Archive for March 6th, 2005

Fair and Balanced? Hell, no!

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From tomorrow’s New York Times:

In the physical world, being labeled
a journalist may confer little prestige and may even evoke some contempt.
But being
a
journalist
can
also confer certain privileges, like the right to keep sources confidential.
And for that reason many bloggers, a scrappy legion of online commentators
and pundits, would like to be considered reporters, too.

A lawsuit filed in California by Apple Computer is drawing the courts
into that question: who should be considered a journalist?

Funny, we have been discussing this regularly at our Thursday
night meetings
.
The consensus among the Bloggers@Berkman seems
to be that to the extent that bloggers want to be accepted as journalists
and thereby get the
access and privileges that accrue to journalists, they are obligated
to follow
the
written and unwritten rules of professional comportment that define that
honored and historically crucial profession. It is a self-enforcing dictum;
those that violate the code lose credibility and access, and are no
longer taken seriously as journalists.

On the other hand, some of us, including the Dowbrigade,
feel that this is a devil’s bargain, and the last thing we want
is to be considered "journalists," if that means pretending to be unbiased
and subtly or
overtly editing our output in order to preserve the favorable opinion
and paltry
privileges meted out by the power structure to the "approved" journalists.

If that means we miss out on the exclusive interviews
and the A-list events and the after-parties and the scoops and the face
time, so be
it. Journalism is a dangerous profession, for the body, for the mind
and for the soul, and its not for the faint of heart. It is addictive,
and terribly sexy, and creates a rush of action and adrenaline, the feeling
of being tapped
into the
mainline
of our
information society.
Gradually, the feeling of being privy to privileged information evolves
into the feeling of being privileged, period. And then the threat of
losing that privilege, of being disgraced and expelled from the brotherhood
can be used to tailor and channel output, focus attention
in certain directions, keep away from dangerous areas.

Once fully into the brotherhood of journalists, the
penalty can be high for betraying the trust of the powers that be. Loss
of job, reputation,
or employability are real possibilities. The stress of sublimating personal
and political preferences in a vain and misconceived attempt at impartiality
can tear apart egos, families and a person’s sanity. Incarceration or
elimination are hazards that touch hundreds of journalists every year.

This is not a fraternity we should be fighting to join. We
should rather be thankful for our foibles, our passionate partisanships,
our phobias
and personal peeves. Fair and balanced?  Hell, no. Welcome to the
real world.

article from the New York Times

Tongue Taboo on Back or Breast

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Consistency
is the hobgoblin of small minds, but let no one accuse the folks at the
NFL front offices of being small-minded. Official NFL gear
licence outlets around the country are authorized to put customer’s
names, nicknames or slogans on the backs of Official NFL Jerseys – with
a few
exceptions.

1,159 exceptions to be exact.  For example, if you want to wear
"Terrorist Fag Hitler" on the back of your Patriot’s jersey – Hey, no
problem.  But
if you want "I Love Beer" or "Black Out", fuggedabouddit, unless you
can find a black-market, off-the-books jersey chop shop willing to do
a down and dirty job on the sly for a few extra bucks.

Other seeming contradictions – "Doggy Style" is verboten, but "Missionary
Position" is OK

Anything with "Fuck" (Bumblefuck, Clusterfuck, etc.) is out, but us
Yids can get away with "schtup” and “schlong”.

Even creative misspellings like "Phque"
are on the forbidden list

Erection is out on Jerseys, but OK on commercials

"Barf Face" is bad, but "Bar Fly" is OK

"Budweiser" is illegal, but Miller, Iron City, Rolling Rock and Sam
Adams are still OK

Finally, the list recently came up for review when fans of New England
Patriots safety Randall Gay were unable to buy shirts with his name
on the back. The rules were changed in his case, but fans of the
Jet’s Reggie Tongue
are still forced to hold their’s.

article from Fox
Sports

Read the COMPLETE
LIST
of banned words

Chimp Attack Motivated By Jealousy

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This
story just keeps getting grosser and more bizarre with every news
cycle. For someone who grew up wanting a chimp like Tarzan’s Chita to
replace
our
largely useless little brother, it is hard to adjust to Chimpanzees as
150-lb flesh-eating killing machines. At least the latest story from
the Los
Angeles Times
hints at a motive…

HAVILAH, Calif. — St. James and LaDonna Davis raised Moe the chimp as
their son. That was the word they used to describe him, and that was
how they treated him — like a hairy, rambunctious child who was a pampered
member of the family.

They taught him to wear clothes, to take showers, to use
the toilet, and to watch television in their West Covina, Calif., home. (We wish we could train OUR children to do these things, with the exception of watching TV, which they they can already do like champs)

On Thursday, the day they marked as Moe’s 39th birthday,
their love for the chimp nearly cost them their lives.

St. James Davis took the brunt of the attack, the ferocity of which left
paramedics stunned. ”I had no idea a chimpanzee was capable of doing
that to a human," said Kern County Fire Captain Curt Merrell, who
was on the scene.

Davis, who remained in critical condition Friday, was
badly disfigured. According to his wife, he lost all the fingers from
both hands, an eye, part of his nose, cheek and lips, and part of his
buttocks. His foot was mutilated and his heel bone was cracked.

Ape specialist Deborah Fouts, director of the Chimp
and Human Communication Institute at Central Washington University, said
the attack may have been prompted by jealousy.

”Chimpanzees have a real sense of right and wrong and fairness and unfairness," said
Fouts, a veteran of four decades of work with chimps. ”It sounds like
people were showering a lot of attention on Moe, birthday cake and the
like. . . . Perhaps the other chimps were jealous of Moe."

Lesson learned: Don’t take cakes to the monkey pen,
unless you have enough for everybody.

from the
Los Angeles Times
via the Boston Globe