Arts and Culture

My response to the bad Matador review

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I recently got panned in this review on a travel website called Matador.  The author obviously doesn’t quite get it, so here is my response:


Hi Julie-

Broke-Ass Stuart here.  I came across your article a few days ago and hadn’t planned on responding, but since you were so proud of it that you sent it on to my publisher, I figured the least I could do is give you my response.  And don’t worry, because of your aversion to strong language I’ll make sure not to include a single swear word in this email.

So I read your review of my book.  It’s totally fine if you don’t like my writing style.  I write the way people actually talk, most travel writing doesn’t, and what I do is not for everyone I guess.  But if curse words offend you that much, how can you sit through an entire Quentin Tarantino movie or handle taking the subway everyday?  If you don’t curse in your everyday life, you must be a far more restrained person than I could ever hope to be and I commend you for that.

But the thing that actually bothered me about your review is that you dogged me for including things like TKTS and the fake bags on Canal Street without expounding on the merits of my book.  For example there are entire sections that tell you things like where to get free food at happy hour, places where you can get a shot and a beer for $5, what the best dive bars are, and where the best street food is.  You’d be hard pressed to find that in Fodor’s or Frommer’s.  To be honest, I would be remiss in my duty to my readers by not including all three locations of TKTS (did you know there were three of them?).  Just because something is well known, doesn’t mean it isn’t useful.  PLUS you hyperlinked the words 'œNew York City' to a wikipedia article, as if people had never heard of it. Now which one of us is telling people about something they already know?  

And if you had actually read what I said about the fake designer bags on Canal St., you would’ve noticed that I rail against the consumerist culture that creates the demand for them and that people shouldn’t buy them because they are made by children in sweatshops.  Maybe I wasn’t clear enough when I wrote, 'œI just want you to know that most of those bags are created by children in sweatshop conditions.  But hey, little hands make little stitches, right?'    

As for only including Manhattan and Brooklyn, you’re wrong, I gave Queens a whole three paragraphs of it’s own and I apologized for it in the book.  But what can I do?  As you noted, the book is already 450 pages.  I’ll make you a deal, since you’re so concerned about Staten Island and the Bronx I’ll let you do those chapters for me when I update the book.  

Truthfully, I don’t think you actually read much of my book because if you had you would have picked up on the extreme sarcasm and tongue in cheek humor.  So this means one of two things:


A. That you wrote a review about something that you actually didn’t read much of (which is called amongst other things: dishonest and unprofessional).




B. That you did read the book but weren’t able to pick up on the fact that it’s about WAY more than just cheap stuff.  It’s also a not so subtle way of championing ideas like DIY, anti-consumerism, and enjoying a life based on the things that you do, not the things that you own.


Either way, maybe this means writing book reviews really just isn’t your thing.  I hear they’re looking for someone to adhere those 'œExplicit Lyrics' stickers onto cover of CD’s.   


Sincerely yours,

Broke-Ass Stuart 

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle , "an SF cult hero": SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.

1 Comment

  1. January 30, 2009 at 2:59 am

    Very nice. 🙂