Your Regularly Scheduled Post About How It’s Not Really Funny

A couple things today that happened:

Twitter shoved in front of my face the tasty morsel thatWGNTV was going to be having a bikini fashion show coming up, andI proceeded to snark on it, andWGN proceeded to get snitty backthat they do good things as well as this crap.

Which, yes. I will freely stipulate that a bikini show is not all that you are. The point of my snarking wasn’t that you’re just trivial peddlers of bullshit. The point is that for going on five years now I’ve sat and listened to one self-satisfied butthead after another tell me that the world used to be good until the Internet kids and all their blogging made it suck, while anyone publishing or broadcasting anything prior to 2003 had Ultimate Authority Points that could beat a Super Nintendo Warlord Dungeonmaster thing. And so I went on a campaign — if you can call lackadaisically linking to stuff I find hilarious a campaign — of pointing out every time one of the Sacred Guardians of Our Democracy did something that could just as easily have been done at Wonkette or, for that matter, on 4chan or Fandom Wank. To point out that GENERALIZATIONS ARE RIDICULOUS.

And whet asked, in comments to the Burris puppet post:

This
might sound dumb, but not really sure what the fuss is about – seems
like a not-funny op-ed cartoon married to a poorly-conceived stunt.
Newspapers are almost exclusively unfunny these days, so I guess I’m
not super surprised? It’s a drop in the bucket compared to Maureen
Dowd? Happy to be corrected if I’m missing something.

I don’t think you’re missing something. My point is that it was not funny, trivial, dumb, and bullshit. (Not only that butit doesn’t even make sense. Whose puppet is Burris? Whose hand is up his paper ass? Why a puppet and not a marionnette? Why a puppet and not a stuffed animal? Most of the criticism I’ve seen of Burris comes down to his megalomania and his inability to shut up, two characteristics that make him the best client in the world if you’re a lawyer late on his rent but don’t necessarily add up to “puppet.”) It’s just lame and sad and full of fail, and that is the deeper meaning.

We keep acting like this is a new problem. In ANY medium, there are and have always been trivial
peddlers of bullshit and the bullshit they peddle. There is no golden age of newspaper authority, the phrase “don’t believe everything you read in the papers” was not invented around the same time Facebook came to be, and radio and television have been killing journalism for years and years and years now yet here we all are, tapping away on our keyboards, yelling into the phone that we just found out something amazing and have to tell the whole world.

There’s always one example of horrifying stupidity you can point to, on any day ending in Y, in every medium you can think of including sidewalk chalking, and one example of shining greatness so profound it makes you want to believe in God. Fer chrissakes, I got into political blogging in the first place to defend good journalism, not to kill it. Though that’s a side benefit. (NOTE TO WGN, THAT IS A JOKE.)

The sooner we all come to terms with the idea that no tool magically makes you above reproach, the sooner we can all get on with fixing things instead of just wanking about them all day long on panels. Because the longer people who do the work carry on bitching at each other over who sucks more, the more it benefits the same people who really are killing journalism. The people who are shoveling money out the back door into trucks while we’re distracted.

A.

7 thoughts on “Your Regularly Scheduled Post About How It’s Not Really Funny

  1. whet moser says:

    My dream is that at the recent big-kids-club newspaper conference they discussed all the traffic that 4chan gets.
    “The sooner we all come to terms with the idea that no tool magically makes you above reproach, the sooner we can all get on with fixing things instead of just wanking about them all day long on panels.”
    I’m starting to bug out a bit about Big Ideas that will save journalism, like Kachingle or Twitter or Everyblock or whatnot. It’s great if they work, don’t get me wrong. But they’re just vessels. You still have to have awesome stuff to put in them, and there’s no Big Idea for that, like a Being Funny Machine (if so The Poorman would be swimming in venture capital).
    Most of it’s still going to be finding people who people want to read/watch/listen to and allowing them to be good at that every day. And I don’t see much discussion or self-criticism in that context.

  2. Athenae says:

    My dream is that at the recent big-kids-club newspaper conference they discussed all the traffic that 4chan gets.
    I seriously think if they all sat around asking if their newspapers needed MOAR PEDOBEAR it would have had about as much to do with journalism as what they actually talked about.
    A.

  3. darrelplant says:

    Didn’t “Network” come out like, years before the advent of the personal computer? And it seems to me that “The Front Page” spent a fair amount of time ridiculing the ineptitude of a certain common type of reporter even back in its first incarnation in the early ’30s.

  4. Dan says:

    A, you may want to give future comments to WGN – and large outlets generally – the DaveBarry treatment (scroll down to red text).

  5. Sarah Deere says:

    Once again – a-fucking-men.

  6. thewayoftheid says:

    As a recovering journalist who is also tired of hearing about the “good old days”? Bra-fucking-VO. And 15,000 illmatic points for the 4chan/Fandom Wank references.

  7. Interrobang says:

    Didn’t “Network” come out like, years before the advent of the personal computer?
    Nope, only one year. Network, 1976. Apple II, 1977. That said, at least according to my Nuyorican friend who used to work as a QPS consultant for a lottabuncha Really Big Periodicals (think the kinds of things you find onevery newsstand in the world), computers didn’t catch on in publishing until at least the mid-’80s.

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