Monday, June 16, 2008

Daily Briefs: The State of American Journalism

Posted by on Mon, Jun 16, 2008 at 9:50 AM

By CHRIS PACKHAM

Meet the Press host Tim Russert died on Friday, and there's not a damn thing anybody can do about it.

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What do you tell the children when the host of a major network's Sunday talk show passes through the veil between heaven and assy-smelling, malaria-ridden old planet Earth? I think you tell them the truth: Sometimes TV round-table moderators die suddenly and without warning, occasionally while interviewing Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt. Meanwhile, stinky old Anne Rice remains well above room temperature, publishing books made entirely out of florid adjectives and crap. Let it be the first in a long, unremitting series of examples that life is totally unfair and arbitrary, and that there's absolutely nothing they can count on. After the jump, some ruminations on Jesus, journalism and Brush Creek. Click here, or you can choose between this photo of thanatoid death rictus James Carville or Title IX Women's Division death rictus Anne Rice:

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Whole world in His hands: KMBC Channel 9 upholds the living memory of Tim Russert and asks the tough question that the other news outlets and America-hating atheist group the Freedom from Religion Foundation are all too scared to ask: Did this dude in Kansas City, Missouri, find a rock with the Virgin Mary on it? Answer: This is such an obvious case of apophenia — seeing patterns in random data — that KMBC might as well have gone outside and taken pictures of clouds shaped like cranky old Gus Witherspoon if they were having such a slow news day:

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Obviously, if some huckster can pass off a rock with an image of a reservoir-tipped condom as a holy relic, I need to quit sitting on this amazing organic tortilla I got from Wild Oats and start spreading the word — I'm pretty sure that Jesus appeared to the hippie who baked it! And then also to me when I paid for it and dropped it in the sack with my organic refried beans and textured vegetable protein:

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It definitely looks like Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins' Left Behind's son of God to me. Anyway, in accordance with the dictates of my faith, I'm making it available for sale on holy apparition apophenia auction site Our Lady of eBay dot com with NO RESERVE, and I WILL NOT SHIP TO NIGERIA, so don't even make a bid unless you have a good buyer rating. Think about it: I'm pretty sure eating a vegetarian burrito made from a Jesus tortilla will cure any of your recurring viral maladies, or possibly send you straight to down into a lake of boiling hogshit for all eternity.

Blessed Be! I'm casting a Wiccan spell of protection and drawing down the moon and beseeching the goddess to watch over all the Midwest Voices bloggers over at The Kansas City Star, including columnist Yael T. Abouhalkah, clumsy right-wing polemicist E. Thomas McLanahan and Magic Sparkle Princess Ross Balano, because McClatchy earnings were down 14 percent from 2007. This unsourced article-ish thing says layoffs began on Friday and will continue today, so my thoughts are with all of my editorial brethren and cistern — because there but for the grace of L. Ron Hubbard go Jenee Osterheldt and, considering that I work in the same industry, me. But as I once heard a patchouli-and-body-odor-scented old lady in a cape say into her cell phone while she was waiting in line to pay for some rolling papers at Cooper's Broadway Tobacco, So mote it be!

Paris is the Kansas City of the Seine: You know how there are people that like to saddle Missouri cities like Kansas City and St. Louis with outrageous claims to old-world magnificence like "The Paris of the Plains"? LIES! I saw Paris this one time, and anyone who says Kansas City is Paris is lying or insane or Michal Dale of the Springfield News-Leader. Readers send her their questions, which she answers with insanity. In this example, she compares Kansas City to Venice, with roiling shit-flow Brush Creek our network of "canali":

Q: I have promised my wife I would take her to Italy, but it's not going to be this year; however, I've heard that there is a gondola ride that you can take somewhere in Missouri. A friend saw a picture of it on a tourist brochure, but he lost it. It had buildings around it, so I think it's in one of the cities. Please help us find it.

— Scott Norman, Springfield

A: That's probably Ambiance on the Water, a fairly new business on the waterway next to Country Club Plaza and the Riverwalk in Kansas City.

"Waterway"? That's one extremely generous way of looking at it. Granted, living in Kansas City beats the hell out of living along a gray stretch of industrial parkway — or in Springfield Missouri, which amounts to exactly the same thing — but this totally unearned reputation for European grandeur is a lot like calling a 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity the "S12 Maseroti 3200GT of the Americas."

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