Jack Shafer is all "where's the outrage" about the recent revelations that known bullshitter David Sedaris sometimes bullshits. In a sweeping j'accuse against the New Yorker fact-checking department, the Washington Post's Peter Carlson and Sedaris himself, Shafer blasts the bullshitting memoirist for using the word "exaggerated" to describe some of the more bullshitty elements of his work:
In a column for Slate that feels just as tossed off as this very post is sure to be, media critic Jack Shafer offers a list of suggestions for the soon-to-be-vacated position of New York Times Public Editor. Shafer wants to see "somebody who is under 40, whose worldview hasn't been Lasiked blind by decades inside a newspaper newsroom, and who writes the way fire ants bite." His nominees include blog empress Elizabeth Spiers (who apparently has gas), some lady from the New Yorker, and the dude from Talking Points Memo, who is a Princeton alum. In that spirit we've come up with our own slate of candidates.
It's been unclear whether the whole Ian McEwan kerfuffle—he's been accused of borrowing a little too liberally in his novel Atonement from the memoirs of a British romance novelist, who worked as a Nightingale nurse during WWII—would turn into a highbrow Kaavya Viswanathan situation, or would be quietly swept under the rug. In the Kaavya corner, we've had, well, no one. In the other corner, critics and authors (including Thomas Pynchon!) are practically tripping over themselves to defend McEwan. But just before the bell, here's Slate crusader Jack Shafer to tell you that no, we should not be sweeping this under the rug, and Ian McEwan is a very, very bad man. Oh, and all those critics and authors defending him? They're elitist fucks. Sayeth Shafer:
For all the problems we have with Slate, we wouldn't be able to live without it. Christopher Hitchens is like that loud, drunk uncle we never had, while media critic Jack Shafer is the cranky grandpa we never had, telling us to stop being such nancy boys, but kind enough to offer ways to correct our errors.
• That Cathy Horyn correction? It was a big "fuck you" to Styles editor Trip Gabriel. [WWD]
• Time is an important magazine that must innovate if it wants to stay relevant. This burst of obviousness brought to you by, yes, Jon Friedman. [Marketwatch]
• Friends of Janice Min want you to know that putting Whitney Houston on the cover of Us Weekly was Jann Wenner's idea. Jann Wenner's bad idea. [Radar]
• Jack Shafer wants more and better rowbacks. [Slate]
• Fired Fox news baseball analyst Steve Lyons isn't racist against Hispanics; it's the Jews he can't stand. [USAToday]
• What will the effect of Jeffrey Johnson's ouster from the LAT be? Well, for one thing, it will allow every media outlet to print articles like this one, which speculates about the effect of Jeffrey Johnson's ouster from the LAT. [WSJ]
• Nikki Finke thinks Dean Baquet is a big pussy. [DHD]
• Carly Fiorina wants credit for H-P's turnaround. H-P's spying? Not so much. [NYT]
• Jack Shafer is bullish on Bloomberg News, even though its news "has all the mouth-feel of a cup of talc." Yeah, it took us a while to get that one out of our heads too. [Slate]
• Now you can be bored by twelve full years of Charlie Rose. [WWD]
• Even when Jon Friedman admits to spouting the conventional wisdom he's spouting the conventional wisdom. [Marketwatch]
Over at Slate, media critic Jack Shafer takes time away from reviewing meth-use statistics to give a little advice to recent Observer purchaser Jared Kushner. It's pretty innocuous stuff: Beef up the real estate coverage, don't be afraid to try new things, the web is your friend, etc. But the best part is in the middle, when Shafer, who writes for an organization which has sent so many reporters off to 43rd Street that it may as well be considered a New York Times Triple-A affiliate, offers the following:
Jack Shafer at ye olde Slate points out a study full of hard math and big words. In essence, the study concludes that the New York Times' efforts to penetrate more local markets tend to draw local readers who are more educated. As the educated readers turn away from local papers, those local papers tend to run less material that might have appealed to an educated readership. The next step is soft-pedaled by the study, but Shafer pounces, describing the net effect as a "dumbing down" of local papers; after all, if they lose the eggheads, they can run more stupid shit to bring in the yahoos without fear of alienating the ostensibly intelligent (we appreciate this strategy around here, obviously). In other words, the NYT is destroying America. Again. We tried to read the study itself for more in-depth analysis, but got distracted by cartoons.
The Best Writers at the New York Times (2006) Running out of ideas. What's next, a piece on who picks the "Quotation of the Day"?
Contrary to the below: Jack Shafer at Slate rudely dissects the dynamics of success behind the New York Times' drearily infamous "What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage." Since the NYT article features author Amy Sutherland applying animal behavioral training to her husband Scott, Shafer should know the likely consequences of provoking a man brainwashed like Shamu. Marine biology documentary Orca (1977) has this to say about the title character's psychology:
• Yet another sluggish quarter for the newspaper industry. The excuse this time: rising newsprint costs. Sure, we'll buy it. [NYT]
• WSJ Managing Editor Paul Steiger will keep his job until he turns 65, according to Paul Gigot's source at the State Department. [NYP]
• Seriously, enough with fucking Shamu already. [HuffPo]