"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 12 February 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Hit & Run CXVIII


[ best things about san francisco this week-]

A group of student journalists

made a terrible mistake

recently, violating newspaper

ethics by accurately quoting a

source. (A named source, no

less.) Fortunately, however, the

professionals at the Los Angeles

Times quickly spotted the error

and rode in to correct it. The

real-life lesson in newspapering

began on 29 January, when a

student at UCLA called the

campus newspaper to tell an

intriguing story. Poli-sci major

Dennis Lytton told a Daily

Bruin reporter that he had, as a

Pentagon intern, dated a young

woman named Monica Lewinsky.

Following what sounds like a

really awful date - Phantom of

the Opera, that sort of thing -

they went back to Monica's

apartment. Here comes the

romantic moment: Dennis stares

into Monica's eyes. Monica's

moist, full lips part

seductively. And she tells him,

purportedly with some pride,

that she and Bill Clinton are

"fuck buddies," adding, "you

could say I earned my

presidential kneepads." Now, how

about a kiss?


[old97s at the starry plough]

The Bruin - which, to its great

credit, had almost entirely

ignored the Lewinsky scandal -

spent several days carefully

checking as much of the story as

it could. It also took a

close look at Lytton, calling

friends and family and asking if

they considered him reliable;

they did, and the campus paper

finally decided to go with the

story - simply, soberly,

accurately. A few days later,

the other shoe dropped. The



story, condescendingly headlined

"Lewinsky Scoop Diverts UCLA

Student Paper from High Road,"

managed to detail the entire

scandal - they said a naughty! -

without actually telling readers

what the nasty term was. Silly

kids: They name their source,

verify facts, and tell it like

it is? Don't they ever want to

make it as professionals?


[cold nights that result in warm cat-love]

We choose not to check facts

before forwarding our copy of

the 6 Degrees of Monica email.

As with Monica's former AOL

page, this is a document whose

rank banality makes it more real

than the truth. Most Monica

material aspires toward the

archly comical. Not this one.

Savor the superbly crafted Kmart

realism in


original message (Tuesday, 18

November 1997 10:12 a.m.):

"That's hilarious. How are you

Josh? What's going on in your

life? Monica." Flaubert himself

wouldn't have had the discipline

to avoid sneaking in some sly

joke about how "things are

really humming in DC." (The

subject line, "FW: Fwd: Fwd:

[Fwd: Fwd: AXE: Resume

Mistakes]," may be a jab at the

résumé Matt Drudge broadcast so

long ago, but that's a pretty

thin gag.) And who else but a

freshly minted college graduate

could ask, "What's going on in

your life?" and still believe

she means it? We're troubled by

the fact that the original

message recipient, "Josh Gross,"

has no email address listed, but

even this adds to the message's

tantalizing piquancy. Was Josh,

in forwarding a list of tired

workplace jokes, hoping to catch

that hazel eye, impress Monica

with his waggish savoir-vivre?

Did he forward Monica's message

to the rest of the world in

revenge for the pro forma "howya

been?" he got in response?

Unless the ghost of Raymond

Carver haunts some POP server

somewhere, this is the kind of

elliptical drama that only comes

from real life. We hope never to

know for sure whether it's real.


[my cool brother]

They just come at you from all

sides, don't they? While former

presidential candidate Pat

Robertson broadcasts warnings

about undercover recruiting in

schools, educators in Colorado

have recently discovered a

terrifying new truth about the

insidious homosexual agenda:

Sometimes it's not so sneaky.

Gay recruiters, it turns out,

are a lot like cops; sometimes

they're in plainclothes ... and

sometimes they patrol in

uniform. Administrators at

Denver's Lutheran High School

realized, a couple of weeks ago,

that one of their students was

dressing in some suspiciously,

um, fashionable clothing. There

were green polyester shirts,

leather pants, even the

occasional "shimmery" outfit.

They confronted him, and 18-

year-old Jeremy Garza just came

right out and admitted it: He

is, yes, a mascara wearer, and

his fate was sealed. As the

school director told a local

newspaper columnist, "He wasn't

asked to leave because he is

gay. He was asked because of the

gay clothing, the gay jewelry."

No word yet on the number of

recruits Garza managed to turn

before being discovered.


[belle and sebastian review in the sfguardian]

Even we could have seen this one

coming: Inphomation

Communications filed for

bankruptcy last week. Just

another casualty of the volatile

media marketplace? Not exactly.

Because, you see, (and you did

see, didn't you?) in addition to

making some of the Baltimore

metropolitan area's finest

infomercials, Inphomation

operates the Psychic Friends

Network. This strikes us as

typical of the fast-growth

start-up game, and we're

embarrassed for them, if not

downright empathetic: With a

huge roster of unusually

talented people working for the

company - in this case, 2,000

staff and freelance clairvoyants

- it occurred to no one to put

some of them in management.

courtesy of the Sucksters