Friday, May 06, 2005

best website ever

Here's a site devoted to covering all aspects of free expression and censorship. It is by far the greatest Web site ever published.

(Okay, it's mine.)

Thursday, September 09, 2004

New Football Site

I'll be the first to admit that I have close to zero interest in watching a bunch of overpaid Neanderthals toss an oblong ball around for an hour, but I'll read anything by Kerry Byrne. And so should you. Doing so just got a lot easier with Kerry's site, Cold, Hard Football Facts. Launched in January but not updated until today, the site is devoted to debunking the claims of self-appointed football experts. And for those of us who couldn't give a rats ass about what people do with a pig's ass, there will be plenty of content on Kerry's other passion: beer.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

red alert

I can't believe I haven't seen this before. The rest of the site is pretty interesting, too.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Apologies

I suffered a writing injury last week--I sprained my Broca's area attempting an inversely parallel anadiplosis--so I haven't been able to post anything. In fact, I'm still recuperating, trying to limit myself to no more than 50 words a day. So in lieu of my trenchant comments, here are the three best things I've seen on the Internet all week:

Tax Dollars at Work

Poor Bastard (thanks to Odd Todd)

Vegetarianism, Sublimated

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Is the Internet killing the alt weeklies?

On Aug. 9, (yes, I know that I'm trying to catch up here), the Times reported that the Village Voice laid off six staffers in a restructuring effort. James Barron writes:

"As it approaches its 50th anniversary next year, its publisher says that advertising "could be better," though its editor in chief says it is profitable. And it is coping with the Internet and newfangled competitors like craigslist.com, whose listings have done for a new generation of apartment-hunters what The Voice's classifieds did for their parents, or even their grandparents."

Farther down, we hear from Donald H. Forst, the Voice's editor in chief:

"The restructuring situation is tied into our efforts going from a weekly product to, with the Web, daily journalism electronically, in which we're putting stuff up on a daily basis, sometimes on an hourly basis," he said. "The restructuring is putting new resources there, to the Web site, while at the same time maintaining the paper."


So in essence, the Voice is rebranding itself as a diversified media outlet with Web and print components, a daily, as opposed to weekly, cycle and—let us not forget—a smaller editorial staff.

Is this a good thing? On one hand, there are some things that just work better on the Web. Classifieds and listings obviously work better in a dynamic medium, where you can search by keyword or other parameters. The same is true for restaurant, music and film reviews: it makes much more sense to keep reviews in a permanent, searchable archive than it does to dribble them out weekly. And it’s the classifieds, listings and reviews that are the bread and butter of the alt weekly industry. So it makes sense that, as this sort of content shifts to the Web, the print side starts losing money.

But what's getting really squeezed here is the alt weekly's biggest contribution to journalism—the long-form narrative/investigative piece, the kind of stuff pioneered by Norman Mailer, Tom Wolfe and Paul Krassner. What we have instead now snippets—news of the weird, 600-800 word political rants and ironic essays on cock rings and '80s pop culture—all churned out daily, or hourly, by an ever-shrinking news team.

For a different take, check out Matt Welch's excellent piece in the Sept./Oct. 2003 issue of CJR.

In: Having an arrangement

Out: Having a breakdown

Monday, August 16, 2004

Shameless Plugs

Sorry I haven't updated in awhile. I was working on a story, and then I went camping. I'll be back tomorrow with more insightful commentary. In the meantime, check out my buddy Dan's blog. It's way better than mine.

Saturday, July 31, 2004

"This is like the pope coming out in favor of abortion rights."

That's what ACLU board member Wendy Kaminer said about the civil liberties group's decision to refuse to hire those on terrorist "watch lists"--the very lists that the ACLU itself has called unconstitutional.

As for the decision itself, I'm a little surprised. Even though the ACLU caved anticommunism in 1940 with the outser of Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and other communists, the organization has admirably stuck to its guns since then. Even when I've disagreed with them, for example when they filed an amicus brief on behalf of Little Mussolini in his prescription drug case, or, more seriously, when they've argued that corporations have the right to lie about their labor practices, I've got to give them credit for being principled. Until now.

As for Kaminer, I'll give her credit for knowing how to turn a phrase. A contributing editor at the Atlantic (even though she hasn't written anything for them since 1999), she's the origin of the line: "A liberal is a conservative who's been arrested. A conservative is a liberal who's been mugged."


OUT: "negativity"

IN: "red meat"