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« January 2005 »

Memo to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: YOU ARE DUMB.

And you made an AP reporter look like a fricking idiot. Yesterday morning. January 10, 2005. I was riding to work, on the bus, reading the paper. And there, in your Variety section, was a story about how those erudite Europeans were so much more enlightened than the US when it comes to broadcast indecency. Which is admittedly true. But the first paragraph of the article caught my eye, because it read, and I quote:

"When the BBC recently announced it would air "Jerry Springer: The Opera," the West End hit infamous for its vulgarity and a cast of characters including transsexuals and a man wearing a diaper, no one batted an eye."

And this struck me as odd. Because, as a bit of a news hound (as necessitated by this very column), I could have SWORN I'd seen a bunch of stories about pissed-off Christian Brits not only batting eyes, but yelling and shouting over that very decision. And I seem to recall that the opera did in fact actually air. And that after it aired, the BBC had to ramp up security because the pissed-off British Christians* had issued death threats to the executives responsible for the airing. So I checked.

Now it's entirely possible over at the Star-Tribune that they still use clunky typewriters, and make everyone wear those funny little hats with the cards in them, and run up to pay phones shouting "STOP THE PRESSES!" They could be very hidebound. It is also possible that the editor of the Variety section is Amish. Or a hermit. Or have some other excuse for why the elaborate technological marvel that is GOOGLE MOTHERFUCKING NEWS is unavailable to him as a member of the press.

But if you look in Google News, you see a whole passel of stories, starting January 4, about people protesting, setting fire to their TV licenses, complaining, yelling, and the abovementioned death threats and ugliness. If you look way back in Google News, you can also find the article you ran on January 10, run by other papers eight days earlier, when it was written, back when the first paragraph hadn't been completely contradicted by subsequent events.

Was there some kind of cryogenics accident in the Variety newsroom? Were you all frozen in time on New Years Day, unable to bring us any arts coverage, gossip, or Dear Abby for over a week as you hung in a sub-zero limbo? How, exactly, would you tell the difference between a sub-zero limbo and Minneapolis in January? When you staggered out of your eight-day coma, were you amazed at the mysterious future-world of 2005? Did you wonder what catastrophe befell Suprnova? Did you commit horrible social faux pas..es by thinking Brad and Jennifer were still together?

Oh, if only there had been some clue! Some hidden nugget of information you could have uncovered, that would have led you to realize that the story you were printing eight days late had become tragically, pathetically invalidated! Something like an Associated Press story, printed in your OWN GODDAMN VARIETY SECTION TWO DAYS BEFORE that detailed the airing of the show and the protests surrounding it!

It's those fucking elves. Those fucking news elves. The ones that fly in and put the paper together whenever the staff of an entire section of a major metropolitan newspaper is trapped in cryogenic suspension. Sure, they got Dilbert placed correctly, but they could have at least left a Post-It about the Springer thing stuck to somebody's head. Damn those elves!

I have a passing familiarity with journalism, having been paid for nearly two years to engage in an admittedly low-key, miniscule version of it. I know what it's like when you have a giant page to fill and are desperate for anything remotely relevant off the wires to drop in there. But it's in the first paragraph. You end up reading the first paragraph of these things almost by ACCIDENT. And the head of the BBC had to flee his house because of threatening phone calls. People were setting FIRE to their TV licenses. WAKE UP.

In case, by the way, you were wondering what got Britain's own pigfucker contingent up in arms, the Jerry Springer opera apparently contains over 8,000 profanities in the libretto (roughly equivalent to any given month here at YAD) one gay Jesus (which I don't think we've managed to include, though not for lack of trying) and one David Soul, who I promise will never, ever ghost-write a single You Are Dumb.

YAD FUN CORNER: Say "pissed-off British Christians" five times fast!