Thursday, September 05, 2002
Kurt Andersen, in yesterday's Slate
I think Ira Stoll's blog Smarter Times, now in suspended animation while he edits the New York Sun, may be proof that blogs are not scalable conceptually: As an informing principle for an entire daily newspaper, fear and loathing of the New York Times is not quite sufficient. (By the way, I'm not a subscriber to the Sun, but this morning they delivered four unsolicited, unaddressed copies to the front door of my house in Brooklyn. Desperation marketing?)
Last night's poll wasn't as much fun as I'd hoped it would be. . . I guess I was hoping I would get to talk to Seth
personally or something. Anyway, I haven't got time to write much today, as one of the tanning beds
broke down, so I'll try and give the highlights tomorrow.
However, it's fun to note that on the front page of today's Sun, Dick Armey's name was spelled 'Army.' Well done Seth and Ira
Wednesday, September 04, 2002
Today’s New York Sun contained a flyer reading, “The New York Sun is conducting an important study with its readers and would like to invite you to share your opinions on news, newspapers, and the media.” In return, those surveyed were offered two movie tickets. Never one to pass up a free movie (especially since XXX is playing at that ultra-swank Parkway Pointe
theater), we dialed up the number, 1-866-224-7373. A pre-recorded voice told us that a pollster would be with us within 2 minutes. Seven minutes of holding later, we had to hang up, as Mr. Yousefzadeh
was waiting for his appointment. We called back around 2:30pm (3:30 Eastern). This time the recorded voice said that the lines were closed, and we would have to call back tomorrow, as the lines were only open between 8am and 9 pm. Which of course doesn’t make sense, but so little about the Sun does.
But WAIT! I just got through! More tomorrow. . .
Today’s New York Sun brings an exciting new feature that’s sure to worry some of the bigwigs at the other New York dailies. It’s called James Taranto’s Best of the Web, and. . .it’s available on the Internet for free. And the Sun’s version is “excerpted from yesterday’s Best of the Web,” which is also still available, for free, on the Internet. So Seth Lipsky and Ira Stoll
continue to reprint material, in this case out-of-date material, that is available elsewhere for free, whilst charging readers fifty cents for the privilege.
Elsewhere, Anthony “American” Giglio gets nearly a full page to write about tomatoes!
At least he appears to have written it specifically for the Sun.
Tuesday, September 03, 2002
Seth and Ira both file bylined pieces today, one nearly as bad as the other. Stoll is first out of the gate with a dreary piece on anger over the companion website to an upcoming public television documentary which offered "an inaccurate and one-sided history of the Arab-Israeli conflict."
Stoll dutifully lists objections of the offended parties, including an assertion that "Man of Peace" Ariel Sharon provoked the present intifada. This must be some of that "intelligent" and "up-market" content Hendrik Hertzberg, below
, was talking about. After all, other legitimately up-market publications are allowing staff to ride hobbyhorses and grind axes
in the editorial offices. We only note that Bruce Kovner could have saved his hard-earned
$20 million and instructed Ira to establish a free warblog.
Seth Lipsky, a no-nonsense New Yorker from Great Barrington, Mass., follows with a history lesson. Predictably, he goes to conservative a-hole Founding Father Alexander Hamilton ("All communities divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are the rich and well-born, the other the mass of the people.... Give therefore to the first class a distinct permanent share in the government") for support on a war on Iraq. Domestic support for such a war dwindling, and international support never really present, we suppose one has
to go back to relative antiquity to find anyone
supporting Bush's lunatic behavior. Apropos of, well, nothing, Lipsky writes the following: 'Hamilton went on make the essential point that when one nation attacks another, it is automatic that a state of war comes into being. “This state between two nations,” as he put it, “is completely produced by the act of one — it requires no concurrent act of the other. It is impossible to conceive the idea, that one nation can be in full war with another, and this other not in the same state with respect to its adversary."' Does he know that Iraq has never attacked America?
In his column today, Dan Dorfman tells the funniest goddamn joke I have heard in a long time. Here it is, in full, as it was printed under the heading “Wall Street Chuckle”:
“Early one morning a man called up Merrill Lynch and said to the operator, ‘Good morning, can I please speak to my broker John Smith.’ The operator responded: ‘I’m sorry sir. That’s impossible. Mr. Smith is dead. He committed suicide last night by jumping out of his 32nd floor office.’ The Merrill Lynch customer hung up the phone. The next morning he called again and got the same operator on the phone. ‘Can I speak to my broker, John Smith?’ he asked.
“The operator replied: ‘Sir, don’t you remember you called yesterday morning, and I told you that Mr. Smith was dead, that he had committed suicide by jumping out of his 32nd floor office.’ The customer hung up the phone, but the very next morning he was back on the phone with the same operator and same question.
“The exasperated operator fired back: ‘Sir, I told you yesterday and I told you the day before that Mr. Smith is dead, that he had committed suicide. Why do you keep calling back?’
“‘BECAUSE I LOVE HEARING IT,’ he said.”
That Dan Dorfman is one funny guy