Saucers of Mud

July 25, 2008

You Can’t Even Wrap Fish with an Online Newspaper

Filed under: Uncategorized — matt w @ 12:04 pm

I’m omitting some links from this story both so as not to encourage the miscreants and so as not to publicize the rumor any more than needed. You can find out what I’m talking about by searching online for the quotes, if you want.

A blogger at a certain online publication has long been pushing a rumor about a certain Democratic politician having an extramarital affair. (This blogger has a track record of swallowing — no not that — shaky rumors about Democratic politicians having affairs.) Recently, the National Enquirer, which was the original source for the story, claims to have discovered the politician visiting the woman in question in a hotel; its photographers chased him around the lobby. The online publication’s media columnist wrote an angry column about how the mainstream press is ignoring the story, comparing it to coverage of Larry Craig’s arrest in the Minneapolis airport. He says:

Now, as I’ve already said, the two stories aren’t completely analogous. A cop charged Craig with a misdemeanor, and he pleaded guilty. There’s no denying the police blotter is always news, and there’s no denying that Craig deserved the hypocrisy scrutiny. [redacted], as far as we know, is guilty of nothing beyond running away from tabloid reporters in a Beverly Hills hotel stairway in the wee a.m. after visiting a female friend in her room. [In fact, we don’t know what he was doing in the hotel — MW] Also, all of the Enquirer’s published “evidence” of [redacted] affair comes from unnamed sources.

He goes on to say:

So why hasn’t the press commented on the story yet? Is it because it broke too late yesterday afternoon, and news organizations want to investigate it for themselves before writing about it? Or are they observing a double standard that says homo-hypocrisy is indefensible but that hetero-hypocrisy deserves an automatic bye?

That’s my sense.

This man is a media columnist? Perhaps, yes, news organizations would like some additional confirmation about the alleged affair before they run with a story based only on the word of the National Enquirer. Perhaps they went with the Craig story when they did because an arrest report is more trustworthy than a bunch of unnamed sources in the Enquirer. It was rumored for a while that Craig was gay — I’d heard the rumors, and I’m not particularly close to Idaho political sources — but no newspaper ran the story until the arrest report became public. (Not to mention that Craig has favored all sorts of legal sanctions on gay people, which has no analogy in this case.)

Especially rich is that the media columnist says (between the two snippets I quoted earlier):

If [redacted] had no affair and fathered no love child, it should be easy to erase the hypocrisy charge, and the press owes him that, pronto.

Yes, because it’s extremely easy to prove that something has never happened. It should be easy for this columnist to erase the charge that his colleague sometimes blows goats, and he owes it to him to do that, pronto. Or to shut the fuck up.

[Note: I’m not saying that the politician in question has not had an affair; I have no idea. I’m saying that it would be irresponsible for major newspapers to discuss the allegations when there’s no evidence in support of them beyond the National Enquirer. I’m also not saying that he or his colleague blows goats.]

July 19, 2008

Human Rights in the U.S. Are Worse Than I Thought

Filed under: Uncategorized — matt w @ 2:25 pm

I just got an e-mail from MoveOn.org with the tagline “Free Obama button.” When did they jail him?

July 16, 2008

Still a Few Bugs in the System

Filed under: Uncategorized — matt w @ 5:27 pm

I have Vonage phone service, which I’ve liked very much so far, and one of the nice features is that they e-mail me my voicemail. Recently they’ve introduced a service that automatically transcribes the messages for me. Today I received two messages (lightly edited to remove identifying information).

Message one:

“Good afternoon, this message is meant for (Mathew Winer?). Mister (Winer?) this is [redacted] calling from (Gyco?) regarding the accident that occurred on July 5th. Please return our phone call at the phone number of [redacted for no particular reason]. When calling again please reference number [redacted]. We are available to you 24 hours a day 7 days a week and we do work as a team. So, anyone here in the department will be able to assist you. I thank you for your time, I’m looking forward from hearing from you. Thank you and have your self a great day. Thank you. Bye-bye.”

(If you’re my mom and you just panicked, the car got its bumper scraped in a parking lot.)

Message two:

“Hey, it’s [string of phonemes vaguely resembling caller’s very common name]. I hope your … regards Mr. (Adrian?) had to call. I don’t … but anyway I was just on 53rd street avenue. And I love … east and even know incredible hot this right. We will see Miriam hi. Could save as … just giving (back feelings?) … dry and clear and green is day and I think is maybe think to you. So just want to call to say hi. And I’ll talk to you. Okay, bye.”

No one named Adrian or Miriam was involved in this phone call. I think the moral may be that customer service reps articulate more clearly than real people.

July 7, 2008

Accessibility, Exclusivity, and Improvised Music

Filed under: Uncategorized — matt w @ 12:42 pm

Darcy James Argue discusses a post by Simon Reynolds about how he was put off improvised music* at a gig with Evan Parker and the Anthony Braxton/Adelhard Roidinger/Tony Oxley trio, the same gig that Mark Wastell describes as setting him on the course to becoming an improviser (in a Wire piece that isn’t online). Darcy says that Reynolds’s piece “Reynolds’s post will make a lot of readers of this blog furious,” and hey! it worked for me. Or not really furious — Reynolds is entitled to his tastes, and a lot of people aren’t going to like this music — but confused about what the complaints are.

Long response below the fold.
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