Friday, October 24, 2008

i'm a dude?

I'm pretty sure had I not chosen to plaster my name and visage all over this epicenter of all things retardulous on the Interbuttz, most of you would think an 8-year-old gay boy named Shannon with a penchant for fabulous unicorns was the author of this blog. While that may be the situation in a world more perfect than the one in which we reside, last time I checked I wasn't a dude. However, to my inner 8-year-old gay boy surprise, some circles apparently still assume I'm a man.

But surprise is the wrong word, seeing as this "circle" I type of is the WaPo-owned Express, which mistook me for a massive tool earlier this month. Express is kind of e-notorious for misquoting or generally f*cking up their Blog Log section -- a feature in which Express editors supposedly highlight the best of local blogs each day. How mine gets included in there from time-to-time is baffling, and a bit embarrassing for the city of Washington, DC, I might add.

Anylastlaughs, what I'm circuitously getting at here pertains to this morning's edition of Blog Log, and particularly Blog Log's words about my e-ramblings of yesterday:

"Not only is the weather suitable for wearing shorts (with properly mixed seasonal attire, of course), but it's also near-perfect for bicycling." figured out something he likes about D.C., adding, "My lungs can intake greater amounts of oxygen than they did in August."

That'd be all fine and retarded, had I not included a giant photo of myself in said shorts as the centerpiece of that post. Or perhaps I just look like a dude? Or maybe it was a typo.

Regardless, it's a ridiculous error and whoever this "Clinton Yates" is who writes these entries for Express needs to learn to read because, besides mistaking me for a dude, Ms. oops, Mr. Yates also put words within quotation marks that certainly weren't my own.

Firstly, I called the weather "damn near-perfect" for bicycling, not simply "near-perfect." Although nuanced that difference is, it adds a certain staccato to the sentence that drives my point home, dammit.

Secondly, I never e-uttered the sentence, "My lungs can intake greater amounts of oxygen than they did in August," as the Express would lead any literate person to believe. While I did type several of those words in my post, I didn't use them in such a boring, unimaginative, nondescript, all-around remedial way. What I did say was, "Either my lungs can intake and process greater amounts of oxygen significantly more efficiently than they did in August, or it's just much easier to engage in physical activity when the weather isn't welding your sweet, shorts-adorned ass to a vintage bike seat."

To me, those sentences, are not only COMPLETELY DIFFERENT in tone, but in idea, as well. Express makes it sound like I'm making some sort of magical biological claim that my lungs somehow accept more oxygen in October than they did in August. For those of us who cannot only read but can also process complex sentences, what I was getting at was quite simple -- "Cooler weather makes for a more pleasant bicycling experience." Apparently, fifth-grade-level irony combined with a routine "either/or" sentence construction is too much for Yates to process...

But even if Express' staff is mostly composed of illiterate idiots, and by all accounts it certainly seems that way, the least the higher-ups could do is make sure to hire people who have the ability to recognize letters as simple shapes. That way, when deciding to use quotation marks or not, Blog Log editors can use the rules of contrast and compare to decipher whether a quote is accurate:

"My lungs can intake greater amounts of oxygen than they did in August."

"Either my lungs can intake and process greater amounts of oxygen significantly more efficiently than they did in August, or it's just much easier to engage in physical activity when the weather isn't welding your sweet, shorts-adorned ass to a vintage bike seat."

You know what? I take that whole contrast/compare rule back. One need only have a vague sense of sight to see that something is afoot here.

Seriously, Express, let's bone up on our journalistic integrity, shall we? DON'T USE QUOTATION MARKS AROUND A SENTENCE UNLESS -- brace yourself for a revelation here, Yates -- YOU'RE ACTUALLY QUOTING SOMEONE. For the love of vocab, it's really not that difficult.

Hell's bells.

And while I'd love to remain legitimately angry at getting free press, my ego doesn't allow it. So, thanks, Express...I guess.

But I can remain legitimately revolted by the way said free press is given. And perhaps it's because I use the ethics of journalism every day in my non e-life why such unnecessary f*ck-ups get me so riled up, however, more so, I think these repeated blunders irk me so because I expect more from a publication that has one of the remaining major players in newspapering (this word exists in the dictionary in my mind) behind it, The Washington Post. If this company can't get a simple quotation in a silly blog correct, how am I to trust it reports on anything else correctly? Is it truly time to bring in the monkeys on typewriters?

I kind of hope so. That is adorable!


Shannon said...

Great. Now Monday's Express will say that you called ME an 8-year old gay boy with a penchant for unicorns.

Which might even be true.

Jack said...

Or maybe that you said that shannon is a dude with a penchant for 8-year old gay boys.


N said...

Maybe the quotes were meant to be read as air quotes, as in allegedly he said this.

FoggyDew said...

Technically, your lungs can intake in more air in October than they can in July. October air is cooler therefore more dense with a greater concentration of oxygen. Don't know about the processing part, that probably doesn't change.

That said, the Express took me out of contex and made me look like a homophobe in my one and only appearance in its back pages.

Gilahi said...

What if we gathered up all the bloggers (Herb, Liz, You, Shannon, and many others) that have been screwed over by the express and all agree to do something, like writing anti-Express articles all in the same day. Maybe we should all post the address and/or phone number for the express and encourage people to call and complain.

There's at least one dolt there, and I would think that said dolt should have at least one editor, meaning there must be two dolts there.

This whole thing with the Express is getting tiresome.

Gilahi said...

We need a good cause....

Adam said...

A decent post, and certainly you have every reason to be upset at the Express for misquoting you, but is this reaction,

"If this company can't get a simple quotation in a silly blog correct, how am I to trust it reports on anything else correctly?"

really appropriate? They messed up a quotation in the Blog Log, and therefore you don't trust the accuracy of their reporting in the rest of the paper? Are you implying that the Blog-Log in the Express holds equal importance to the editors of the Washington Post as other parts of their paper? Or are you just being hyperbolic for affect?

Or I am just taking an e-rant too seriously?

Marissa said...


Excellent questions. Taking a moment away from satire, let me just say this: First, I come from a vantage point that one must never automatically believe anything. That goes for shit you hear on television, gossip, rumors, stuff you may learn in school, and things you read, including major newspapers like the Post.

Now, I think when it comes to news sources, it is best to be a voracious consumer and read absolutely everything you can. And not just multiple news sources. I'm talking about reading transcripts of speeches, pieces of legislation, or, the best method (although rarely possible in many cases), seeing shit for yourself. Granted, none of us have the time (or capability) to do that for every issue we care about, but, in my opinion, firsthand experience remains the only truly objective and accurate form of obtaining news -- and I say this as a reporter.

The reason: Reporters are human and they aren't just capable of making mistakes, having an off day or otherwise fucking up (I've been there, in fact, I may be there right now...), but they also automatically come at an issue with a certain set of views, a philosophical outlook, etc. While the best reporters consciously try to put their own views aside, they cannot completely shut off their thinking minds.

While the Blog Log is a silly little example, the person(s) responsible for writing it either exhibited sloppy journalism or framed what I said wrongly to fit what they either thought I said or wished I said. In this particular case, it's probably the former.

Now, let's for a magical, hot second pretend that my blog mattered in the grand scheme of life. Say, I was Vladimir Putin writing about nuclear weapons. I would hope the reporter summarizing what I, as Putin (damn, that is simultaneously awesome and totally creepy to imagine), had to say about nuclear weapons would take the time to quote me accurately, as well as try to set aside his or her personal views on nuclear weapons. Leaving out details or allowing for misleading nuances (purposefully or not) can lead to reporting inaccurate information, which can allow for really bad stuff to happen. One need only look at how the media handled the build-up to the Iraq War for an example of reporting gone largely awry. (Albeit, regarding that example, there were many other contributing factors besides the two issues -- inaccuracy and agenda -- that I'm attempting to touch upon here.)

Luckily, no one but other bloggers ever reads Blog Log so the worst that can ever happen regarding misreporting is basically what you're seeing now -- a silly, quite meaningless little rant.

But, to answer your questions more concisely:

1) I don't automatically trust the accuracy in any reporting. The Blog Log debacle just illustrates why, under a very simplified context.

2)No, I hope I didn't imply that the Blog Log is of equal importance to WaPo editors as, say, front page news.

3) Yes. I mainly just inserted that for effect...and also I really wanted to post that picture of that chimp at the typewriter. I like monkeys.

Adam said...

Thanks, good answer. You had me at 'chimp at typewriter.'

jheisel said...

your words about putin blogging reminded me: billionaire mikhail prokhorov blogs, and often announces things there. so i am used to seeing headlines flash across my bloomberg terminal like "PROKHOROV BUYS 50% OF RENAISSANCE CAPITAL, ACCORDING TO HIS BLOG".

Righteous (re)Style said...

Wait. Whoa. You're NOT a dude? ; )

maryjanejeff said...

You can pronounce nuclear correctly. As can your readers. And I hope Express staff can too.

When you lived in Bostbn, did you ever read Metro, their version of the public transportation ADD daily newspaper? What did you think of that?

I still need to figure out how I get into Blog Log.

Marissa said...


I had myself just at chimp. Monkeys are endless entertainment.


It's settled Mikhail Prokhorov is my official new oligarch crush.


I know! It's a shame that when I say such-and-such has been on my jock, it's always just a proverbial jock.


Oh I remember the Metro. That was a shabby piece of shit -- far worse than Express. Thank heavens for books.

As far as getting into Blog Log, I've found the less time you spend on a post, the more they seem to like it. It's weird like that. But since I don't think they really read any of the post, I thinking maybe they just do a keyword search or something or a random draw.