Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Things I read on the Internet

As the title suggests, this is a post about things I read on the Internet.

New York magazine cover story on Sarah Palin

New York Magazine’s latest cover story is available in its entirety online. NY Mag is cool like that.
Hey, how mad is everyone going to be when the NY Times actually starts charging for online stories? Have they announced a timeline for this? I can’t imagine it going over well with the Internet generation aka the gimmegimmes aka the we ain’t payin for shit Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jrs. (That’s the name of the Times Chairman. I had to Google him. Wouldn’t you?)

Would you look at that? It took me all of one sentence to veer off on a tangent. This post isn’t going to go well.

ANYWAY. Sarah Palin. Nope, still not sick of her.
It’s not that Palin the person interests me anymore. What’s continually fascinating is the media’s ongoing and obsessive coverage of her. It can’t stop, won’t stop, party until dawn.

The 24/7 Palin watch is getting ridiculous, but I think there’s an explanation. To bump up fledgling magazine sales, it’s become mandatory for every publication ever to write a Palin-centric cover story. I’m pretty sure she was featured recently on the cover of Truck & Driver magazine.
It’s real!

This month, it’s New York’s turn. Ever avant-garde, the writers at New York approached their story from a new angle – the successful Palin brand.

In case you couldn’t tell, that thing I said about the new angle? That thing right there? Tongue firmly in cheek.

Maybe it’s because I’ve read so much about Palin, that the stories are meshing into one big expose, but there’s a lot of repetition between pieces. A common element I find is the journalist’s insistence on reminding us of her astronomic popularity and how she generates revenue for the media.

From New York: “Though Palin may not like it, she makes money for Democrats and Republicans alike. Across the political spectrum, Palin is a ratings magnet. Whenever she appears on Fox News, ratings tick up by 10 to 15 percent. At MSNBC, she’s also a ratings phenomenon, albeit with opposite adjectives. Tina Fey’s reprisal of her Palin character in early April juiced Saturday Night Live’s ratings, beating prime-time programming, a rare feat. Online, right-wing sites like the Drudge Report frequently plug Palin headlines, while Palin’s presence at liberal outlets like the Huffington Post and Talking Points Memo routinely sparks hundreds of reader comments.”

The next sentence should read, “…and my editor here at New York Magazine is really hoping the web hits generated by this story will buy him his summer home.”

Come on, big money!

Omar Khadr

Omar Khadr’s trial finally FINALLY starts soon (if you count July as soon.) I’ve said it before, but this shit show is a national embarrassment. The Khadr trial will be  the biggest and most interesting international news stories to come out of Canada in my lifetime. I hope Canadians pay attention. The CBC has an excellent recap of Khadr’s situation you should check out. The Globe and Mail (and other papers, I'm sure) has a journo stationed in Guantamo for the trial. Coverage should be top notch, so follow along. Form an opinion. Fight with me about it and I’ll buy you a beer.

The Rumpus

Man, The Rumpus is good. Here’s a one-two punch of excellent essays for you to print out and enjoy:

1. All We Read Is Freaks – essential for book nerds

2. The Eyes of Texas Are upon You – immigration. Interesting to everyone. Especially you, Meg.

The Doha Debates

Now I’m going to talk about something I did in real life. Sometimes I do things that don’t involve a computer. I know.

Last night, I was invited to a taping of the Doha Debates. This is a huge score; these tickets are not an easy get.
What’s the Doha Debates? Why it’s only the most popular weekend programme on the BBC network! It’s like, a super big fancy pants deal. The Doha Debates is a traditional debate show where the intellectual elite meet to square off in a battle of verbiage. Sometimes they yell. Rhetoric really is a lost art.

Last night’s motion was a good one: the house believes Barack Obama is too weak to make peace in the Middle East.
The motion carried.

As a former debate nerd, I had to vote against the motion, no matter my beliefs. The opposition had a harder position to argue and did a better job of staying on message and verbally bitch slapping their opponent. Ninety per cent of audience questions were asked by Arabs, so the result was biased, in my opinion. Don’t hate me.

On a more vapid note, as I sat there watching the eggheads work; I was struck with an excellent summertime idea. It’s actually a drinking game idea. I’m going to call it the first annual debate-beer-wrassle off. *
*Calling it the first annual means it’s sure to happen again and again. Every event organizer person knows that trick. Also, the name is negotiable because that one kind of sucks.

The debate-beer-wrassle off* is a four-person game, with a fifth player acting as mediator. Teams of two are selected randomly.

First, you have a neutral party decide on a debate topic.
Note – considering players will likely be drunk at the beginning of this game; there will be no debating the Israel-Palestine conflict or some such sort. Fluff or bust. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

The house believes the Olympic Games are a waste of money

The house believes Toronto Sports teams are cursed

The house believes Demi Moore hasn’t had any work done; she’s just a total bitch

The house believes there will be an Arrested Development movie produced within the decade

The House believes Meredith can deliver her closing arguments while walking around the house carrying her partner fireman style

Hipsters don't actually exist. They're an idea made up by yuppies

Those could probably use some tinkering.

The teams have 20 minutes to prepare their argument. Debate ensues. After the arguments and subsequent rebuttals are delivered, the neutral party decides on a winner. The losing team then has an opportunity to redeem themselves by chugging beer and winning the feats of strength that follow.

Feats of strength include wrestling (Greco-roman, Sumo or Jake the Snake Roberts, whatever your pleasure), barefoot races, and push up contests.

Doesn’t that sound like fun?

It’s a mental and physical fight to the death!! Who’s with me? I’m thinking Canada Day long weekend for the first tournament.

Aaaaaand that’s how you turn a quasi-respectable blog post into a drinking game.


  1. Hey, we should go to El Pilote in a couple weeks and drink some Labatt 50, maybe bring that guy you're seeing, I'll bring this gal I'm seeing, we'll sit on a patio until the sun sets and I get cold. How does that sound?

  2. That better be Gord.

    Is 'wooooo' an appropriate response?

  3. That was Gord. hahaha he showed me last night and I let him know how creepy it was to post that anonymously. MANY THANKS for the articles - all incredible. Picking a favourite isn't possible. However I WILL post my fave comment from "All We Read is Freaks". Commenting a comment? Im doing it!

    "As a colleague in the community-college realm, I laughed out loud (and a couple times with tears of joyful despair).
    As a person who thrashes against finding that mental middle way between my gleaming egomaniac and my weepy dowager (even though I know it’s good for me), I sighed with the momentary peace of recognition.
    As a reader who values words, ideas, words, and too much thinking about words, I wanted to pet the writer’s face in gratitude before slapping his butt and telling him to get back out there."

  4. Oh God Meg, I love it. So glad you enjoyed.

    I am reallyyyyy excited to see you both.


Ramble on...