God, which part of this sentence do you want to tear apart first? Via Romenesko:

Alex Knepper, 20, a gay liberal Republican, wrote that a woman who attends a frat party, drinks more than five glasses of alcohol and follows a guy to his room is indicating that she's willing to have sex and shouldn't "cry date rape" the next morning.

Incidentally, the first three spell-check suggestions for "Romenesko" are eerily accurate in this case: "irksomeness, gruesomeness, tiresomeness." It's like some sort of douchebag Olympic motto.
Burning Kansan hit with pepper spray. That's typically more Cajun style.

Speaking of, What went wrong at the Las Vegas Sun and Greenspun Media Interactive: '"The Sun ... took a big gamble on new technology and a bold strategy brought to them by a self-described Internet nerd from Kansas" named Rob Curley.' No, the two stories are not as closely related as some on my f-list would like.
A large Lego giraffe greets visitors at the entrance to the Legoland Discovery Center in Germany. And if you believe a Reuters report from this morning, people can’t help but steal the giraffe’s penis....

One problem: the Lego giraffe does not have a penis. People were stealing its tail. Oh dear.


Bonus points: the story points out it was Reuters who brought us two of the greatest editing mistakes of the information age: the apian adventures of Queen Elizabeth laying 2000 eggs a day and beef panties. But those are copy-editing goofs; this appears to be a German euphemism gone awry. For which there's probably a German word, ninety letters long with three vowels. Oh, those wacky Germans.
In case you missed it, the difficult times hounding print journalism has claimed another victim, as The Onion has been sold to Chinese corporation Yu Wan Mei, prominent purveyor of powerful fish-related products. Don't miss any of today's stories, including Potato-Faced Youngster Lauded For Memorizing Primitive 26-Character Alphabet, Nothing At All Happens To 28 Tibetan Protesters, Their Families and, in sports, Selfless Jason Kendall Sacrifices Bunt, Self For Good Of Team, Advancement Of Runners.
Via Obscure Store: Three days after a Klamath man was arrested at Wal-Mart for allegedly smashing several televisions with a softball bat, he was back at the scene of the crime — this time with a lamp.

How much more modern-Don-Quixote can you get than smashing TVs at Wal-Mart?
sigma7: Sims (Luna)
( Jul. 8th, 2009 02:06 pm)
Make sure you get to see the New York Times online gallery of Edgar Martins's work. It's an interesting exploration of the spaces in which....

It's what? Shopped? Hrm, so it is. (I love the MetaFilter thread. It's like listening to the zeitgeist talk to itself.)

Normally it's just an embarrassment, but for someone who hangs his hat on the lack of digital manipulation, it hollows his life's work something fierce. Reminds me of the conversation with [livejournal.com profile] dawnmipb about whether memoirs could/should have any story craft beyond the inevitable point-of-view embellishment. My stance was/is no, because giving it the label "memoir" has to mean something, and it's such a shallow, simple restriction that you should have no problem adhering to it, or if you feel compelled to violate it, change the wrapping to fiction. If you want to tout yourself as Photoshop-free, then there's only one thing you need to do, and Martins failed to do it repeatedly.

And an interview with the Minnesotan who called shenanigans. He invokes Linus's Law, and that makes me happy.

Also, which is the bigger faux pas, showing up for a dental appointment (a) five days late or (b) naked? (I'll bet Ambien was involved. To put your mind at rest, I do not have a good tan.)
Remember Beccah Beushausen, the "mother" of the "terminally-ill" "baby?" Yeah, the Sun-Times wishes it could forget. From Regret the Error:

A Page 1 story Friday on Beccah Beushausen’s Internet hoax about a terminally ill baby described her as a social worker. While she has worked in social services, she says she is not a licensed social worker. The Tribune confirmed that she has worked at women’s crisis centers in Tinley Park and Pittsburgh. Also, the caption with a photo from Beushausen’s blog said the woman pictured was not her. That’s what Beushausen initially told the Tribune, but the charity that took the picture said it was indeed her, and she later acknowledged that she was the woman in the picture.
About 80 percent of the members The Boston Globe’s largest union turned out to vote on whether to accept $10 million in wage and benefit cuts that the newspaper’s owner, The New York Times Co., says it needs to keep operating the money-losing paper.

Results of the voting won’t be known until later this evening.

Nearly 550 of 690 editorial, advertising, and business office workers represented by the Boston Newspaper Guild cast ballots on a contract proposal that would cut their pay by about 10 percent, slice health and retirement benefits, and eliminate lifetime job guarantees, union officials said.

The Times Co. has said it would impose a 23 percent pay cut on Guild employees should they fail to ratify the contract proposal.


The vote was no, 277-265.

I don't see the Globe lasting past October -- hell, it'll be lucky to get through the summer. (Edit: Or, hey, maybe I'm wrong, cowed by management's slightly-skewed-for-scare-tactics numbers.)

In slightly-better-by-way-of-schadenfreude news, Sam Zell (not inaccurately called "an idiot in terms of journalism" -- but I see quite a few arguments for broadening the terms of the man's idiocy) might lose control of Tribune, which is about two years too late to do any real good. Still, the man's a malignancy on the industry and it'll improve merely by association by having him excised.
My favorite corrections du jour from Regret the Error:

NYT: An earlier version of this article misstated the number of girls younger than 18 who were allegedly invited to a villa by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy. Mr. Berlusconi is alleged to have invited about 40 women to the villa, but only some of them were allegedly younger than 18 at the time, not all of them.

Winston-Salem Journal: An op-ed column yesterday incorrectly referred to Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s family as “an immigrant Puerto Rican family.” Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, and its native-born residents are U.S. citizens.

NPR: We incorrectly referred to a gay rights group as “Equity Illinois.” It is actually called “Equality Illinois.” (Yes, not a newspaper, I realize. Still, it amuses me.)

LAT: Internet reviews: In Meghan Daum’s column Wednesday about Internet customer reviews, the average rate of sales of Three Wolf Moon T-Shirts was incorrect. The shirts are selling at about 100 an hour, not 100 a minute.
sigma7: Sims (Newspaper)
( Apr. 17th, 2009 10:34 am)
State of Play: the last newspaper movie?

The film doesn’t so much lament the fall of the print media as the core of its story – it simply references it occasionally with bitterness. At the same time, the film is wrestling with everything that is wrong with the mainstream print media – internal bias, editorial control over a story, the interruption of ongoing police investigations for the sake of the scoop, the lean towards tabloid journalism and the desire to sell papers above getting the story straight.

...And really I might have let it slip past as a character quirk of a reporter watching his industry fade away – except that the film ends on a dour note with a loving, almost nostalgic look at the printing and distribution of a newspaper – from typesetting to curb. It was like one of those sequences you would see on Sesame Street when you were a kid or something. Only tinged with sadness. And while excellently assembled – I mean you could almost smell the ink on your hands – it certainly leaves one pondering the death of print.
sigma7: Sims (Charlie Brown Batman)
( Nov. 30th, 2008 01:57 pm)
I'm beginning to wonder if the idiot legacy children of editors and publishers who find themselves obligingly employed at Daddy's newspapers or similarly oblivious media outlets invariably end up getting shunted off to entertainment desks. That would explain two stories indicative of the media coverage of "Batman R.I.P." so far: Batman to be killed off after 70 years and Batman Killed by Own Father in Controversial New Comic Book Storyline.

From the first story, graphs two and four: There are rumours that Batman will suffer a gruesome end when his sidekick Robin goes over to "the dark side" and destroys him in a terrible betrayal. ...Others speculate that Wayne may either retire from his duties or be killed by a mystery villain known as the Black Glove. Aside from saturation in what Wikipedia editors would gleefully label "weasel words" (rumours from where? Which others?) there's a classic misstep of advertising your innate unfamiliarity with the material you're supposed to be covering ("mystery villain?" Singular? It's a Grant Morrison book; the beginning of this storyline has been on shelves long enough to have calcified already. There's no excuse for lack of a cursory Google just to bring yourself up to speed if you're going to cash a check based on writing fifteen column inches. Don't just reiterate the press release, please.)

The second story attempts even less depth, and as such, fails less. Ordinarily it'd get points for indicating Dr. Hurt claims to be Thomas Wayne (though in the issue he also claims to be the Devil, the fifth Beatle and a word that rhymes with "orange") and for including Morrison's quotes that indicate his goal in the storyline transcend the usual killing-off of the character. Of course the headline ignores those subtleties, and the story itself asserts Bruce Wayne as being dead three separate times, so it's hard to be charitable to this piece.

Old-media writers: here are a few ways and levels that writing about the "death" of Batman-slash-Bruce-Wayne are wastes of time and column inches.

1. DC/Warner will not kill its cash cow. Yes, Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes and wanted to make it stick, but if he couldn't resist the fan tide back in the days before slash and Mary Sues, imagine when said character is a $1 billion revenue hog. From a business standpoint, it makes no sense.

2. Batman will never consent to being dead. If Warner and DC Editorial were both under full control of the lunatics (insert Dan Didio assessment here) and they mutually decided that Bats should, indeed, become the Dirtnap Detective, that his tales had run their course, that there was no point in milking the fanbase anymore, that might stick for several years. But Batman as icon endures. He exists primarily in a medium where resurrection gets invoked now at funerals, where the most ancillary and nondescript characters from yellow-paged archives return with nearly mundane ease. The character might be freeze-dried coffee on the sidewalk; the idea endures and will persist, if not under this regime, then the next.

3. In terms of comic-book deaths, that's a two, maybe a three. Exploding helicopters? Meh. Tom Tresser and Oliver Queen have both endured those and gotten much better since.

4. For that matter, just looking at the big guns of the Justice League -- how many of them have been dead? Superman (notably), Wonder Woman (yes), Flash (some more so than others, but yes, that's Barry Allen again), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan's fall, death and resurrection got about as much paper devoted to it as a character of his stature could justifiably warrant), Aquaman (I lose track -- is there a new one?), Hawkman (Byzantine continuity issues aside, I'm sure he's been dead *and* alive simultaneously), Green Arrow (of course), J'Onn J'Onzz is currently suffering from death but for God's sake let's just move that right along, shall we?

5. Shall we even bother looking up the Wikipedia entry on Batman R.I.P.? "According to DC Senior Vice President and executive editor Dan DiDio, Bruce Wayne does not really die in the storyline, though it leads to his absence." Or, better still, Morrison on his still-unfolding Final Crisis miniseries: "First it's R.I.P., and we'll see how that winds up for Batman. Then the two-parter I mentioned (#682-683) goes through Batman's whole career, in a big summing up of everything that also ties directly into Final Crisis. And Final Crisis is where we see the final fate of Batman."

It's one thing to write about subcultures and miss the boat -- hell, it's to be expected (note the lack of split hairs over "Which Robin?"). Now, to miss the boat so badly you end up throwing yourself under a train instead, that's pretty impressive. And in entertainment writing, let's face it, it's excusable. It's ephemeral, it's pointless. But the scary thing is if this is indicative of the effort and discipline that goes into the "news" you consume without familiarity, why aren't you terrified?
KC Star lays off 50 employees. (Moar info here.) No, this is not a repeat; this is the third time layoffs -- I'm sorry, "an involuntary workforce reduction" -- hit the paper in the last five months. This is not entirely remarkable -- US News & World Report has gone from weekly to biweekly to monthly in the same timespan. Not that US News is the most notable such incident (I could go on, but I think we can live with one less death knell today), just the most amusing to me because it gets shunted backwards almost as quickly as my NaNoWriMo project.

Anyone still employed by print, have an escape plan.
sigma7: Sims (Newspaper)
( Nov. 4th, 2008 02:52 pm)
I've noticed more than a few prominent journalists pride themselves on their pledges to not vote -- a stance I can't twist my brain into any shape capable of understanding. Leave Eugene Robinson to be the voice of reason:

Anonymous: Gene, please tell me you voted. Chris Cilizza was asked this morning and he said he doesn't vote because he's a journalist. I think you can be objective in your work and still have personal opinions. Isn't that what a professional is? I am not knocking Chris -- I truly enjoy reading The Fix, and I know he is not the only one who thinks the way he does. What is your opinion on this?

Eugene Robinson: Chris is a great journalist and a good friend. Len Downie, the longtime executive editor of The Post who recently stepped down, is one of my heroes in journalism and also a friend of nearly 30 years. That said, I think that they -- and other journalists who don't vote -- are nuts. Okay, maybe that's a little harsh. But people were beaten and attacked by dogs and murdered in cold blood so that I could have the right to vote. I voted early in this election and try to vote at every opportunity. I'd vote in a local race for dogcatcher. Being a journalist can't mean giving up your fundamental rights as an American. At least, not for me.
My offhand prediction: Obama 353, Senate Dems 58, House Dems 247, California yes on 8. Just guessing.

The Raleigh News & Observer sent out a note cracking down on election-night pizza-horking: "Please be polite," wrote Susan Spring, the News & Observer's director of newsroom operations. "If you are working elections, you may have up to TWO slices" of pizza. A few hours later, executive editor John Drescher vetoed the limit, but added that "if Susan Spring chases you with a knife in her hand, you are on your own."

Eight years ago I went to sleep early, after Florida had been called (the first time) -- arrived at work at about 3 in the morning only to find the newsroom buzzing with people, asked the editor-in-chief what was going on, and she talked for five minutes before flittering away and I got absolutely zero information out of her. Hectic, confusing, strange -- but awesome in its own hideous way. Tonight promises to be less so, though some of the lines y'all are reporting from the polls might be the story of the night.

Okay, enough electoral trauma. Fast-forward to tomorrow. No more polarization, no more invective, no more garrulous rhetoric. Back to work.
Frisky moose picks unlikely partner. Said partner just happens to be a red Ford F150.

And Zim would appreciate this possible explanation of said moose's romantic misadventure: “It is possible that the behavior is associated with a neurological disease that sometimes affects southern New Hampshire moose. It’s called brain worm and can result in lethargy and other behaviors out of the ordinary.” And now I know what to call in sick with next week.
-- I finally figured out where GDBM is going next. And it's closer to canon than you might expect. (Canon? In my Goddamn Batman? It's more likely than you think. Hint: Paul Dini.)

-- Got one of my Spectre covers hotlinked from a hilariously strange post to [livejournal.com profile] scans_daily, so I get notices early in the morning when my 20 MB bandwidth cap gets exceeded. This is how the other half lives, I see. I take back my picspam hotlinking arguments. (No, I haven't forgotten picspam, either.) Just seems counter-productive to hotlink to a site that's only going to be up five hours a day because of the traffic. Hrm. (Then again, the tech support page says that a tool for measuring quota use says they "will build an interface to provide this information" and I'm pretty sure that statement is ten years old now. No hurry, kids. At least I've actually accomplished everything I set out to do ten years ago. Just...slowly.)

-- Via Romenesko: Reporters covering Sarah Palin in Clearwater were greeted with taunts by a crowd of about 3,000, reports Dana Milbank. When Palin blamed Katie Couric's questions for her "less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media," her supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks, shouting abuse and hurling obscenities. Milbank says one supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, "Sit down, boy."

-- Speaking of, yes, there's a debate tonight, but it's a pseudo-"town-hall" format, questions submitted in advance, no cross-questioning, so it's a simultaneous stump-speech. Actually, they won't be talking simultaneously, though that would be more entertaining. Sure as hell not watching it -- might try to find a good liveblog so I don't have to. (I will say MightyGodKing's take on the last two debates has been consistently the most entertaining aspect of the election cycle thus far, with Tina Fey a distant second.)

-- Via [livejournal.com profile] rosefox8: I wear my pentical (its just the way it make scene to spell it to me) all the time! and i was playing with it in class and this girl like "your a witch" I said "get your facts right I not!" she said"I not dumb i know what that star means" I said "yep it only has one meaning and i am a witch and you should behead me!" She said "so your a witch" me " No i am a Celt there is a different get it right before you judge" The sad thing is I've had to grade less coherent work than this.

-- The Leonidas icon is moving in time to Todd Rundgren's "Bang the Drum."

-- Via [livejournal.com profile] anw: If you've spent the last few weeks in a funk brought on by a cataclysmic economy, political insipidy, pigskin agony (goddammit, Norv!) or just the general intense fail endemic to the human race, maybe you need a pick-me-up. Read this, then this. Sometimes you just have to delight in the way the world works.
So, let's count the things that have failed today¹.

-- The markets
-- The bailout
-- Wachovia (we could split hairs over what constitutes true fail, but face it, it's close enough -- spell-check wants to replace "Wachovia" with "Chekhovian" and I don't think even Anton was ever this dour)
-- The Legion of Super-Heroes (paging Christopher Bird, please pick up white courtesy phone)
-- Scott Linehan, former coach of the St. Louis Baabaas
-- The Hubble
-- Naked 52-year-old sex offenders found naked in a neighbor's daughter's bedroom with a knife, rope, condoms and a bad heart
-- Bat-flavored coffee
-- Gina Rue's suicide attempt (and I find this just after finishing Crysis Warhead with the riveting bridge cutscene)
-- Getting your butt stapled shut
-- Chili-eating-related fatality (from the Daily Fail, no less)
-- The New York Sun (final issue tomorrow -- print is dead, I tells ya)
-- My sanity and, of course, progress on GDBM (soon, I promise)

I'm sure there's more I'm missing, but those are your highlights. This should be a bank holiday -- like April Fool's, but inevitably self-inflicted.

¹Yeah, I'm cheating on some of these things having happened a few days ago. I'm adopting a quantum denial filter -- they didn't happen until I saw that they happened, and thus the waveform stabilized.
I ganked these off a website that apparently was doing a very good and thorough job cataloging Jay Leno's headlines segment. (I admit I find Jay Leno about as funny as cancer, but for [I hope] obvious reasons, newspaper shenanigans put a twinkle in my eye.) I'd give the URL and credit, but I can't find the bookmark. Stay tuned; I'll see if I can't dig it up. In the meantime, more poached goodies, this time ganked at least three times each. See '39 images' on page two.... )
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