"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 27 September 1995. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Disgorgeous George

[George's Unveiling]

Clearly, the greatest obstacle to

the Internet's mass acceptance

is its nonportability. Put

bluntly: it can't be browsed

while relaxing on the toilet. A

shame really, considering how

well suited much of its content

is for precisely that arena.



Consider JFK Jr.'s slick

political throwaway, George,

which hit both the newsstands

and the net yesterday. Junior

managed to whip up some

righteous hype during the past

week, piquing our curiosity

enough to compel us to make a

few calls in search of an

advance copy. After all, it's

not everyday that a banal

marriage of politics and fashion

(in print, no less!) gets the

full media spectacle treatment.


Our efforts earned us a few base

snickers (we might as well have

been begging for a screening

copy of Mortal Kombat) and

little else, so we hacked

together a nifty little script

and waited for notice that the

site had gone live. Our

auto-mailer sent the news at

3:20 am, and we quickly learned

that late-night site management

was the extent of our shared



It's not an issue of political

stance - George doesn't have

one. Instead, the editors of

George settled on the novel

concept of covering statecraft

through the tried-and-true

method of creation and

celebration of celebrity qua

celebrity. We're neither smart

nor slimy enough to set this

kind of object as a goal, and,

even if we did, we couldn't

expect to get Urkel, much less

Cindy Crawford, to strike a

ludicrous pose for our media




Between said cover and Madonna's

backpage PoliSci (cribbed from

bumper stickers peeped during

her '85 Virgin Tour, it seems)

lies the manifestation of a

shrewd concept: the

Details-ization of political

commentary. Articles penned by

Mark Leyner and Jim Carroll

entice in their crass GenX

pandering, but profiling

ex-Nirvana's Kris Novaselic as a

"political insider" is a bit

over the edge by anyone's

yardstick (well... besides

Tabitha Soren's, anyways.)


While it may seem obvious that no

amount of finessing can turn a

piece on "the

institutionalization of rock"

into valuable civic insight,

there's more to George than "The

P.A.C. The Punk Built." There's

gotta be some meat to these

features, no?



Unfortunately, the decidedly

nonpartisan mission statement

makes for some unequivocally

noncompelling journalism. Take

George's John Perry Barlow

interview with Gingrich. Wasn't

Esther Dyson's failure to

disgorge anything but platitudes

from the Speaker in a recent

issue of Wired lesson enough to

squelch exactly this kind of

farce? Barlow eschews gritty

discourse for more palatable

vagaries, and by the time he

admits to using his "hippie

mystic intuition" to assess

Gingrich as an "extremely

compassionate guy," you know

this pow-wow is getting nowhere



At least George's Virtual

Politics page includes links to

sites with a bit more incisive



If only the users of George's web

site were able to guffaw at its

opportunism with both the

ontological perspective and

clarity of mind afforded from a

sojourn to the shitter, it would

be sure to hit big. But maybe

all those cute server pushes

will herd readers in - and with

@radical.media's Phiber Optik

(voting "green" like a true

consultant, eh?) taking care of

"the hard stuff like cgi-bin

programming," who knows what

flashy tricks they've got in


[George, the Web site]

courtesy of the Duke of URL