Friday, April 27, 2007

A thought about television

I just wanted to say that I can barely think of a better example of "bottom of the barrel" programing than those "Judge Judy"-type shows. Why should I waste my time watching disfunctional people get yelled at by an angry judge? And yet my roommate has one on right now. I'm about ready to ask if she'll turn it off for the duration.

I read somewhere that a person's intelligence is inversely proportional to their tolerance for noise. Make of that what you will.


My last column for the Daily News is up over at The Scenic Route. Enjoy.

For the past two years, I've worked as a copy editor for The Ball State Daily News. I'm afraid that after I leave, the copy editing will go out the window. Dave, my editor (who is also leaving and who is a really great guy), seems to think they'll miss me. I know I'll miss them. Working for a daily newspaper is simultaneously the best and most stressful job I've ever had, and I'm sorry to see it end. I'm sure my experience there will serve me well in the future.

So to all you crazy people in the newsroom, thanks for the late nights, the screaming fits and those few, glorious moments when everything came together and just clicked. I'll miss you guys.

See you around.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Reactions to two old things and one new thing

On the Don Imus non-scandal: He's a shock jock. He says offensive things. "Nappy-headed ho's" is hardly the most insulting racial slur I've come across. Granted, I can't fully understand how it feels to be on the receiving end of it, but consider this: The victims in this case were black women playing basketball at a prestigious, Ivy-league university, and everyone accepted that fact as normal. I think we've come farther than the race baiters (Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson) would like us to believe.

On the Duke rape case: Get Nifong disbarred, and get the accuser some help. If you want to go big on social issues, consider this one: Three men were unjustly accused and had their names dragged through the mud because of their and their accuser's race and economic status. Maybe we haven't come as far as we thought.

On the VaTech shootings: Last night, CNN covered the shooter's mailed manifesto for almost the entire evening, playing clips of his video as often as every fifteen minutes and constantly showing his photographs. This went from before 7 p.m. to at least midnight, which is when I turned down the volume on the newsroom TV and stopped paying attention. I agree with Hugh Hewitt that NBC made a profoundly irresponsible and offensive move in releasing the information and include CNN in that assesment. The people at the top of the mass media are, I believe, becoming increasingly cloistered, yet they seem to believe they are still in touch with their audience. Something I learned in my creative writing classes was to write for one's audience, not for one's peers (other writers). This also applies to journalism. CNN's coverage last night was nothing short of dreadful; they brought in parents and friends of dead students to interview on live TV, they constantly played clips from that disturbed young man's video and they rehashed the same point over and over again, that he had slipped through the system's cracks.

This went on for five hours (and then some). They could have recapped at the top of the hour and then moved on to other things; there were huge numbers of civilian casualties from suicide bombers in Baghdad yesterday, but the only way to find out anything about that was on the Internet. CNN gave that story precisely two minutes of airtime at about 9 p.m.. Wolf Blitzer even had his live outdoor studio set up on the VaTech campus, which was unnecessary. The entire evening was a blatant, insensitive ratings grab. I'm not a big fan of CNN to begin with, but last night took the cake.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

I love that new column smell

A new column is up at The Scenic Route. This one's a two-parter, so be sure to check back on Friday for the rest of it.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

New column up, plus a milestone I'd prefer not to think about

The new column is up at The Scenic Route. This week I explained why I don't think Harry Potter's quite all he's cracked up to be, which leads me to the milestone I mentioned in the title of this post:

I got my first death threat.

I know, I know. You'd think it would have been the "suck it up, Islam, everybody gets insulted at some point" column, or maybe the one about Greenpeace. Alas, no.

Last time I checked, I had 29 comments on my column on the Daily News' Web site ( Amongst all the people telling me I should have read the other books before I made my judgement (never mind that I was explaining why I don't want to read them) and the people posting in the persona of their favorite characters was one where the commenter invoked the spell used in the books to kill a person.


Let's step back for a moment, shall we? Point out flaws in a major world religion = some civil discourse, but for the most part, nothing. Point out flaws in a series of children's books = a flood of ad hominem attacks and SOMEONE PRETENDING TO KILL ME.

Geez. Priorities, people!

A quick P.S.: My own view on the use of magic by human beings? It's cheating. We relate to space and time the way we do for a reason.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

It's a twofer!

Sorry about the lack of postage on this and t'other blog; things have been a bit slack around here. So, to make up for it, I've posted my last two columns at once, including the follow-up to my NOLA column. Have at!