Media postsMonday March 09, 2009
Read It Read It Read It
The must-read of the week, for anyone who cares about viable newspapers in either print or Web form, is David Carr's column in The New York Times today. He argues in favor of collusion among newspapers in order to save newspapers. I agree. Whole-heartedly.
Yes, eliminate free content. Yes, no more free rides to aggregators like Google. Yes, no more free rides to me. I've paid for The New York Times online in the past and I'll pay for it again in the future, if it comes to that. I hope it does. I'll pay for a good, smart, local newspaper as well, whether in print or online form, whether daily or weekly. A weekly print version, with daily online updates, also makes sense. It just has to be worth my time.
Read Carr's piece all the way through. Times are tough, times are scary, but a world without investigative journalists would be much, much scarier.
The Reductive Headlines of the Seattle P-I
The NY Times, though, is a piker compared to the Seattle P-I, which is increasingly fond of reductive "X or Y" headlines. Their latest from Saturday: BICYCLES OR WILDLIFE? Apparently you can't have both. At issue is the widening of the Burke-Gilman trail for safety reasons, from 8-10 feet to 12 feet. A last-minute argument against widening the trail is the effect this will have on salamanders and wetlands.
The headline is reductive because it's not just cyclists who use the Burke-Gilman, it's all of us. In fact, the primary battle isn't bicycles vs. wildlife, since most cyclists will continue to use the Burke-Gilman no matter what happens. The primary issue is: Safety vs. Wildlife. Or Safety vs. Salamanders. Or Safety vs. Shade. All are less divisive, and thus less jazzy, headlines.
But the P-I got the headline it wanted because cyclists are thought to be pro-environment, and yet, lookee here, when it suits their interests they don't care about the environment at all. If, in fact, that's the issue. And if the issue is looked at myopically.
Because you could say: Well, if the issue is quality-of-life, or safety, or wildlife on the Burke-Gilman, what are the alternatives to widening the path? Is there a way to relieve some of that traffic? And there is. Give bicyclists their own lane on most roadways. A lane with a concrete barrier so they feel safe. Of course that leads us back to the real debate, which is bicycles vs. automobiles. That's "vs.," by the way, not "or."
But that's if this last-minute argument against widening the trail should be taken seriously, and my gut tells me it shouldn't. It's just another argument for doing nothing, which is what Seattle is famous for.
It's Tuesday and I love Bill Moyers
Tom Toles has been the best editorial cartoonist in the U.S. for years. The cartoon below is from February 11 but I thought I'd post it today to remind the Dems, and everybody, what the stakes really are. We're on some thin ice here. That Toles can still make us laugh with this stuff is amazing:
Hulk smash New York Times!
Today the New York Times has a piece on the controversy surrounding the movie, The Incredible Hulk, which won't be released until June.
I'm not a big fan of these types of articles anyway. The star is bickering with X. The fan sites are saying Y. The first movie "flopped," even though it made over $130 million domestically. It's not "news," since it's not about something that's actually happened; it's just gossip and prediction.
I would've let it all slide except for this line: "The monster was mute in Mr. [Ang] Lee’s film, but this one speaks, a nod to the campy 1978-82 television series that starred Bill Bixby and the bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno (resplendent in green body paint)."
First, the TV show wasn't really campy — the way that Adam West's "Batman" was campy. "The Incredible Hulk" took itself seriously. Parts of it, in retrospect, may appear campy, but that wasn't the intention.
More importantly, and correct me if I'm wrong (Tim), but what nod to the series? Ferrigno's Hulk didn't speak. The comic-book Hulk spoke, generally without articles or proper grammar, but he spoke. If this new Hulk speaks, it's a nod to the comic book not the TV show.