My boss pickes up extra cash selling Volkswagen parts on Craigslist. This fellow was a little more ambitious: NH reporter accused of running prostitution ring.

Doesn’t seem to have worked out too well — I guess maybe I should blackmail my way into the public sector.

Better yet, what ever happened to stumbling across a dying, wealthy businessman looking to commit insurance fraud while investigating a drug smuggling ring?

Kids these days … no appreciation for the classics.

P.S. — Granted, big pimpin’ on Craigslist bears a little more resemblance to this other ’80s comedy, but that one didn’t feature any reporters.

In a journalistic feat that can only be described with the phrase “…so you don’t have to,” Vanity Fair proofreads Sarah Palin’s resignation speech. It turns out to be rife with errors of fact, poor grammar and clunky turns of phrase, and they wind up spilling more red ink than the Exxon Valdez did crude oil.

See what I mean?

See what I mean?

In other news, sitting through PowerPoint presentations causes stupidity; swearing makes you feel better; cats boss their owners around; and teevee commercials suck and are not funny, even –especially — when they try to be.

I’m Ric Romero…and that’s the way it is.

Postscript:
For the benefit of non-English majors, an explanation of the post title can be found here. Also, re. teevee commercials — congradulations, now you’ll never have to read Don DeLillo’s White Noise.

At DailyKos, a commentator posts a revealing interview request from Meet the Press host David Gregory (in re. the recent Mark Sanford debacle). The nut graf:

So coming on Meet the Press allows you to frame the conversation how you really want to… and then move on. You can see you have done your interview and then move on.

Now that sounds like some hard-hitting journamalism, doesn’t it? After the Great Orange Satan got ahold of the email, Gregory issued an explanation that raises more questions than it answers:

I meant my forum allows him to have the time to discuss the situation in a fullsome way, to say what he wants and move on. [emphasis mine]

Ahem… The word “fullsome” doesn’t exist. Perhaps you meant…
fulsome: Middle English fulsom copious, cloying, from full + -som -some
1 a: characterized by abundance, copious b: generous in amount, extent, or spirit c: being full and well developed
2: aesthetically, morally, or generally offensive
3: exceeding the bounds of good taste, overdone
4: excessively complimentary or flattering, effusive
(Source: Merriam-Webster Online)

It’s The Great Falafel-Loofah Controversy of 2004 all over again! Does this man, who ostentibly works in the communications industry, simply not know the difference between the two words (“fully” and “fulsome,” in this case)… or did he mean exactly what he said?

Allow me to defer to Glenzilla on this one.

I think there are a lot of critics who think that . . . . if we did not stand up and say this is bogus, and you’re a liar, and why are you doing this, that we didn’t do our job. I respectfully disagree. It’s not our role.

That was David Gregory last May, asked whether the press had enabled the Bush Administration’s push to invade Iraq. (video here)

Yeah, he means it, all right. If this kind of thing is SOP among the elite of my profession, I suppose it’s no surprise that David Brooks would go ahead and give away the secret of how to succeed in the news business without really trying…

UPDATE:What do I regret? Well, I regret that in our attempt to establish some standards, we didn’t make them stick. We couldn’t find a way to pass them on to another generation.Walter Cronkite, RIP

Via The Daily Dish, legendary nonfiction writer Gay Talese discusses his craft with The Paris Review magazine.

It turns out that Tom Wolfe isn’t the only fashion plate among the big names of literary journalism. Talese is asked how his writing day begins:

I get dressed as if I’m going to an office. I wear a tie.

INTERVIEWER
Cuff links?

TALESE
Yes. I dress as if I’m going to an office in midtown or on Wall Street or at a law firm, even though what I am really doing is going downstairs to my bunker. In the bunker there’s a little refrigerator, and I have orange juice and muffins and coffee. Then I change my clothes.

INTERVIEWER
Again?

TALESE
That’s right. I have an ascot and sweaters. I have a scarf.

Well, whatever works …

Talese adds that he takes notes on shirt boards — those thin pieces of cardboard that are folded inside a dress shirt when you buy it from a store. He likes to tear them in quarters and use them like index cards. It seems his dad was a tailor, and so there they were, just lying aroud. He also uses the full shirt board for outlining, like so:

"I don't like the way you're dressed," Sinatra said.

Is it just me, or does that look like a mind map to you? If so, it’s a highly recommended brainstorming technique. I can’t speak for ascots or cuff links, but who am I to judge?

After all, this is the guy who wrote “Frank Sinatra Has A Cold,” in which we see The Chairman picking a fight with sci-fi legend Harlan Ellison. It’s probably the most awesome moment of celebrity journalism ever. Go read it.

Also, from the junk e-mail files: Make way for the boot of legend, the boot that brooks no obstacle, the boot that refuses to take “No Through Path” for an answer. All bow thy knee to the mighty Pennine:

Viddy this, my droogs

Viddy this, my droogs

Named after a Yorkshire mountain range and handmade for $375 from Shipton and Heneage of London. Pretty sharp-looking if I do say so myself … but that wasn’t what caught my eye:

Calf-high, water-resistant and commando-soled, you are the boot that would have been worn by the toughest heroes of British culture, from Beowulf to Bulldog Drummond to Alex the Droog if only they had been on our mailing list.

Alex the Droog, from A Clockwork Orange? If the ad copywriter who came up with that is reading this: go ask the folks at Dr. Martens about the importance of maintaining a positive brand image … and lay off the milk-plus …

Of course once you start a blog you have to keep it updated — I’ve been slipping. I could say I was busy with my real life, but in fact, I’d been rendered catatonic after seeing Transformers 2.
You’ve probably heard it’s a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad film. It is that and more. Even Harry Knowles — a man who (literally) loves big, dumb, loud action movies the way a fat kid loves cake — said it was, and I quote: foul mouthed, racist & misogynistic! It also runs an hour too long! That’s the film-critic equivalent of Cronkite saying Vietnam was unwinnable on the nightly news: if you’ve lost that guy,you’ve lost Middle America.

If you want a detailed description of how and why this movie sucked, the esteemed Roger Ebert has a good one on his blog:

There was no starting out slow and building up to a big climax. The movie is pretty much all climax. The Autobots® and Decepticons® must not have read the warning label on their Viagra. At last we see what a four-hour erection looks like.

And now for my verdict: Transformers 2 was so bad .. (“How bad was it?”) … so bad it made The Spirit look good by comparison.

Allow me to explain: I saw The Spirit on DVD, and could not for the life of me decide if it was a lousy superhero movie or if it was supposed to be a bad-on-purpose spoof, in the vein of Big Trouble in Little China or Buckaroo Banzai — that is to say, whether I was supposed to be watching Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin or the Adam West TV show. (Apparently it was supposed to be Adam West after all.)

Regardless, I kinda liked it (as did Harry) — enough, anyway, to track down some anthologies of the original comics and find out what went wrong. Frank Miller, the man behind “Sin City” (both the cartoons and the movie) had known and greatly admired Will Eisner, creator of “The Spirit” cartoons. Was he, as some had speculated, purposely dishonoring the work of his now-deceased mentor ?

No, it turns out that the movie is actually surprisingly faithful to the comic, in its basic ingredients — but the tone is completely wrong. What do I mean by that?

There. That, in a nutshell, is the problem. Frank Miller could copy the scenes and the characters but not get The Spirit right any more than John Hughes could have directed “Blue Velvet” (or vice versa as the case may be).

The point is, Miller may have failed, but at least he tried to stretch his creativity and do something different and original. I guess a man’s got to know his limitations. On the other hand, Michael Bay purposefully aimed for the lowest common denominator, repeating the same old crap and, incidentally, fully indulging his own obsessions, and whatever the result is, it ain’t art.

The Spirit, for all its flaws, at least encouraged me to learn more about Will Eisner, one of the all-time great comic artists, whose work I had never encountered directly before. Transformers 2 almost made me ashamed I used to play with those toys when I was a kid.

At least, based on the respective showing of these two films at the box office, we now know the answer to the old riddle: “If you set out to fail and succeed, which have you really done?”

Outrage fatigue

July 2, 2009

Matt Taibbi is better at this journalism game than I will ever be.

Please click on the link, read it and forward it to everyone you know.

That is all.