Ken Kurson, former editor-in-chief of The New York Observer, erstwhile Rudy Giuliani speechwriter and longtime pal of Jared Kushner (former proprietor of The Observer), is in some bother — fortunately he has a artistic outlet.
On October 23, information broke that Kurson was arrested on costs of cyberstalking and harassment.
One accuser, a former pal of Kurson and his ex-wife who works as a physician at Mount Sinai Hospital, alleges that he focused her with detrimental Yelp evaluations and launched an identical marketing campaign in opposition to one other girl, who was then fired and filed a restraining order in opposition to Kurson. (Sources acquainted with the case advised The New York Times the lady was Kurson’s ex-wife — the harassment of the physician seems to be associated to the breakup of Kurson’s marriage.)
The grievance additionally states the F.B.I. discovered proof that Kurson put in software program onto a pc to observe the consumer’s keystrokes and assumed on-line aliases — like “Eddie Practice” — to subject false claims of misconduct to the particular person’s employer.
Kurson’s lawyer, Marc L. Mukasey, advised The Instances that “The conduct alleged is hardly worthy of a federal prosecution.” Mukasey, a protection legal professional, is, like Kurson, an affiliate of Giuliani’s; his purchasers have included a Navy SEAL charged with and later acquitted of premeditated homicide, and that SEAL’s staunch defender, Donald Trump.
Within the grievance, the 5 accusers describe Kurson’s actions as “diabolical” and “tremendous scary.”
These allegations first got here to gentle two years in the past throughout a background examine for Kurson’s candidacy for a seat on the board of the Nationwide Endowment for the Humanities, which he’d been supplied by the Trump administration. The outcomes of that vetting led Kurson to withdraw his identify from consideration for the place.
However since then he’s saved busy along with his early passion: music.
Earlier than Kurson based Inexperienced journal, the place he doled out monetary recommendation to fellow Gen Xers, he served up basslines for Inexperienced, a Chicago indie band. And whereas he left that group in 1990, he’s continued to songsmith for his new outfit, The Lilacs, which fashioned in 1990 and took a 24 yr hiatus from 1993 to 2017.
Their new stuff is proficient, if in no way memorable, and may all be discovered beneath what seems to be Kurson’s private YouTube web page, “thekurse.” One observe, “I Noticed Her First,” caught our consideration with its Hebrew count-in.
Within the video for the music, Kurson, with a bass guitar strap emblazoned “The Kurse,” calls dibs on a lady over a rival with “tight pants,” “nice hair” and a skinnier body.
“I see why she’s intrigued however it’s not honest/I do know it simply can’t be,” Kurson sings with typical pop punk inflection.
“I’m not gonna take this mendacity down,” he provides within the refrain, “I’m not gonna sit right here as you push me round/I’m gonna stand up and shout it till my lungs simply burst.”
Right here we’ve a fairly good candidate for an incel anthem dated to early 2019, some months after the beginning of the NEH-prompted F.B.I. probe into Kurson that will uncover claims of nameless cellphone calls and messages to Mount Sinai staff alleging his physician pal was having an affair together with her boss. That each one occurred in 2015, at which period the physician stated that Kurson’s “offended, erratic conduct” left her scared for her security at work.
The video for “I Noticed Her First” — which is filmed nearly solely in a studio — poses quite a lot of compelling questions, like: Why precisely, does Kurson seem like recording a few of his vocals on a deck outdoors the place ambient noise would absolutely intervene with the combination?
Different queries: What precisely does Kurson’s Hebrew forearm tattoo — which seems to be prefer it was scrawled on with Magic Marker — say? Was the band’s reunion prompted by Kurson’s exit from the Observer in 2017 — a transfer he said he’d made to work at a company advisory agency run by Clinton allies? What had been these different guys doing the final 25 years? Will this group open for James Dolan’s JD & The Straight Shot?
The music, with its pugnacious vocals and seated guitar solo by Lilacs co-founder David Levinsky, doesn’t look like the work of somebody comfortable along with his lot as the top of a media firm, Sea of Reeds Media. (Kurson’s web site has a bunch of pictures of him in his punk heyday, maybe indicating one thing of a midlife crisis.)
It must be stated that the ’90s work of the band is likewise offended, with Kurson sneering in “The Very Last Time,” a string of denials about slashing tires or placing his fist via a person’s face (or any partitions) whereas insisting that he “served an historic sentence/For an previous and honored crime.”
Kurson additionally has some extra successful, much less aggressive output of late, just like the music “Monica,” through which he pledges to an previous flame, “If I take you out I’ll be a gentleman./I’ll hold my arms to myself,” and, extra pitiably, “I don’t need to keep right here alone” and “do you miss me in any respect?”
However even that music kinda pivots, with Kurson addressing, “You, with the darkish brown roots,” an outline that appears so much like negging. The music is effectively produced, nevertheless, by Tv’s Richard Lloyd, whose memoir Kurson reviewed in 2019.
If you happen to want an eerie pallet cleanser, you may at all times try Kurson overlaying “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” which I definitely received’t say takes on a brand new form of that means in gentle of current information.
No matter you make of the deserves of this growing case or of music as a dependable or defective barometer of a songwriter’s internal state, we should confront probably the most troubling autobiographical declare from “I Noticed Her First.”
“They name Alabama the Crimson Tide,” Kurson sings, riffing on Steely Dan’s “Deacon Blues,” “And everyone calls me Kurse.”
All people? The felony grievance appears to counsel some folks additionally name him “Jayden Wagner” and “Eddie Practice.” These are cooler names for a rock star, although their alleged conduct is unseemly.
PJ Grisar is the Ahead’s tradition reporter. He could be reached at [email protected]