor "Mr. Smarty Pants" Gottlieb. Put that name under my picture on your front cover. Print this article on the back page - the same page on which you printed Mad Dog's article in your May 16 issue. When you have done those things, I will then consider that you have made a serious effort to correct this injustice.
Your friend and a loyal Style Weekly Reader- despite recent events,
P.S.: Please do not reprimand the person who made the boo-boo. It's obvious that somewhere in their subconscious, they miss me and they miss the "You're Very Richmond If" contest.
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