Posts from May 4, 2004

The tyranny of jocks and coaches

The tyranny of jocks and coaches
: Colleagues and bloggers John Shabe and Joe Territo dredge up unpleasant memories of phys eds past. This is inspired by a story in the Press of Atlantic City about an a-hole coach who gave a kid an award for being the biggest crybaby on the team. Shabe:

Reminds me of when I was in sixth grade and my gym teacher used to tease me in front of the other kids because I was fat. Do these guys take courses to come up with this stuff?


Not much of an athlete myself, I also had my share of asshole gym teachers. It was bad enough that I lacked the upper body strength to pull my lanky frame up a rope or to get my head above the chin-up bar. Not to mention that my eyesight and lack of coordination made it difficult for me to land my bat on the ball. Did those NFL-wannabe elementary and junior high school chumps with physical education degrees have to coax my classmates into picking on me for it?

My turn:

I was tall and clumsy and the coaches were my nemesis. I couldn’t hit a ball within a mile. I had no hope of pull-ups, let alone that dreaded rope. I turned getting medicals into a varsity sport.

I came to hate coaches and their damned gyms. They made most kids into failures. It is because of them that I hated sports and exercise and turned into a couch spud and will probably lose years off my life as a result. (Only well after 40 did I start to “run” to survive.)

My kids had great P.E. teachers in elementary school (we didn’t spend tax dollars on that job description when I was in grade school) and so I thought the era of the a-hole coach was over. But then I came across a coach like those of my youth and I went ballistic, telling her — not that she wanted to hear it — how the coaches of my youth had ruined sports and physical fitness for me and I wouldn’t tolerate it now. Those who can, do. Those who sweat, coach.

So tomorrow at work, Shabe, Territo, and I will share a communal moment of klutzes. And our very jocky colleague Hauck will make fun of us. But we’re tough. We can take it. We are enjoying the revenge of the clumsy smart guys.

Wonkette joins the Washington Post

Wonkette joins the Washington Post
: Well, actually, they just had Ana Marie Cox in for a chat.

Washington, D.C.: What are your thoughts on the Columbia Journalism Review’s new project — The Campaign Desk?…

Ana Marie Cox: I think the CD staffers are great kids. . . though very, hmmm. . . Lisa Simpson in the loftiness of their standards and in the earnestness of their approach.

I once called the project “the Joe Lieberman of poliblogs,” which got the tone but missed the strangeness of it being a bunch of 20-somethings. So now I think they’re the “Jedediah Purdy of poliblogs.” …

New York, N.Y.: As a regular Wonkette reader, I sincerely hope those “Real Reporting” graphics that you’ve just added were just a one-day joke. If you continue to distinguish fact from fiction in your entries, you’re substantially limiting the chance that they’ll be picked up someday by a newspaper in China and reported as fact….

Ana Marie Cox: The “real reporting” tag started out as a joke, though I may yet make it a real “service to irony-impaired readers” . . . I just wish there were a way to make it invisible to those who don’t need it, like closed captioning or something.

[Note: Irony-challenged Steve Outing likes the Real Reporting tag.]

The Daily Stern

The Daily Stern

: OPRAH, YOU IGNORANT SLUT: The Smoking Gun filed a Freedom of Information demand for the 1,600 complaints against Oprah filed with the FCC and Ernie Miller exerpts some of good bits.

: By the way… Howard did say that the wack packer who called to say that he’d gotten a letter from the FCC saying Oprah would not be fined was a hoax. They’re not sure whether the wack-packer was the hoaxer or hoaxee but the FCC hasn’t ruled yet.

: Also by the way…. I sent a complaint to Michael Powell and never did get so much as the courtesy of an automated reply. Nothing.

Can’t win

Can’t win
: So it turns out the anti-oxidant vitamsn you’ve been taking for your heart may be producing more cholesterol that’s bad for your heart. Screw it. Quarter-pounder with cheese, please.

The empire grows

The empire grows
: Nick Denton’s empire grows today with Defamer, the Gawker/Wonkette for L.A.: “LA is the world’s cultural capital. Defamer is the gossip rag it deserves.” The design is beautiful. The target is right.

Nick says in his announcement:

You could argue that New York has no need for a gossip blog like Gawker.

There’s Page Six, and Rush & Molloy, and people in power are accustomed to a bit of mockery.

By contrast, in so far as a city ever needed a gossip rag, LA is crying out for a Defamer. For a city that’s in many ways the cultural capital of the world, it’s woefully under-gossiped.

Sure, the celebrity weeklies give the latest tittle-tattle on the reality TV romance of the week. But the real stars of Hollywood are the producers, and agents, and PR flacks, and studio execs, and screenwriters. They’re usually behind the scenes. No longer.

The designer is Patric King; the editorial director is Choire Sicha; the author is anonymous, just to freak out every studio exec in Hollywood.

His life is an open window

His life is an open window
: A nice Fred Wilson moment on transparency as a raison du blog:

People ask me why I blog. I tell them that it helps me in my business. It allows me to reach more people and connect to more people (many of whom I know only through my blog) than I could ever do over the phone and email. It helps me get out ideas that I am interested in and foster discussion of them so that I can figure out where to invest. It gets me out ahead of the curve.

But on top of that, it allows me to disclose myself; who I am, what I like, who I love, what I listen to, who I am going to vote for, and many more aspects of myself, to the world. If you are not going to like me, you’ll know it from my blog. If you are going to come see me, you’ll know me before you even meet me.

Some people I’ve met with recently ask me if I think its weird or funny that they “know” me from my blog a lot better than I know them. It doesn’t bother me. Blogging makes me transparent. And I like that.

We’ve heard the jokes about candidates for President in years to come whose old opinions will be dragged up from their blogs. And I’ll just bet that will keep would-be pols from blogging. But that’s a bad thing, for transparency is just what is needed in politics.

I spoke with a journalist recently who said he couldn’t blog because he’d probably reveal some opinion that might keep him from, say, covering the White House someday. Organizationally, he’s right; that’s what his bosses would say. But that, too, is a bad thing, for transparency and honesty and candor are just journalism needs.

Fred’s right: About the only business he can imagine where transparency is a bad thing is national security.

As for the rest of us: It could be the beginning of an era of honesty (or at least candor): the age of transparency. That (you’ll be sorry to know) is why I think Howard Stern is so appealing to so many; it’s his blunt honesty. That is also why reality TV is so big; we love seeing people stripped of their pretense.

Sadly, most of society is not transparent at all. You don’t know what goes on it the boardrooms of the companies whose stock you own. You don’t know what happens in most of government. You want to know more about how the news sausage is made.

If citizens’ media leads to any big social change — emphasis on “if” — it could be a drive toward transparency by example. If Fred Wilson and Mark Cuban and Margaret Cho and you and i are willing to stand out here naked, why isn’t the next guy? What does he have to hide? And if he isn’t willing to show us his after we show him ours, then do we want to trust him with our vote or our money or our news?

TV glide

TV glide
: After less than a year on the job, Michael Lefavore is out as editor of TV Guide. It’s not an easy job taking that behemoth that keeps shrinking as readers shift to newspapers, online, and the graveyard (I used to work there). But at a minimum, the person in the post has to love TV and the word was that Lefavore didn’t. That seems so from what he told Ad Age:

He said he was brought in to rework and redesign the title — which he has — and added, “I’m not into living the world of reality television for another year. Who wins on The Bachelor and who doesn’t is not, to be perfectly honest, something I can get very excited about.”

Now I can understand not loving the reality TV overdose as a viewer (which is why I don’t watch all of it). But as an editor, I think this would be a great time to be covering TV, for TV is suddenly acting like news (albeit faux news): In the reality shows, there’s excitement, suspense, drama, controversy, and even a touch of sociology. Watching reality TV doesn’t beat great comedies and dramas. But covering reality TV does.

(And, no, I’m not returning to TV Guide.)

Core II

Core II
: More on last night’s blog fest: Gothamist report (complete with embarrassing photo of middle-aged guy trying to act young laptopping on the floor and obviously having trouble reading this small effing type);

Blue Jake photos; Silver summary; Ari on our panel; en Francais; WhatISee saw; Ellen says

: LATER: CBS Marketwatch watches; SpotOn snoozes; Judith Weiss blogs

: Und auf Deutsch….