Tag Archives: deadspin

Curate Yourself! Starring Jonah Lehrer

Jonah Lehrer resigned from The New Yorker after it was discovered he’d fabricated a series of “quotes” from Bob Dylan. Thinking you could get away with putting words in the mouth of the most obsessively studied songwriter of the last 100 years might mean Lehrer possessed a Rasputin-like notion of his own indestructibility. Or, it could say less about Lehrer specifically and more about a transformation in ideas of what we expect from media and entertainment.

I wrote about a similar issue earlier this year when I laced into a Verizon commercial that ripped off an SNL ad parody from the early 1990s. What struck me about that Verizon commercial was not only how blatant the concept robbery was, but how long it took me to notice it, which indicated either no one else had noticed it or the world at large was completely unconcerned with the theft.

The Verizon spot didn’t run for very long–suggesting perhaps they got cold feet about such wanton thievery–but it also didn’t garner much outrage outside of media types, ad-centric blogs, and weird trainspotters like myself. Google “Verizon SNL bad idea” and the aforementioned Scratchbomb post is fourth from the top, which is usually a good sign that nobody cares about a subject but me.

When thinking about Verizon’s ripoff and why no one seemed to care, it occurred to me that in our reference-oriented culture, there is no longer a shared concept of what constitutes stealing an idea.

So many folks out there in TV Land may interpret this Verizon ad as more of an homage to Bad Idea Jeans than a ripoff. And for all I know, the ad’s creators may honestly see it that way, too. They don’t think they’ve “gotten away” with something; they think they’re playing by the New Rules. What passes for a new idea in the 21st century is being the first guy to complete bite something we’ve seen before.

While the Jonah Lehrer incident is a bit of a different animal, I think they’re in the same wing of the zoo. Both reflect a shift in attitudes in what both the writer and the reader expect from content.

Continue reading

Me, Elsewhere: John Rocker and Johan Santana, Together At Last

I wanted to alert loyal Scratchbomb readers to a couple of posts I’ve penned elsewhere that went up in the last few days. First, for Vice, a look at creep ne plus ultra John Rocker, who’s just released his long awaited (by no one) memoirs entitled Scars and Stripes. (GET IT?) Rocker’s been making the rounds withe bottom-barrelest right wing news sites, and one such profile was the inspiration for my piece. Spoiler alert: I’m not a big fan!

One thing I’d completely forgotten about when I wrote this article (which is just as well, since it probably wouldn’t have fit) is how half-assed Rocker’s “apology” was when he came to New York for the first time after his infamous Sports Illustrated profile. While doing my research for Yells For Ourselves, I rediscovered coverage of his return to NYC, and it’s sickening how much he tries to weasel out of saying he’s sorry, like he’s Racist Fonzie.

Rocker recorded a video they played on Diamond Vision at Shea in which he said, among other things, “Many people perceived these comments to be malicious, and for this again I apologize.” In other words, It’s YOUR fault for being offended. “I am not the evil person that has been portrayed.” It’s the media’s fault for reporting exactly what I said.

Rocker’s the kind of bully who, if you punched him back, would run to the principal and insist you started the altercation. I realize that writing about him at all is just fuel for his warped fire, but good lord, he cannot fall off the face of the earth fast enough for me.

I also took time to write about non-horrible people. Last week, the Mets finally saw one of their pitchers throw a no hitter. Maybe you heard about it? It was a cause for much rejoicing, which is why I was so perturbed by a post at Deadspin that wondered if Mets fans wished another pitcher had done it. I disagree strenuously with that premise for several reasons. To find them all out, you’ll have to read this post I did for The Classical. Or, barring that, have someone read it to you.

Speaking of which, Jon Stewart’s piece on The Daily Show about attending Johan’s no-no with his family was heartwarming in a Jon Stewart-y sort of way. When it comes to baseball + children, I can get embarrassingly sentimental. This ESPN ad still brings a tear to the eye, and every time a broadcast shows a dad with a small kid in the stands, I get all misty. I’m sure the same is true for many parents who also sublimate their emotions into sporting events. Go team!