Who the F*#! is Malcom Lagauche?
By Malcom Lagauce (Jeff Archer)
June 2-3, 2004
(In November, 2003, I published this column. Since then, I have gained new readers and I probably have lost some original readers. I am re-publishing this for those who wonder who Malcom Lagauche is. If you have already read this, take the day off, or refresh your memory.)
A few weeks ago, a new reader sent me a message in which she stated that she liked my work, but I was walking a fine line. She said that I came across like a British Rush Limbaugh. I wrote back and described how and why the name of Malcom Lagauche and the statement "Lagauche Is Right" came into being. After my response, I did not think any more of the subject, but recent findings have made me want to clarify the situation.
On my home page, there is a picture of me taken from a cover of a book I had published in 1995 called Strike Four . Adventures in European Baseball. I am wearing a Union Jack shirt with a French beret and Dutch wooden shoes. That's probably why the reader thought I am British.
I am an American citizen born in Rhode Island. For 48 of my 56 years, I have lived in the United States. Eight years were spent in Europe. If you want to know about these years, you can purchase Strike Four. However, the book is mostly a look at my involvement in European baseball, but I constantly mention culture and the differences between various European cultures and that of the U.S. and how these differences made their way to the baseball field.
Now, let's get to point two - the "Rush Limbaugh" part of her statement. I am not as fat as Limbaugh and I have hair, so I was a little confused. Recently, it came to my attention that Limbaugh uses the statement "Rush Is Right" to denote his sorry and woefully outdated ideas.
Let me explain who I am before I continue with the "Lagauche Is Right" theme. Malcom Lagauche is Jeff Archer, an author journalist. In 1991, I was hired as the editor of the East County Weekly newspaper of Alpine, California. I am a prolific writer and I wrote many feature articles. I worked 60 hours a week at a craft I enjoyed. It became evident that I wrote most of the feature articles, so I had to come up with a pseudonym.
I thought for days (well, maybe minutes) before I came up with Malcom Lagauche. The last name was easy. "La gauche" means "the left" in French. My politics are of the left, so I quickly took that name. For a first name, I wanted to use something that would sound goofy or nerdy. I remembered an incident from my days living in Britain that made the choice for me. For a few years, I organized basketball programs in various areas of London for British kids. One of the sports centers was run by a person with the name Malcolm, although he referred to himself as "Mac." One day, in front of about 60 kids, I saw him in the hallway and hollered, "Hey, Malcolm. Can I talk to you for a minute?" The kids roared and kept saying, "Malcolm . Malcolm . " They were making fun of him. He called he aside and said, "Shit, I wish you hadn't called me Malcolm." He then said that the name Malcolm in Britain was uncool and dorky. He added that the kids would never let him hear the end of this incident.
Now, I had two names - Malcom and Lagauche. After writing a few articles using the new moniker, I discovered that I had spelled "Malcolm" wrong. I left out the second "l." Despite the mistake, I have kept the wrong spelling over the years.
The publishers of the newspaper were quite accepting of my wanting to expand the normally sedate weekly newspaper in a conservative community by adding two commentary pages where no subject or political philosophy was taboo. For the far left, I wrote a column called "Lagauche Is Right." The meaning is "the left is right." I never inferred or stated that I was right, only that the left is right. However, there are many word nuances that can be applied here. So, I preceded Rush Limbaugh by a decade in using the term " ______ Is Right." I now realize that unless someone had read my articles from over a decade ago, he/she could construe my title as one of being stolen or borrowed. In this case, I was the predecessor.
For a few years, I used the name Lagauche for the same reason - to make the name Jeff Archer less visible. A funny incident occurred in 1993 that showed my tactics were working.
I started a monthly publication called The Alternative. Along the way, I met, and became friendly with an investigative journalist, Husayn Al-Kurdi. He shared the same zest as I for writing and portraying reality, not white-washing something until it resembled a worn-out clich‚. He had read quite a few of my articles, both as Archer and Lagauche, and I thought he knew about my pseudonym. I was wrong.
The Alternative held a press conference in San Diego shortly after Boris Yeltsin ordered the bombing of his own parliament in 1993. We had six guest speakers, including Al-Kurdi and me, who were seated at a table on a stage. The conference drew about 60 people, including the mainstream press. The following day, several newspapers wrote about it.
The next week, The Alternative came out and the press conference was the feature story. I wrote it under the name of Malcom Lagauche. This was a convenience because I could write a story about myself using the third person.
When the paper came out, I went to Al-Kurdi's house and gave him a few. He said, "Oh, I didn't realize that Malcom Lagauche was there. Where was he? In the front row?" I had no idea he did not know my alter ego. I told him, "No, he was a lot closer to you." Al-Kurdi was puzzled and then I continued, "He was sitting right next to you." He was astounded.
Today, the names Malcom Lagauche and Jeff Archer are interchangeable. Some friends call me Malcom and others call me Jeff. Unlike some who use pen names, my use of Malcom Lagauche is not meant to hide my identity or fool anyone.
Since 1970, I have worked in various areas of the media as well as sports coaching and promotion. The sports part of me is long gone. In 1982, I walked off a baseball field in The Netherlands after the last game of the season and I knew I would never step foot on a field again. I was burned out.
Over the years, I have worked in AM radio as a newscaster and play-by-play sports announcer; at Radio Netherlands in its international broadcasting section as a reporter; as a weekly newspaper editor; as the editor of a nationally-known sports publication; and as the editor of The Alternative. In addition, I have had three books published (check out my home page) with two on the way in the next two years. In the past 15 years, I have had hundreds of articles published in magazines, newspapers, and newsletters concerning racism, religion, foreign policy, sociology, astronomy, history, language, and other subjects. Occasionally, I have written and had published satirical and humor articles.
A couple of months ago, I decided to make the move into cyberspace with a blog site. When it came time to name it, I thought it fitting to call it "Lagauche Is Right." It quickly became evident that a blog space was too small for me, so I began a website with the same statement. The rest is history.