If you want to interview UC Irvine literary journalism professor and recently resigned editor of the OC Weekly Will Swaim, do not expect any conventional ‘sit down and talk’ situation. In fact, you should prepare for nothing short of being kidnapped from school and taken to the headquarters of his favorite brainwashing cult.
Or maybe he will politely ask you if you would run an errand with him to Accelerate Training, a motivational speaking program where he is often a guest speaker.
‘My parents thought it was some kind of cult but [Accelerate Training] doesn’t really want you hanging around,’ Swaim said.
One year ago, the OC Weekly was purchased by Village Voice Media, which also owns 17 other free alternative papers including the L.A. Weekly and the Village Voice.
‘It was quite simple,’ Swaim said. ‘They had a different way of running the paper. The system was more centralized, which makes sense if they are running 17 papers. But, the everyday level becomes more complicated.’
On Thursday, Jan. 25, almost one year later, Swaim announced at a weekly staff editorial meeting that he was leaving his 11-year post at the Weekly, where he turned the paper into a powerful political voice that challenged the county’s powers that be on both the left and right end of the political spectrum.
‘A month ago I woke up feeling depressed. I thought that maybe I needed to go on anti-depressants. Then I thought, ‘Wait I’ve never been depressed a day in my life,” Swaim said.
When entering the Accelerate Training office, Swaim greeted the room with an enormous ‘Bonjourno!’ as the female workers in the office flocked to hug his tall thin frame. The friendly, funny and fast-speaking Swaim was clearly liked by most of the people we encounter.
‘I like to call [the message of Accelerated Learning] applied existentialism. It’s about taking responsibility for all things all the time