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Archives for February, 2005

February 28, 2005

I can't wait for part 2

Daniel Radosh

A few months ago on this site I said that one of most important things a blogger can do is promote his friends. Now I thought that was a pretty uncontroversial statement. Maybe even an admirable one -- aren't friends supposed to do nice things for one another?

Apprarently not. It seems that Nathalie at Galleycat has some sort of problem with my most recent promotional blogging, on behalf of my friend Kevin's new novel, Cast of Shadows. What is Nathalie's problem? Good question. Let's read her post together and see if we can figure it out.

Continue reading "I can't wait for part 2" »

February 27, 2005

You can't put anything past those NPR hosts

Daniel Radosh

If you missed my interview on Weekend Edition this morning, it's online. If you're here because you heard my interview, the original New Yorker article -- in which I actually give a bit more of an explanation about why the one billion figure is off base -- is also online.

And if you're wondering about the whole "thank you" issue, first discussed in this post, read on.

Continue reading "You can't put anything past those NPR hosts" »

February 25, 2005

Will the real Huckapoo please stand up?

Daniel Radosh

What is this world coming to when haters can't see a groundbreaking original concept like Huckapoo without wanting to make a cheap imitation to pass off as their own? I'm not even talking about EverGirls. I'm talking about Trollz, the reinvention of the Troll Dolls that you may have read about a few weeks ago in the Times.

Savvy tween watchers (tween culture watchers, I should say), have already noticed the similarities -- hell, just compare the theme song-enhanced Trollz web site with the Huckapoo one. Who the huck are they kidding, right?

But for the full story, you have to come right here to Radosh.net, because only the Internet's number one Huckapoo fan site (suck it, Harmony!) has the exclusive document I'm about to reveal. First off, you're all familiar with the hott mangapoo drawings that adorn Huckapoo merchandise and bedroom walls everywhere. But before the actual Huckapets were even cast for those drawings to be made, the Dark Prince of Huckapoo, Brian J. Lukow, commissioned an illustrator to realize the Platonic form of Huckapoo as it then existed in his head. That's right, Huckapoo were cartoons before they were made flesh. And they looked like this (click to enlarge).


I know, I know, poor Groovy! Anyway, my jaw dropped -- dropped, I tell you! -- when I saw this illustration of the new Trollz.


Coincidence? I think not.

February 24, 2005

If a tree blogs in the forest and no one is there to hear it...

Daniel Radosh

Remember the fuss I kicked up early this month about the new Associated Press Internet blog -- "Bad Language" -- that does not actually exist (as more or less confirmed a few days later by Suw)? Well here's the latest proof. The AP has finally gotten around to offering RSS feeds [via Jarvis] -- and Bad Language is not among them. So even if you were really motivated to read the AP's blog style wire copy (using "blog style" in the same way some hot dog companies use "kosher style" for franks that supposedly have a certain flavor but have never been near a rabbi in their lives) in actual blog format, you couldn't do it. Which is probably for the best.

February 24, 2005

Match.com me, Sidney

Daniel Radosh

The Obsever thinks you might know newly-annointed New York Times Hollywood reporter David Halbfinger as the author of some personal essay in CJR about losing his laptop. But the KewlKids will actually remember Halbfinger as the guy who became a running joke in the old Spy "mailroom" column for repeatedly sending cranky letters and then trying to wheedle a job. (Psst! Matt & Jess, I know where you can find a complete set of back issues.)

But that was a long time ago, and Halbfinger's a real reporter now. "Do I need to be loved by everybody?" he says. "No. I get plenty of love at home."

That's what distinguishes him from freelance hacks like me, who do need to be loved by everybody, and who, as a consequence end up taking on cheesy assignments that we really ought to be beyond by now. It's so hard to say no to editors when you don't get love at home.

All of which is to say that you should feel free to ignore The 10 Best and Worst moments in the History of Dating, from the first issue of the new Match.com webzine (unless of course you're obsessed with lists).

Although I could have sworn a more inoccuous piece of fluff was never written, I did already get one angry e-mail from a guy who called me a hypocrite for giving the thumbs up to the Stonewall Riots while mocking attempts to ban ladies nights. "Equality needs to be a zero-tolerance issue," I was told. "Not too long ago, it seemed reasonable to almost half of the people in the U.S. that certain nationalities didn't deserve the same inalienable rights as others which led to the nation's most severe bloodshed." Apparently the Civil War was fought because blacks had to pay $4 for a drink while whites only paid $2.

February 24, 2005

Yeah whatever, babe

Daniel Radosh

I'm going to be doing an interview with NPR's Weekend Edition about my Oscar piece. Should air Sunday morning. One thing that always bugs me about radio and TV interviews is the convention of the host saying, "thank you for joining us," and the guest replying either, "thank you for having me" or, "my pleasure." I mean, it's a waste of valuable airtime, and it's just so predictable. So here's my chance to shake things up. How should I reply when Sheilah Kast says, "thank you for joining us"?

Update: Thanks to cthomas in the comments I found this NPR ombud column.

Al Cedolite writes: My crotchety German grandparents taught me that the only proper response to "Thank you" is "You are welcome." But NPR's reporters and most of their interviewees respond to "Thank you" with yet another "Thank you." Doesn't anyone say "You are welcome" anymore?

The "thank you" quadrille is something that irks a number of listeners. My sense is that it signifies a certain equality or equivalence between host and reporter. Often people who are appearing on the programs as experts or guests will respond with "You're welcome," indicating an acknowledgement of duty performed. There must be a scholarly monograph here somewhere...

Almost makes me want to "thank you," just for the pleasure of irking NPR listeners.

Continue reading "Yeah whatever, babe" »

February 23, 2005

Cast of Shadows: Picture perfect winners

Daniel Radosh

Congratulations to the following people who won copies of Cast of Shadows for supplying the following captions to the following images. You follow?

Click for larger photos.

2004 GenCon76 SW Clone Trooper_72.jpg

"Photograph shows zaftig clone trooper of the fictional Galactic Republic as he stands guard outside of Exhibit Hall D at the Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis, Indiana, August 2004. Though unarmed the clone's presence kept the Orange Julius stand free of female activity for the duration of the GenCon 2004 event. Behind him stand two civilians from Earth, a planet near Indianapolis. (Photo by T. Rob Brown)" — T.G. Gibbon (who notes, unnecessarily, that he writes captions for a living).

Continue reading "Cast of Shadows: Picture perfect winners" »

February 23, 2005

Defining literary down

Daniel Radosh

The New York Observer calls the Jacobs/Queenan feud a latter-day Mailer/Vidal (scroll down).

"I guess I had heard they wanted to liven things up," said Mr. Jacobs. "I suppose it’s nice to be in a literary feud—I just wish it was with someone with a bit more weight. I want Mailer next."

He’s not the only one obsessed with Norman Mailer. Mr. Queenan said, "You sort of wish it was like Norman Mailer." Mr. Queenan claimed not to have read "I Am Not a Jackass," although he said that someone had alerted him by phone to its impending publication.... "Jacobs seems to have the idea that nobody’s ever written a nasty review before," said Mr. Queenan. "He should take a look at Scott Peck’s reviews …. Have you read Scott Peck?"

Totally. That Road Less Traveled shit is brutal.

February 22, 2005

That explains why the Gorilla Foundation hired Paris Hilton

Daniel Radosh


"'Through sign language, as interpreted by Patterson, Koko 'demanded' plaintiffs remove their clothing and show Koko their breasts,' the lawsuit said."

That's hot.

February 22, 2005

Help make Iran safe for obsessive Huckapoo watchers

Daniel Radosh


That is what these guys blog about, isn't it?

February 22, 2005

Cast of Shadows: Casting Shadows

Daniel Radosh


[What is Cast of Shadows? Click here for the introduction to this series]

The clock is ticking on CoS contest #5 and the winners will be announced here soon. The photo caption thing was so popular that I'll be doing at least one more in the next few days. But meanwhile, I'm gonna make the next winner do a little work. Fun work.

CONTEST #6: Cast the movie

Continue reading "Cast of Shadows: Casting Shadows" »

February 22, 2005

Potter's field day

Daniel Radosh

small wpdr fler.jpg

If you never downloaded Wizard People, Dear Reader, the insanely funny digital remix of the first Harry Potter movie that I wrote about last year Salon, don't miss your chance to see writer Brad Neely perform it live at New York City's Anthology Film Archives next Friday, March 4, at 8 pm.

February 21, 2005

Drudge wants to know if there even are a billion gays in the world

Daniel Radosh

More proof that this Internet blog isn't (only) a waste of my time. My article in the latest New Yorker — One Billion — had its origins in this post, where I challenged the claim that the Oscars are watched by a billion people worldwide.

Close observers will note that the particular citation I was questioning on the Internet blog was from an article in The New Yorker — a fact my own New Yorker article omits. I wanted it in there — partly for full-disclosure, partly to innoculate the magazine against carpers with Internet blogs — but I was told that the magazine almost never references itself unless it absolutely has to (for example, I guess, to write puff pieces about people who were there under Mr. Ross) and that since the magazine didn't actually claim the billion figure as a fact, a mea culpa was unnecessary.

Anyway, it's not a finger-pointing kind of piece, so it's not that important.

February 17, 2005

Web spoor

Daniel Radosh


• Not just another pretty face with a failed bubblegrunge band — a pretty face with a failed bubblegrunge band (wait, they're still around?) and a lovely folk cover of Straight Outta Compton. OK, so it's basically a novelty rather than fully functioning genre transplant like The Gourds' Gin and Juice, but it's a free download and it is a pretty interesting (intentional?) comment on how shockingly tame the original sounds now. Plus I guarantee you've never heard the phrase "niggaz with attitude" sound so wistful. [Thanks, Jon Jackson]

• How was I not aware that Marc Cooper has a blog? Great stuff from the least knee-jerk leftist around.

• The humans are weak. My Little Golden Book About ZOGG. [Thanks, Daniel Kahn]

• Most disturbing porn image ever (vanilla category). [Via We Are Making Porn] Both links NSFW.

• Law enforcement quote of the day: "He had a tremendous amount of Vaseline covering his entire body and the interior of his vehicle." [Thanks (I think), Susan Caskie]

February 17, 2005

Cast of Shadows: Easiest contest yet

Daniel Radosh


[What is Cast of Shadows? Click here for the introduction to this series]

Welcome to CoS contest #5, where I'll be giving away books to five winners for doing pretty much no work at all.

CONTEST #5: Photo caption it!

Continue reading "Cast of Shadows: Easiest contest yet" »

February 17, 2005

Cast of Shadows: Two big winners

Daniel Radosh


[What is Cast of Shadows? Click here for the introduction to this series]

In honor of the first mention of CoS in the MSM, I will now announce the winners of contests #3 and #4. Trust me, you'll want to see the winning anagram, after the jump.

Continue reading "Cast of Shadows: Two big winners" »

February 16, 2005

Hey, we found the guys to record the commentary track for the special edition DVD

Daniel Radosh


Yahoo News: "An attorney has filed the latest in a series of civil lawsuits against twin physician brothers, accusing them of impersonating one another and sexually assaulting female patients in an obstetric-gynecology practice."

All Movie Guide: "Two twin brothers, both renowned gynecologists, descend into madness after becoming romantically involved with the same woman."

Continue reading "Hey, we found the guys to record the commentary track for the special edition DVD" »

February 15, 2005

"Internet blogs" meme watch cont.

Daniel Radosh

At post time, 52 results from Google News for "Internet blogs."

In previous hip-to-be-square meme watches, 3 results for explanation of Internet as "the global network of computers," 0 results for the World Wide Web as "the graphical portion of the Internet." Somewhere, Mosaic is weeping.


February 14, 2005

Cast of Shadows: Photo finish

Daniel Radosh


Jason Feifer could have won Cast of Shadows contest #2 with any one of the pictures on his blog, but he sent the one above, about which he writes: "Years ago, when eBay was still a new novelty, I was kicking around and stumbled upon an item I've yet to truly understand: the disposable dress for swingers. Perhaps, in some of the grander swinging days, it was just better to throw out a dress than try washing off what the men had left behind. Either that, or this is a testament to a modern advancement in detergent."

Honestly, the dress is great, but the photo isn't anything special, so the contest was really a toss-up between this picture and the only other entry I got (keep trying, Jessica. I have a lot of copies of this book, and the way these contests are going, your odds of winning are pretty good).

Actually, I did get one fabulous picture... from (and of) Cast of Shadows author Kevin Guilfoile. Ask your publisher, man. They're giving them out left and right.


Deadline reminders: Contest 3 ends Wednesday. Contest 4 ends Thursday.

Lost? Don't be.

February 14, 2005

Somebody is so fired

Daniel Radosh


There are so many unkind things one could say about pro cyclist Nicole Freedman's new look, which, as you can see, is "full-facial tattoo that combines the markings of several species of tropical saltwater fish." For instance, one might observe that it is hardly surprising that Nicole is "currently accepting dating proposals," assuming, of course, that said proposals are entirely hypothetical.

But I keep thinking about Nicole's sponsor. Not Ford, the one below it. Remember the enthusiastic young exec with the dynamic pitch about how this team of fresh-faced hotties was a perfect fit for the brand? He's being escorted from the building right now.

Update: In the comments, Jim asks if this is a joke. The answer, of course, is yes. I admit I didn't get it at first because 1) it was reported straight in Cycling News, 2) I'm perfectly willing to believe that pro-athletes are freaks and 3) not knowing anything about the cycling world, I didn't know that some male cyclist recently caused a fuss by getting a full-face Maori tattoo, which provides the context that explains why Freedman would make this joke.

In conclusion, do you think she's still accepting dating proposals?

February 14, 2005

hip to be square meme watch

Daniel Radosh

My friend Michael has proposed that the new hip way to refer to "blogs" should be "Internet blogs." (This is the same guy who, back in 1995, had us clarifying every mention of "the World Wide Web" with "the graphical portion of the Internet.")

Looks like Cathy Young of the Boston Globe got the memo and then some: "Jordan's downfall also attests to the rising power of the 'new media': the Internet weblogs." Yes, she said "Internet weblogs." And she put "new media" in scare quotes.

Update: Michael points out that there really is a memo: "Convinced that Internet weblogs, or blogs, helped defeat Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle and out Dan Rather's bad reporting on President Bush's National Guard duty, House and Senate Republicans are scrambling to put them on their government Web pages. "Senators want them even though they don't know what they are," says a strategist helping several GOP senators develop the chat and news pages."

Continue reading "hip to be square meme watch" »

February 14, 2005

Would it have killed him to name one of those "several blogs"?

Daniel Radosh

The small subset of people who read this site regularly but who do not suffer from long-term memory loss will recall that back in October I defended writer A.J. Jacobs when his book The Know-It-All was savaged in The New York Times Book Review.

Shortly after that, A.J. called to ask me for some advice. Various editors, circling a literary feud like sharks who feed on literary feuds rather than other fish or people, were asking him if he'd like to write a response to the nasty review. I warned him against it. I said that even if he managed to be funny about it, taking the high road would reflect better on him. I also admitted that, if I were in his shoes, I'd never be able to take my own advice.

Apparently, A.J. wasn't either. Yesterday he struck back in, nicely enough, The New York Times Book Review, with an essay titled, I Am Not a Jackass.

The writer -- a humorist named Joe Queenan -- seemed genuinely angry with me, as if I had transported his niece across state lines. He called me a simpleton. He said I was so dumb, I wasn't even ''the smartest person at Entertainment Weekly'' (the magazine where I used to work). He referred to me as a ''jackass.'' A jackass. In The New York Times Book Review. I flipped around to the other reviews. Did they call Philip Roth a doofus? Did they call Gish Jen a nitwit? No, just me. A jackass. The review was so vicious it was written up in The Village Voice, on several blogs and, oddly enough, in Women's Wear Daily. Yes, when your book review is mentioned next to articles about taffeta, you know it's bad... Why did it have to be reviewed by Joe Queenan? Couldn't they have picked someone nicer? Like Dale Peck? Or Moktada al-Sadr?

February 14, 2005

Cast of Shadows: Hot ass cows fad

Daniel Radosh


[What is Cast of Shadows? Click here for the introduction to this series]

Another lucky reader has a copy of Cast of Shadows in the mail. I'll officially announce the results of contest #2 later, as I don't have picture uploading capacity at the moment, but in the meantime, here's

CONTEST #4: Anagram it

Continue reading "Cast of Shadows: Hot ass cows fad" »

February 11, 2005

Cast of Shadows: Our first winner provides our next contest

Daniel Radosh


[What is Cast of Shadows? Click here for the introduction to this series]

Congratulations to Eric Nelson who won himself a copy of Cast of Shadows by devising this contest, in which someone else can win a copy of Cast of Shadows:

CONTEST #3: Who would you clone?

Continue reading "Cast of Shadows: Our first winner provides our next contest" »

February 11, 2005

No comment

Daniel Radosh

Tim LaHaye, co-author of the Left Behind series, which prophesizes that the Antichrist will use the United Nations to launch a nuclear strike on America and form a one-world government thus ushering in the end times, is outraged that is publisher is putting out a new series with a different viewpoint.

The Last Disciple postulates that the events described in Revelation actually occurred during the First Century. "They are going to take the money we made for them and promote this nonsense," said LaHaye. "I don’t know what science fiction he is reading."

[Related: It's the end of the World and the Writing is Bad]

February 11, 2005

Sometimes I think about two women doing a spell, and then I do a spell by myself

Daniel Radosh

Gina took one look at that New York Times article about the history of lesbian kisses on television -- which in the print edition (and the original online edition) featured a photo captioned "On 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer,' Willow (Alyson Hannigan, left) and Tara (Amber Benson) kissed for the first time on the episode 'The Body.'" -- and said, That's not Tara!

Sure enough, as the outraged Amber Benson fans at Whedonesque point out, the Times accidentally used a photo of Willow with her second galpal, Kennedy. What's lost due to this mistake -- in addition to the last shred of journalistic integrity Jayson Blair managed not to destroy -- is several degress of hotness. No, seriously, given that the story is supposed to be about the relative boldness or lack thereof in showing girl-girl kissing, using the wrong photo here actually undercuts the story. Below is the photo that appeared in the Times, followed by an actual still from The Body, featuring a much more passionate smooch. (Click to enlarge)

willowkennedynyt.jpg willowtara.jpg

Of course, there are a couple of other ways the Times could've gone here.

Continue reading "Sometimes I think about two women doing a spell, and then I do a spell by myself" »

February 11, 2005

As real as it may seem

Daniel Radosh


One of the tricks to being a successful freelancer is repurposing your material so that a single batch of research can be spun into two or three articles for different publications. I've never been very good at this, but I am on a bit of a roll right now, and in fact have probably taken it too far, since I've kind of gone full circle.

It started while I was working on my dispatch from the national abstinence education convention, which appeared in the February issue of Playboy. Shortly after that, I wrote a briefing for The Week about Alfred Kinsey, and realized that there was crossover between the abstinence movement and the anti-Kinsey movement. Starting wtih material I wasn't using for Playboy, I wrote a piece about Kinsey hater Judith Reisman for The New Yorker.

Here's something telling about the power of writing for The New Yorker. I've been writing for Playboy for more than ten years now, and have never once heard that Hef has had anything to say about my work (even though I usually write for a section he apparently likes to meddle with a bit). Now, however, my editor calls to tell me that Hef saw the New Yorker piece (not recognizing my name) and said, We should run something about these nutjobs! To which my editor replied, I know just the writer. Which is how I came to write the article in the new issue of Playboy about Reisman and Robert Knight, who caused a bit of a furor when he compared Kinsey to Josef Mengele.

Continue reading "As real as it may seem" »

February 10, 2005

So I said to him, "How dost thou get the buckles on thy shoes so shiny?"

Daniel Radosh

Apparently Gawker was too ADD addled to catch the real oddity in today's Circuits section.

In an article on Overexposed Overheard in New York, Lisa Napoli writes that co-founder "Morgan Friedman's 'Aha!' moment came at a cafe in Williamsburg, Va., where he overheard a man talking on a cellphone with his girlfriend."

And so naturally he decided to start a Web site about overhearing conversations three states away. Just imagine how quickly the idea would have come to him if he'd been in a cafe in Williamsburg, you know, Brooklyn.

[Thanks to MM]

February 10, 2005

Bee Keeper

Daniel Radosh


My friend and neighbor Jason Little also happens to be one of my favorite cartoonists. His crisp style, witty eye for detail and lovely color palate are downright Hergé-esque.

Catch the first installment of Motel Art Improvement Service, a new "bubblegum noir" adventure starring Bee, the plucky hipster last seen in Jason's graphic novel, Shutterbug Follies.

February 10, 2005

Cast of Shadows: Would You Prefer to Ease Into This?

Daniel Radosh


[What is Cast of Shadows? Click here for the introduction to this series]

The good news about Cast of Shadows Contest #1 is that all the entries so far are excellent. The bad news is, there have been only four entries so far. So I'm thinking maybe Contest #2 -- for your chance to win a copy of Kevin Guilfoile's novel Cast of Shadows -- should be a little less taxing.

And so here is CONTEST #2: Send me a picture.

Continue reading "Cast of Shadows: Would You Prefer to Ease Into This?" »

February 9, 2005

Cracking the code words

Daniel Radosh

Interesting lede on a wire story about the Oscar ceremony: "The 77th Academy Awards, which broke from tradition by selecting comic Chris Rock as this year's host, is shaking things up a bit more by varying the way the awards will be presented."

Hmm, what tradition would that be? The Oscars have certainly had comics as hosts in the past. Oh, I know: this time, they got someone funny.

Update: Why yes, this post does make no sense at all. See the comments if you haven't already figured out why.

Update 2: As long as we're talking about ways to shake up the format, here's my 2 cents: tell winners they can talk as long as they want, but they can't thank more than three people. Face it, no matter how glamorous a movie star is, no one is interesting when they're entire speech is a laundry list of co-stars, agents, and producers. Three people -- including "the Academy" and family members, and spend the rest of your time saying something interesting if you have anything interesting to say.

February 8, 2005

Time to update the AP stylebook

Daniel Radosh

Explanation of the day: "The term 'booty' technically means a pirate's treasure, but in slang also refers to a girl's backside or sex."

[Via: Obscure Store/

February 8, 2005

Cast of Shadows: The Grasstroturf Buzz Begins

Daniel Radosh


Attention! This post may start slow, but stick around for the chance to win a big prize. (Hardcover book big, not, you know, N-Gage big)

A few months ago, one of this site's first and most dedicated readers, Kevin Guilfoile, told me that his debut novel would be coming out soon. Kevin is a contributing writer at The Morning News, a former partner at Coudal, and a former designated hitter for Modern Humorist, for which he co-wrote My First Presidentiary back when we though W would be ha-ha funny, rather than scary funny.

All of this lead me to assume that, like everyone else I know, Kevin had written a Hornbyesque dick lit comedy. So imagine my surprise when an advance copy arrived, and I found myself holding an honest-to-goodness thriller. Let me tell you a little something about Cast of Shadows, including, of course, how you can win a copy.

Continue reading "Cast of Shadows: The Grasstroturf Buzz Begins" »

February 8, 2005

It's a major award

Daniel Radosh

Unless we find out that those cripple-hating bastards at Low Culture pulled the plug on Hilary Swank (Oh, like you didn't know), the 2005 Week Magazine Blogger of the Year Awards (a subset of the 2005 Week Magazine Opinion Awards) are unlikely to generate Oscar-level controversy and debate. Still, any time actual prizes are dangled in front of bloggers it's worth making at least a little fuss.

As with last year, the main awards -- columnist of the year, single-issue advocacy, and editorial cartoonist -- are selected by a distinguished array of writers and thinkers, while the blog business is fobbed off on bloggers. The blog panel was myself, Glenn Reynolds, and Jeff Jarvis, joined this year by Ana Marie Cox. Through a haphazard process of consensus, we sought to honor "bloggers who most consistently produced work that was thoughtful, provocative, and that made a difference." You know what that means: no goofy patois.

And the nominees are...

Continue reading "It's a major award" »

February 7, 2005

What do you mean the election's over?

Daniel Radosh

It's been a while since I've had much use for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, the lefty press watchdog. The good actual media criticism it does has been largely supplanted by similar, faster work on the part of bloggers, and too often, what it considers journalistic lapses is simply stuff that offends its political sensibilities.

Today it claims that The New York Times killed an investigation on Bush's bulge (you remember, the whole 'he was wired for the debate' debate) because it was afraid of influencing the election.

The story collapses on several counts. Partly because it cites other articles that the Times did run that "could have" influenced the election against Bush, and partly because it's sad to see anyone on the left clinging to the idea that if there had been just one more Bush scandal, everything would have been different.

Continue reading "What do you mean the election's over?" »

February 4, 2005

Ombudding the ombudsman

Daniel Radosh

If the Web guys at The New York Times knew how to code a proper link, I would have been aware sooner that Dan Okrent and Jonathan Landman had enlisted this site in its defense of Sarah Boxer.

Not so fast, gentleman.

First of all, a couple of factual corrections. As I stated in my original post on this matter (the one Okrent quotes but doesn't quite link), Michael Zimmer's argument originally appeared in the comments section at BuzzMachine. Also, the part about sexing up the story is my own addition, not Zimmer's.

What's more strange (and which may explain why Okrent didn't actually link to my post?) is that I then go on to say that "I found Sarah Boxer's article completely appalling. I just disagree with most folks about why." And now, in fact, Jarvis and Rosen are saying stuff that I mostly do agree with, and that is more in line with what I said before, which I'll now spell out even more clearly, just in case anyone from the Times is reading this.

The problem can be summed up entirely by Boxer's sentence, "Until he picked up the phone, he was just a ghost on the Internet."

Waaaay back in the early days of the Web I wrote ocassional articles (e.g., this and this) mocking what we then called Old Media's cluelessness about New Media. What Boxer's choice sentence reveals is that in eight years, nothing has changed. Think about it: Ali is a "ghost on the Internet" because the Internet is mysterious (and spooky!). When you read what someone writes on the Web, you don't know anything about them. But in what possible sense does talking to him on the phone really change anything? The only information it adds is that Ali not only knows how to type, he has a voice. Can CIA agents (or ghosts?) not use the telephone, and lie over it?

The only difference is that the phone is an older technology. Boxer and Times readers are comfortable with it. It's not scary, so a reasonable person is able to have a conversation on one and reach informed conclusions about the person on the other end of the line. Well sorry, but if your beat is going to be the Internet, you ought to be able to do the same when you read someone's blog. I'd say that you know a lot MORE about a person by reading their blog carefully for an extended period of time than you do by having one 45 minute phone conversation.

The problem with Boxer's piece is not that she tried to capture the feel of an online debate, and chose to sex it up with some faux-lively language. It's that it reveals a fundamentally condescending attitude toward the medium itself. I disagree with Jarvis and Rosen that a "critic's notebook" must always illuminate and untangle murky debates -- there is a place for simply informing people that a murky debate is taking place, and wallowing in the murk -- but unless the writer really understands and respects the milieu in which these debates take place, the result is always going to obscure more than it informs.

I also pointed out earlier something that Landman can't bring himself to admit. Boxer was going for a laugh: Check out those wacky bloggers. Fair enough, I said. Bloggers can be wacky. But the joke would have been much funnier if it made more sense. As it is, the article was the equivalent of saying that Michael Eisner and Mike Ovitz are wacky not because of their twisted backstabby business relationship, but because they ran a studio that made movies about talking animals. All it did was reveal its own cluelessness.

February 3, 2005

Next: Reuters to offer singing telegrams

Daniel Radosh

There's a rumor out there that the Associated Press has launched a blog called Bad Language. I say rumor, because even though this launch was announced in the form of an AP wire story, picked up by various news outlets, and half-heartedly mocked by bloggers -- none of these bothered to say where a person might find this supposed blog.

A Google News search suggests a possible explanation. The "blog" actually takes the form of articles sent out on the AP news wire to be picked up by publications that subscribe to the AP (apparently only the Miami Herald is bothering). So BL is only a blog in the sense that it is written in wacky blog-speak, rather than stiff AP speak (though the latter is in fact much funnier, as The Onion knows). In other words, it's not a blog at all. Not even remotely.

Anyway, what I find particularly amusing about this is that not only did no one who ran with the launch announcement care enough to ask how one might read this blog -- the AP itself didn't even bother to explain it. Do you think maybe their heart's not in it?

February 3, 2005

Well, there were enough pictures of pretty girls on the site already

Daniel Radosh


My ad-busting friend Carrie was getting a little sick of those periodic "fun" news stories about people renting advertising space on their bodies, so she posted an eBay listing of her own: Advertise on my colon!!!.

"Here's a chance to put advertising where it truly belongs."

So what product should Carrie advertise? I'm thinking SUV.

February 3, 2005

Feelin' Groovy

Daniel Radosh


If you're like me, you often find yourself thinking, Why doesn't Huckapoo get the media attention they deserve? Sure there's the ocassional hack job in New York Magazine, Newsday, or The New York Times, but what about the mainstream press?

Well now the Huckamarch to world dominance continues with a major article in The Hamburg Area Item spotlighting hometown hottie Groovy Tuesday, known to her Hamburg area friends as Jordan Price.

What do we learn from this story? Oh, I'm so glad you asked.

Continue reading "Feelin' Groovy" »

February 3, 2005

Yay, Iraq!

Daniel Radosh

No, seriously. I like seeing elections as much as anybody. And while it's true we really have no idea how large the turnout was yet, obviously most Iraqis wanted to vote, and I'm not sure why this is considered a surprise.

The task for Americans now is to give Iraqis every opportunity to use the momentum from the election to create a democracy. The strange thing is, usually when someone says that these days it's intended as a criticism of the antiwar left, as if we're all implicitly rooting for the insurgency, and that if we'd just "support" ordinary Iraqis (translation: the Bush administration's policy), everything would be fine.

Now obviously like most progressives I'm very aware that neither the Islamist terrorists nor the leftover Baathists are fighting for an Iraq that anyone in their right mind would want to see. Of course they should lose. But the idea that Iraq stands or falls on what the utterly powerless left chooses to say and do is nuts. The real question is what should the US government do to support ordinary Iraqis, and waving purple fingers of solidarity ain't it.

Continue reading "Yay, Iraq!" »

February 2, 2005

Cue that Green Day song they play when somebody on TV dies

Daniel Radosh


I didn't really believe it when the first photos appeared a month ago. She's just wearing a really firm sports bra, I told myself. But now Drunken Stepfather has a new series of very disturbing images, and I'm forced to face the fact that the glory days of the Lohanboobies are gone.

I hope you had the time of your lives

February 2, 2005

After all those years of fucking investors in the ass, a little anal sex no longer seemed so bad

Daniel Radosh


Jake forwards this amusing L.A. Times article.

Adelphia Communications Corp. has quietly become the nation's only leading cable operator to offer the most explicit category of hard-core porn.... The move is a radical departure for Adelphia... Five years ago, Adelphia stirred a local controversy by dropping Spice — a popular soft-porn channel — from newly acquired cable systems here because Adelphia founder John Rigas considered X-rated programming immoral.

Today, the 80-year-old Rigas and one of his sons are facing prison terms after being convicted last summer for looting the company and engaging in fraudulent accounting....

[The newly available] Triple-X-rated movies feature anal sex and visible ejaculation.

And just in case you're wondering, yes, the article does throw in that thoroughly debunked claim that porn is "a $10 billion industry." Here's the money shot:

Continue reading "After all those years of fucking investors in the ass, a little anal sex no longer seemed so bad" »

February 1, 2005

Web spoor: sick leave edition

Daniel Radosh

If you're wondering why I'm the one blogger who has had nothing to say about the Iraqi elections, it's because I've got a bug and didn't want to faint in the middle of a post. Here are two links I've been saving, and don't even have the energy to give a proper set up right now.

• The truth about dik-diks and more pudublogging from Bob Harris.

• The searchable Buffy. [via Boing-Boing] Good for occasions like this.

DAWN I just wanted to tell you that Buffy won't be coming in today. She's really sick.

Oh, no.

Yeah, last night she was vomiting, and then this morning she was vomiting some more, and then, just when we thought she was done, she was vomiting again.

Yeah, we got that stomach flu going around.

Her exact words were, "I've got stuff coming out of both ends."

Thank you. That's very helpful.

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