"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 9 January 1997. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Hit & Run LXVI



The editors of Time, that

quintessence of conventional

wisdom in print, have sent an

early valentine to Salon1999,

the web's own pretender to the

equivalent online throne, naming

them Best Website of The Year.

This neat handing of the baton

may just be our Favorite Media

Moment of 1996 - the

newsmagazine for people who

don't read, patting the head of

the website for people who don't

surf. Taking the New Yorker's

cue, they didn't fail to take

special mention of Anne Lamott's

bimonthly "Word for Word"

column, which really pushes the

package towards the absurd: Cool

Page of the Year - a diary

published on the web by a writer

who has never even seen the web.

While Beethoven proved that you

don't have to be able hear the

end result in order to make

beautiful music, print media's

misdirected applause over the

admittedly talented Lamott

sounds a lot like one hand

clapping (or slapping, as the

case may be.)



If forced at gunpoint to detail

our favorites of 1996, we might

recall how pleasantly surprised

we were to find FEED still worth

the effort (if sometimes

extraneous), engaged in a tender,

nurturing relationship with the New

York Times [Does this meana Suck-

Fantagraphics venture

soon? ed.] Of course, nothing

astonished us more than seeing a

useful pseudo-search engine

being launched by Addicted To

Noise - who would've thought

that Garbage-lover Michael

Goldberg would be savvy enough

to not only recognize that

film-seeking consumers would

make a great ad sale, but also

sober enough to do something

about it? Our favorite

proof-of-concept for the web in

'96, though, had to be The

Onion, whose word of mouth was

creeping far beyond Wisconsin

well before they decided to

abuse this network, and who

managed to inadvertently stop a

heinous trend in its tracks with

their clumsy but much-discussed

use of JavaScript for a floating

Matador ad (handily reasserting

both companies' well-established

standards of hilarity). We enjoyed

this effrontery so much, in fact,

that we decided to one-up them

(as you may have noticed.) Ultimately,

though, our most cherished memory

of '96 will be the birth of the

neo-Wobblies, manifested in insidious

glory each and every time a

disgruntled former employee

griped online.


[New Yorker]

Of course, the tireless flow of

shit creek affords

transportation in both

directions, one direction simply

demanding more masochism than

the other. Which explains why we

almost mistook this week's New

Yorker, adorned with a scrawled

"2000" on its cover, for a lost

issue of Mondo 2000. All the

elements were there: an

introductory editorial on the

rise of pot [or "the 'blunt,'"

in New York magazine-speak] as

our nation's breakaway

analgesic, a feature on the

hallucinatory religious

psychoses of a Times reporter, a

dimly lit forensic examination

of Chris Carter's televisual

morbidity, and even a Seabrook

disquisition on the cultural and

industrial impact of Star Wars.

While we think that their

teasing of Spumco's Wonderful

World of Cartoons website in the

lonely Only Connect department

is only correct, their Current

Cinema popcorn brigade might

have been best advised to

cold-shoulder Evita in this

week's gutter-view spectacular

in favor of a more apropos

tableau: Beavis and Butthead

doing America. And disassembling

the Madonna-free evita.com

just wouldn't have been

as relevant.


[News Weekly]

The last rivets on the bridge

between the King's media and his

online missions are shot,

but this event only serves to

create more lurking room for

hungry trolls. One solid

contender is Stefan Kanfer's

Newsweekly Times column on

manslife.com, which is far less

an imitator of Slate's "In Other

Magazines" than a serialized

weekly anger treatment program

by someone who's appear to have

spent 10 web years trapped on

Pathfinder. Eventually, a la

Metropolitan, we might hope to

obviate our need to ever suffer

the news and views of the

glossed pulp set - even on

airplanes - by parsing their

clunky fundamentals strictly via

the online criticism thereof.

But if we could clone another

Kanfer, we'd ask for the same

summary treatment of the web's

newsweeklies. Because when Slate -

mere weeks away from certain

doom in their "transition" to

subscription-based web

publishing - has the temerity to

be willfully obtuse in their

appraisal of Amazon.com, a

virtual no-brainer of excellence

in commercial design, the

watchdog gap seems more

accommodating, and inviting,

than ever.

courtesy of Duke of URL


Duke of URL