Thursday, June 4, 2009

City Paper does their part to kill print journalism

There are very few things one can do to kill time while working at a sex shop. You can talk to your coworkers. You can stare at all the merchandise and wonder why so many of them are named after dolphins, rapists of the sea. Or you can read and do crossword puzzles.

While I do engage quite often in options one and two, I am usually that employee with my back turned to the customers thinking of a four-letter word that means "Humpbacked ox of Asia." In fact, I'm usually so engrossed in these puzzles that a would-be robber could probably calmly go over to the cash register and steal the entire thing without me noticing. Remember, I only get paid $2.37 per hour, so not that much should be expected from me.

The highlight of my work week is always getting my dildo-peddling hands on the new Washington City Paper. It gets delivered on Wednesday nights around 9 p.m., just in time for me to ignore the evening rush. And once I finish the crossword, I usually decide to read the rest of the paper. Obviously, I start at the employment classifieds. (Apparently, surrogate mothers are needed. Anyone know if that's off the books?) Then I proceed to columns like The Straight Dope and Savage Love. Finally, I'll take a look at the front-page story.

For the most part, they're OK. They kill time. Sometimes they're even interesting, like the one a couple weeks ago about the chef contest held by the owner of Busboys & Poets and Eatonville. (That restaurant sounds like a disaster, by the way.) And sometimes they're actually clever, like the time they wrote about how they're going bankrupt. That one even got my HTML code all hot and bothered.

But sometimes (and thankfully not as often as they are simply so-so), they're horrible.

Take, for instance, this week's lead story: "Washington's Five Most Fascinating Post Offices."

Uh, what? I showed it to my helper horse Sven to make sure I was reading it correctly (remember, I'm functionally retarded). He said, "Ja!" and then went back to eating his smörgåsar -- he makes his with hay, oats and Beluga caviar.

So it was equine-confirmed. The editor, indeed, decided to dedicate 5,000 words to f*cking post offices. I honestly don't know where to even begin mocking this because, really, as a formerly employed reporter, I find this just so incredibly sad. I mean, can you imagine the editorial meeting?

"OK, intrepid reporters, I have a doozy for you. I bet you'll even fight over it," says the editor as the underpaid staff who got into this business because of an altruistic love of writing looks on in eager, wide-eyed awe.

"Tell us!" they implore. "Please!"

"OK," the editor would then pause dramatically for greater effect, "Washington's Five Most Fascinating Post Offices!"


"Who wants it? Do we have to draw straws? This is going to rock this city!"


"Uh, I don't think you guys understand what kind of opportunity this could be! We can blow the lid right off this USPS scandal!"

"What scandal?"

"The, um, scandal about, you know, which post office is easiest to buy stamps in..."

"But what's the scandal?"

"Look, if one of the you two remaining fulltime employees doesn't take this or at least find a touring musician and owner of a small record label to take this, you're fired."

Fortunately, the editorial board found just that. Justin Moyer, "a touring musician and owner of a small record label," sacrificed himself for the cause of publishing sh*t that doesn't matter. See, Justin's "spent a lot of time at the post office." He's "mailed a lot of sh*t and knows exactly what he wants from the blue-clad public servants he pays to handle his correspondence." He then proclaims himself the "postal-inspector-for-the-people" and vows to "spotlight five of the region's best, worst and otherwise fascinating post offices for your benefit" based on seven criteria: Automated Postal Center, Safety Glass, Prompt Service, Parking, yadda, yadda and yadda.

Honestly, it was hard to read even that far (and not just because I'm barely literate). But I trudged on, as I am the "ombudsman-for-the-people" and I vow to spotlight the region's most pointless, idiotic and otherwise unpublishable articles for your benefit based on one criterion: Retardedness. My two word Washington City Paper front-page article is below:


Maybe it's just my gut and my helper horse Sven's logic, but when you live in the assumed Capital of the Free World, you'd think there were more pressing issues to dedicate 5,000 words to than whether you have to show ID to the clerk if you choose to pay with a credit card at one of five area post offices. That, apparently, adds to the post office's "Triflin' Factor."

OK, I get that this article is supposed to be light-hearted, humorous, etc. But why not combine humor with usefulness? Not that I know anything about that as I try to keep this blog as uninformative as possible, but that's my point! There's a reason everything I write on here is strictly published for free on the Internet; it's useless and uninformative! So why then, was this ridiculously long, useless and uninformative review of post offices not simply put on a blog? What makes this useless and uniformative article printable?

Nothing. And we wonder why newspapers are on a death watch...

As far as I know, people turn to printed publications to learn something -- be it news, movie reviews, restaurant openings or what have you. They don't rush out to pick up a publication to read reviews of sh*t that no one cares about. First of all, how many people go to the post office more than twice a year? Moreover, the post office is a federal institution. Can you really reasonably expect it to be anything less than "triflin'" at any given time no matter where the location? I mean, is one post office so glorious that you would shirk your local joint in favor of driving several miles out of your way (assuming you even had a motor vehicle) to return your helper horse's manure basket there just because he didn't like the color option you chose?

No. No. And, once again, no. (And by the way, Sven, you'll drop a deuce in that maroon manure basket and like it!)

Alas, Washington City Paper is usually a small glimmer of joy at my menial labor job. But honestly, I'd have almost rather been actually doing my job than killing those not-so-precious moments reading about how the post office in Southeast Station "sucks balls." (Although kudos, Justin, on getting paid to use that phrase in print.)

And for future reference, Washington City Paper, when the idea starts floating around to pick out the five best Departments of Motor Vehicles in the area, just picture this:

You DO NOT want to taste Sven's pain. Trust me. Maybe just print five pages of crosswords next time...


jheisel said...

to be fair, Justin Moyer has been in some awesome bands (i.e. El Guapo, Supersystem, etc.).

Marissa said...

Right on. But in my mind, all the members of Fugazi could've gotten together to write this article and it would still be just as non-deserving to be on the front page. I mean, it's about post offices...really?

And no fault of Moyer's either. After all, he did sneak "sucks balls" into it. Double kudos to that. I just think there's so many more relevant things in DC that suck balls. Let Moyer write about that.

jheisel said...

ok, fair enough, I didn't exactly read the article (or the blog post in its entirety -- short attention spans are a bitch!), I just could not stand to see Mr. Moyer's good name besmirched.

Boomhauer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Boomhauer said...

In the City Paper's defense, the article wasn't nearly as bad as their bi-weekly 90% pictures, 10% article front page stories that they seem to shit out like clockwork....I usually pick it up and say, "Oh joy! Another shit article by DeBonis or a snide article by Cherkis paired with some reasonably interesting Darrow Montgomery pics. I'm rock hard at the thought...."

Marissa said...

True. If only they added 5 more pages of just pictures of these post offices. That would've made it perfect.

Heebie Geebie said...

No need to be so cruel to the crickets...

When I get back to DC in August, you'd better f*cking bet I'm on my way to visit these post offices. Thanks for the heads-up!

Sh*t, MP, if Washington City Paper is anything like LA Weekly (, you should write at least one column (You know, "Washington's Five Best Sex Shops You've Never Worked In") -- I guarandamntee that it'd be more well read (and well written, from the looks of things).


Ben (The Tiger) said...

Thought that picture was from the most awesome Budweiser Clydesdale ad ever.

But it isn't.