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New Yorker Writer Ditches Cash Grab

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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Is begging for bucks frowned upon at the New Yorker? Earlier this week, Sasha Frere-Jones, the storied weekly's music critic and resident Gen X-er, posted a message on his personal blog asking readers to help him raise $5,000. Frere-Jones needed the money, he said, to recover thousands of digital photos from a hard drive that had failed. (Gawker was first to spot the plea.)

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"There's a donation button below, and clicking on it will send me ten bucks," he wrote. "If five hundred people do this, I'll be able to pay for the retrieval."

At some point between then and now, however, Frere-Jones amended the post. It currently reads as a bit of cautionary tech advice (although there's still a "Make a Donation" button along the site's right-hand border).

While it's hard to imagine that passing the hat is looked kindly upon at the World's Most Important Magazine, Frere-Jones says the decision to alter the post was his alone. "It was a naive error in judgment," he says. "I didn't think I did anything all that insane, but then you get the blowback. It makes it seem like it's really not worth posting anything unless you've got a picture of pretty flowers." Though he's already received some donations, Frere-Jones says he plans to take the button down, too.

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As for the reaction from the New Yorker, he says, "They don't give

a shit about that stuff."



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