Waylon Jennings: Are you sure Hank done it this a-way?
News & Record: John Edwards in the Twilight Zone. Eric Dyer continues to deliver solid work on the Edwards campaign, although he doesn't mention the Internet at all, which strikes me as a fairly significant omission, given Dean's use of the Web and the Edwards campaign's recent promises to catch up on that front.
Which campaign will be the first to really understand weblogs? Maybe it will happen in this election, but IÃm starting to doubt it.
Dean has made a great start, but itÃs only a start. The next step is to turn the bloggers loose. DonÃt limit them to commenting on stuff written by the campaign staff, let them write their own weblogs for the campaign. Let unaffiliated bloggers on the bus and on the plane Ã± recognize them as journalists. Build your weblog community to be as accessible as possible (word that the promised Edwards campaign weblog is based on software called Slash is not encouraging).
A campaign is not a campaign staff. It should encompass all of the people who want to support a candidate. Weblogs let the grassroots speak. Sometimes people would say stuff the candidate doesnÃt like Ã± criticism, bad taste, off-message opinons. It will be worth it.
IÃm impatient, I know. It was only a year ago that Tara Grubb began the first campaign weblog. Campaign strategists are part of the infotainment-industrial complex that is baffled by weblogs at every turn. Somebody will get it. Soon, I hope.
The Edwards campaign emails to say that its new Internet stuff is being previewed only by a "small handful" of campaign volunteers, and I'm not invited, even though I offered to abide by any disclosure limitations they requested.
I can see their logic. Here you've got a reporter who's written about weblogs for some time in one of North Carolina's largest daily newspapers, in Wired, and online. Since June I've been banging on the Edwards campaign to improve its Web presence.
Hell, I even cornered the candidate himself last fall and bent his ear about weblogs (I know you don't remember me, Senator, but I'm the guy who introduced you to the rich lady hosting the Brad Miller fundraiser here in Greensboro -- your people had forgotten to bring you over -- and I complimented you on that great speech you'd just given on foreign policy, although I'm not sure you thought it was funny when I joked that "gratuitous unilateralism" was a lot of syllables for a guy from Robbins.)
So why would you show me what you're doing? I mean, geez, you've got campaign volunteers to critique this stuff for you, and we all know how objective they should be. Who cares what a cranky old journalist with no reason to be kind would say, or what he might (gasp) report back to North Carolina and the rest of the country?
Weblogs are all about opening up multi-dimensional communications, breaking out of the old command-and-control information hierarchy. If you treat them as just another media outlet, your weblogs will suck. The Edwards campaign doesn't need to duplicate what Dean is doing, it needs to leapfrog it. But I'm sure they understand that. Right?
Mayoral candidate Bruce Ashley flirted with the idea of starting a weblog, but has not done so. He did update his website with a Ã¬more ideasÃ® section dedicated to the proposition that he didnÃt stop thinking up great ideas for the city upon launching his site in July. He has not, apparently, had any new ideas since August 6.
And whatÃs up with the Ã¬Mr. AshleyÃ® stuff? Was he worried that voters would not view him as stuffy enough?
The Edwards campaign finally got back to me about the questions IÃve submitted and resubmitted in the last several weeks on Web strategy, if only to say Ã¬WeÃre not quite ready to make anything public (and youÃve clearly heard that weÃve got some folks testing things for us) but youÃre in for a real treat. WeÃve got some cool stuff.Ã®
I wrote back that I already know more than that from the comments at my own blog: Ã¬It is a weblog with input from multiple state web coordinators. It's also a coordinated effort, a la Dean, to post to multiple weblogs with references back to the page. It's more interactive than the website.Ã®
If we are fighting a larger war on terror, doesnÃt the body count start with the 3,000 or so killed on 9/11, not with the military casualties since the major fighting stopped in
Above, links to two columns I wrote in the year after 9/11. One is about my friends who died, and their families who survived; the other is about my wifeÃs cousin Quentin, a reluctant hero.
Another day, another coy assurance from someone ostensibly close to the Edwards campaign that big news is coming about his Internet strategy. I wonÃt bore you with the details, but people in the know are getting giddy.
Me, IÃm not in the know. The Edwards campaign does not answer my email. I did get some questions answered via EdwardsÃ Senate office earlier this month, but the campaign has not responded to requests made over the last few weeks for answers to questions about its use of the Web. Among those I have tried to contact in the last two days are Jennifer Palmieri and Aaron Myers. Maybe they disdain weblogs, or maybe they couldnÃt find
HereÃs an interview with Jim Bouton in which he talks about his efforts to save an old baseball stadium in
Much was made of BoutonÃs support for War Memorial Stadium during his recent visit to
For those who just donÃt want a stadium built at Bellemeade, well, the outlook is brighter. At a time when the Baseball Boys should be trying to bring people together, they manage to sound more high-handed than ever. As David Hoggard points out, they came out of the chute calling people Ã¬naysayersÃ® for opposing the stadium, rather than trying to win them over.
Not everyone who has doubts about the stadium site hates Jim Melvin. Some people are worried about the effect on Fisher Park. Others have legitimate questions about maximizing the benefits to downtown by putting a mixed-use development at Bellemeade (if the Wachovia building is doable, so is the old Burlington Industries building, you'd think....) and putting the stadium elsewhere. The City Council has signed off on the Bellemeade site, but now the Baseball Boys need to convince voters to do the same. It would probably be a good idea to not call those voters names.
And this quote from Bats General Manager Donald C. Moore canÃt be serious, can it? "We are going to build a baseball stadium. But we want to do it with the support of the public.Ã® Action
Monkeytime: 9 reasons John Edwards will drop out of the presidential race by Christmas.
Maybe, although Stinging Nettle is right that someone will have to emerge as the Anti-Dean Democrat.
But some of MonkeyÃs criticism is right on the mark. Ã¬Turning your back on the Net, without any kind of grassroots structure in place? Now there's a can't-win situation no amount of TV time can cure.Ã®
Sad but true.
I keep watching and waiting for the Edwards campaign to do something to light a spark. Anything. The Web is an obvious solution to at least some of their problems. Is it possible that these people really do not understand the Internet at all?
Here's a hint, fellas: ItÃs that big stick Howard Dean is beating the crap out of you with.
When will our winsome senior Senator announce that heÃs not going to run for the Senate again, allowing North Carolina Democrats a decent chance at holding onto his seat?
George Stephanopoulos says it might happen before John Edwards formally announces his campaign for the White House on September 16.
Todd Morman says Edwards will be out of the presidential race by Christmas, and urges Dan Blue to declare now for the Senate race, before Erskine Bowles is anointed as EdwardsÃ successor by centrist Dems.
Eric Dyer says Edwards is sick of questions about the possibility of dropping out of the presidential race. "I'm running for president," Edwards, clearly tired of being asked about this subject, said Saturday afternoon as he and his family journeyed across New Hampshire during a six-day bus tour of the early primary state. "I'm totally committed to running for president."
Me, IÃm just waiting for Edwards to answer a few more questions for this site.
Front page, above the fold, in today's "news" section of the News & Record: an article telling us that people really like the 23d Psalm ("The Lord is my shepherd...").
OK, it's the week before Labor Day, traditionally a time for some softer news...so is there new scholarship on the origins and meaning of the beloved Psalm? If there is, it doesn't make the article. Are there numbers or at least anecdotes showing an upsurge in interest in this particular passage? The article makes no such claims. Well, maybe this is a pet project of an N&R staffer? No, it's from the wire.
Maybe the editors are all on vacation.
Orson Scott Card isnÃt the only writer to get into hot water over the editing-Neil-Simon story. A
Is Howard Dean the Rod Stewart of weblogs?
Not early good Rod Stewart, either, but embarrassing Ã¬Hot LegsÃ® era Rod Stewart.
Let me explain. Early in its lifetime, MTV didnÃt have many videos to play (unlike now, when it has plenty but doesnÃt play many of them). So the fledgling network put the clips it did have into heavy rotation, including one that featured Rod the Mod in aubergine-colored overalls that must have cost a sizable percentage of the videoÃs $73 production budget.
It wasnÃt very good, but people watched it. The cool new medium attracted viewers, even when the content sucked.
IÃm not saying Dean doesnÃt provide good and useful weblog content, because he does, regardless of your views on the substance of what heÃs saying.
The point is that whatever his weblogging virtues may be, Dean is getting extra love from webloggers because nobody else is loving us back. Oh, they say they care, but it we just feel used.
Dean is in heavy rotation because heÃs got product out there in an underpopulated marketplace. His weblog might still thrill us in the face of competition, just as Peter GabrielÃs video for Ã¬SledgehammerÃ® is still pretty cool after all these years. But until his rivals figure out the medium, heÃs got the charts pretty much to himself.
Maybe the other campaigns feel theyÃve got everything under control without this newfangled weblog stuff. My guess is theyÃre wrong. ThereÃs too much energy and money out there, too many ideas waiting to percolate through a weblog relationship, to forfeit it all to Dean.
The Bush campaign is using a news feed to spoon feed information to sympathetic bloggers.
Ã¬The Web site also includes a feature designed specifically for Ã¬bloggers.Ã® Supportive bloggers can place a unique news feed box on their Web site that instantly posts news items onto their weblog the moment GeorgeWBush.com is updated.Ã®
I told you the Republicans would figure this out quickly.
About 8,000 people signed the petition to renovate War Memorial, which was really a petition to stop the downtown stadium. Some signers were misled, but if only half of them turn out to vote it could mean disaster for the Bellemeade project.
Fewer than 10,000 people turned out for the 2001 primary election. Baseball should bring more out this time, but who, and how many? The mayoral race is a dud, and the interesting races for council involve anti-stadium candidates. A "no" bloc 4,000 voters strong would have a huge impact given any imaginable turnout.
Maybe Action Greensboro has a dazzling ad campaign set for September, backed up by a serious get-out-the-vote effort for stadium proponents.
If not, the downtown stadium will probably never go up at the chosen location. No matter what the vested rights of the project may be, it will be hard to build it if the vote is negative.
But they can still put it here on
Yesterday I did
It was one of those first-flight-out, last-flight-home days that we all love so well. DFWÃs E terminal is a tatty hellhole, and I couldnÃt find a kid-sized Cowboys shirt for my kid-sized Cowboys fan. Bill Parcells will fix that kind of thing, you wait and see. On the flight home a line of thunderstorms was visible in the dusk, huge lightning-charged anvil-shaped clouds pouring onto the dark ground below, but our ride was smooth and my beer was almost cold, so I just enjoyed the show.
Anyone who blogs under a corporate banner is agreeing to be edited unless it is specifically agreed otherwise, and probably even then.
Just as reporters face different editing standards than columnists, branded webloggers and their editors might evolve editorial standards of their own, perhaps closer to the rules for columnists than for news reporters.
As a columnist, I would expect to be expected to conform to some standards, if not every standard pertaining to a print writer, and I would write to those standards as often as I possibly could, not least so that when a time came that I felt it important to breach them I would be on firmer ground. I think I could do this without compromising my weblog.
A newspaper weblog will require some planning and an understanding of what each of a newspaper's blogs mean to be, e.g. a news column with analysis or an opinion column or a real estate tip sheet etc.
Sports coverage by the way is a natural niche for local weblogs, and newspapers should thrive in that arena. A (well-done) blog from the News & Record, written by the ACC basketball beat writer and/or columnist Ed Hardin, could be huge. The guys on press row see so much that the fans can't see, and only a limited amount of that material can ever make the paper. From October through March I'd obsessively visit a UNC hoops blog, and I'd notice and appreciate any ads.
Note to editors: if you add a blog to someone's workload, please pay them for it.
As to the question of whether journalism can be journalism if itÃs unedited, the answer is of course it can. Otherwise live broadcasts, to choose one example, aren't journalism. And bloggers do edit themselves. Some are sloppy editors, some are very very good. The key is that the blogger makes the editorial decision. Newspaper blogs that get this Ã± even while imposing some degree of brand discipline Ã± will be the ones worth reading.
David Hoggard: Ã¬I agree with Councilman Phillips.Ã®
I could find a web presence of any sort for just one other at-large candidate for City Council, Jason Arispe, who has a static site with scant useful content.
No websites for mail-list wizard Bill Burckley, who has already sent me some paper, or incumbents Yvonne Johnson, Tom Phillips, and Don Vaughan.
Even when theyÃre not campaigning, shouldnÃt the incumbents have websites, and preferably weblogs, to tell us what theyÃre up to?
Among the mayoral contenders, Tara Sue Grubb has a weblog, which sheÃs focusing more on the campaign and the people she meets along the way than she did during her groundbreaking run for Congress last fall. As a tool for organizing, fund-raising, and articulating ideas, itÃs still not in HoggardÃs league.
The other challenger, Bruce Ashley, has an OK static site.
I could not find a website for incumbent Keith Holliday, who like the incumbent Council members gets some free pixels just for being in office.
In short, this is a surprisingly unwired race. That may say something about our candidates, or the state of our fair city, and what it says is not very inspiring.
I used to think that furniture was too bulky and heavy to import in large quantities. Wrong. The
Here are some numbers from an article I wrote for my day job:
Ã¬Almost half of the wood furniture sold in the U.S. is made in ChinaÃ–the dollar value of imports from China has nearly doubled since 2000 and increased by another billion dollars in sales in 2002 aloneÃ–Nationwide, employment at furniture and fixtures companies declined by 73,000 in the two years ended December 2002.Ã®
ItÃs like textiles all over again, and the job losses are hitting many of the same communities in North Carolina and Virginia already hit by the migration of the mill economy. John Bassett is a great interview, and it was fun to write about his companyÃs low-tech strategy for a tech mag, but the whole thing was a little depressing.
Orson Scott Card seems to have a problem with Jews.
His latest screed in the Rhinoceros Times starts out as just another OCS rant about the "intellectuals" who poison our culture.
The problem this week is that Neil Simon wouldn't let a local theater company in Utah excise the F-word from its production of his play, Rumors.
Card makes the highly-debatable supposition that Neil Simon is an "intellectual," or at least a darling of "intellectuals" -- a shadowy and sinister group that the sci-fi scribe makes no attempt to define -- and then moves on to a sweeping indictment of New Yorkers in general, Manhattan apparently being the epicenter of snooty, foul-mouthed eggheads who tear themselves away from their brie and Marxist criticism only to laugh at the honest yeomanry living west of the Hudson.
So far, par for the Card course. But then comes a telling moment. Quoth Card: "Let's just suppose, for instance, that the new Greatest Comic Playwright brought a play to New York in which several characters routinely used a four-letter epithet for "Jew" that begins with the letter "K." Let's suppose that the characters in the play used the "K" word in exactly the places where the "F" word is used today. ("Give me that k-ing gun!" "Go k yourself." "Go get k-ed." "K off.")
Now, let's leave aside the fact that Card is apparently unable to distinguish between a vulgar word and a racist epithet -- that he regards the offense to propriety caused by an F-bomb to be as grievous as the damage caused by a word like "kike" or, presumably, "nigger," which words can serve not only as slurs but as tools of oppression and even incitements to violence.
What's really interesting is how Card shows his hand -- by choosing "kike," a word that's lapsed into semi-obscurity, he's telegraphing his idea of just who all those New York intellectuals really are: Jews. That's who's wrecking the culture of the good people of Utah and Greensboro.
Card would no doubt point to his muscular advocacy of Israel (another regular feature of his Rhino writings) as proof that he's not an anti-Semite, and I don't suppose that he really is one in his own mind.
But just as Ender's Game features heroic, alien-fighting, Jewish commanders as abstract characters, but presents the only Jew we actually meet as a stereotyped buffoon, the author seems to have some real-life discontinuity in his attitudes as well.
I thought my wife was nuts when she first suggested that we relive her childhood by going to the
The water was cold at the beginning of the week and less so by the end. We swam and biked and caught crabs and ate them. We went to
The unofficial motto of the
My laptop croaked and I drove from our beach rental to New York and got a new one from the nice folks at ZD tech support and had lunch with my boss and was safely back at the Shore by the time the lights went out in the city. We had power the whole time. Lesson learned: the back-up function for Radio only backs up your blog to your hard drive Ã± you have to upstream it to have a copy on the community server.
A nasty drive home through rain and traffic, then a day of rest, and now itÃs back to school.
Read: War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, by Chris Hedges, and EnderÃs Game, by Orson Scott Card. Elijah read Ender, too, which allowed us to sit on the beach and discuss the details of the game with the giant and the bugger war.
City Filter (
If you build it, will they come? That question hangs over every hit-count-obsessed weblogger, but itÃs a critical issue for candidates considering a campaign blog. Time and resources are limited, so investing in a weblog that generates little traffic makes little sense.
David Hoggard is not waiting for the hits to come. The Greensboro City Council contender will use email to push news of his campaign and drive people to his weblog and his nice new website (available en Espanol, too -- nice touch).
As a veteran of neighborhood association politics, historic preservation wars, and the stadium fight, Hoggard has access to extensive email lists. But other candidates can and should develop, buy, or borrow lists of their own Ã± at the least, they should push information to key volunteers and staff, along with members of the press and other opinion makers.
Campaign blogging is not a passive occupation, and it's not a magic bullet that replaces other campaign activities. Look at the way Howard Dean -- and now Hoggard -- are using blogs to assemble people for meet-ups. Weblogs are a lever, and Hoggard seems to understand leverage.
Dan Gilmor gives an inside look at the Dean campaign and its ahead-of-the-curve weblog strategy.
"What's happening here is fundamentally different from the politics of the latter 20th century, when choosing our political leaders turned into little more than a television show and voters were nothing more than consumers. If 2004 is the first post-broadcast election, Dean's campaign has put itself in a strong position.Ã®
Two caveats for Dean fans: 2004 may NOT be the first post-broadcast election, but a taste of things soon to comeÃ–and other candidates have a few months to figure out what DeanÃs been doing in any case.
This morningÃs column in the News & Record will seem like preaching to the choir for many denizens of the blogosphere. But although itÃs hard to remember for those of us immersed in the future, the present still requires a good bit of evangelizing.
HereÃs a quote from Greensboro City Council candidate David HoggardÃs weblog that I wish I could have included in my column: Ã¬An amazing amount of information is coming in, all of it important, all of it pertinent.Ã® This is a two-way medium, and thatÃs a big part of itÃs power.
Dinner last night at a Country CookinÃ restaurant in Lynchburg, VA, the un-ironic mullet capital of the world. The guy at the table next to me wore suit pants and a tank top that showed his farmerÃs tan; he looked like an extra from an old Life magazine photo of Klansmen on trial. Lots of cammo, lots of Confederate flag t-shirtsÃ–and many interracial couples and families, too. In the menÃs room the radio was playing Ã¬TemptedÃ® by Squeeze. This is a complicated culture.
We have now completed a semi-hellish drive to the
Mark Cuban owns the Dallas Mavericks, bets on the future of HDTV, and always, always speaks his mind. Today he answers some questions for EdCone.com.
EdCone.com: My TV just broke. The big one upstairs that we watch movies and sports on, so this is important. Should I buy the HDTV model, or spend a fraction of that cost for a damn nice conventional TV? IÃm not made of money here.
Cuban: depends on how much you like to watch TV and what size tv you would otherwise buy.. You can buy an Advent HDTV monitor, 27" for 500 bucks at Best Buy.. Is that too expensive ? And then depending on whether you are a cable or sat user,there are multiple special pricing options available for you to get HD programming.
LetÃs do the old Ã¬if you were starting a franchise from scratch and could have one current NBA player, who would it be? Ã¬ question. And the same for any player in history.
Re the Ã¬good for businessÃ® flap, isnÃt there a difference between publicity and notoriety? Obviously that gap has narrowed in our culture. But the NBA has in the past suffered financially from image problems. MightnÃt
did you hear my entire quote at all ? Come back when you have. I never said the trial was good for the NBA. It absolutely could hurt the NBA.
Let me ask you a question. Is media withouth effort still media, or just a waste of time ?
yeah iÃve heard it. iÃm not pulling it out of context to beat you up. iÃm not exercised about itÃs propriety, and i agree that kobe-tv will attract attention, and will get ratings for the first games
iÃm asking about the logic of a specific statement, Ã¬From a business perspective, it's great for the NBA.Ã® if the nice-guy heroes of the NBA are alleged rapists, and the lifestyle of superstars on the road gets examined all the more minutely, wonÃt business suffer in the long haul?
what do you think i was referring to when i said that ?
the publicity attendant on the trial of Kobe Bryant.
and that seems to be what you are referring to in USA Today as well:
Cuban added that the intrigue factor will make TNT's Oct. 28 Mavericks at Lakers season opener "must see TV."
"Take away the personal aspect and the reality is that there will be more people watching our game against the Lakers," he said. "Who do you know won't watch the Lakers game with
IÃm just asking if that spike in interest might not come at a long term cost.
not at all. not even close.. it was the mass amount of coverage . The question was, What is the economic impact of having more than 100 media outlets covering a tragic event in your industry , multiple times each and every day for 6 months or more...
it wasnt about "publicity" . It was the fact that there would be continuous coverage. Media outlets were covering basically nothing, and not everything they say is negative or even referring to
And its not a subject that we shouldnt discuss because of the people involved
I hate the fact that this is happening, and there is nothing good abouit a rape trial, or any tragedy. Thats not the point.
HereÃs an interesting idea thatÃs been raised at the News & Record: encourage mayoral candidates to write weblogs, then reprint content from those weblogs in the newspaper.
IÃd suggest running a Ã¬weblog watchÃ® feature that excerpts any and all interesting local campaign weblogs. Papers everywhere could do it. This is one way weblogs could feed into the information food chain.
Hey, somebody ought to start doing it for presidential blogs as they emerge, too.
It is great news for
David Hoggard nips at the N&R for bringing up Action Greensboro in its article, calling the reference Ã¬out of context.Ã® But since the larger importance of the story relates to downtown redevelopment, the Action Greensboro reference seemed quite relevant to me.
HoggardÃs right that business investment will ultimately determine the success of any downtown revival. But the overall contributions of Action Greensboro should not be minimized, even if you really donÃt want the new baseball stadium where they do, or you resent self-appointed do-gooders spending dead peopleÃs money, or whatever.
For one thing, the group spends that money pretty damn freely. The downtown park is going to be a winner. The Civil Rights museum is, too. And Action Greensboro has been valuable just for keeping the focus on downtown, holding the fort as private investment builds from a trickle to a steady flow.
ItÃs not Action GreensboroÃs fault that we have a leadership vacuum in this town. Obviously we canÃt rely on the ghosts of Joe Bryan and Ceasar Cone to save us forever, but through Action Greensboro the shades of our economic past have helped position us for the future.
Yes, the group can be arrogant. ThatÃs one reason Greensboro needs a strong mayor and City Council to represent the needs of the entire city, to find (for instance) the places where Jim Melvin and the Aycock neighborhood agree and build on those while hammering out the disagreements.
Hoggard can play a big role in making that happen, but that will require him to work with the same folks he sometimes opposes. From what little IÃve seen so far, I think heÃs up to the task, despite his reflexive gag at this morningÃs article.
David Hoggard makes an interesting point Ã± if the Burlington Industries building on Friendly is of historic significance, what about the old Burlington Industries building downtown?
Spin factors: Wilbur Ross has got to figure out what to do with that big half-empty modern monster of an HQ building, so of course he's going to talk up its value, and Hoggard would rather not see a baseball stadium go up where the old building now stands.
Still a good question, though.
ItÃs OK to suck in the funny pages of the News & Record, but thereÃs still no sucking on the op-ed page.
Yet last week the N&R edited the word Ã¬suckingÃ® from the Ã¬DoonesburyÃ® strip, which runs in the opinion pages.
N&R editor John Robinson says he didnÃt see the Ã¬FoxTrotÃ® strip before it ran, but he probably would have run it anyway.
Ã¬We donÃt have a lot of hard and fast rules, because we are a daily newspaper and can make things up on the fly,Ã® Robinson told me on the phone just now. Ã¬We look at the tone, try to figure out what the person is saying. IÃll shop it around to other people to get a sense of what they think.Ã®
Ã¬DoonesburyÃ® runs in the opinion section, edited by Allen Johnson. Robinson oversees the rest of the paper, including comics. The two editors can and do have different rules and standards for what makes it into print.
Ã¬One thing we factor in is that the comics page, unlike others, is an entry point for kids into the newspaper,Ã® says Robinson. Ã¬There is a coarseness in language you might accept elsewhere that you donÃt have to accept there. I make a distinction with a different sort of eye.Ã®
Editing comics is an increasingly tricky business, says Robinson, given the stuff you can say on network television today. He recently decided not to run a Ã¬Get FuzzyÃ® strip that included the phrase Ã¬S.O.L.Ã® The N&R ran a note in its place that said the strip contained inappropriate language.
Ã¬At first I thought, it doesnÃt have any actual objectionable words in it, maybe itÃs OK,Ã® says Robinson of the Ã¬S.O.L.Ã® episode. Ã¬Then I imagined myself sitting in my kitchen and having one of my kids asking what the letters stood for. ThatÃs not a position I want to put parents in.Ã®
Johnson stands by his decision to change Ã¬suckingÃ® to Ã¬- - - - ingÃ® last Friday, but acknowledges some Ã¬hypocrisyÃ® in the different standards for different parts of the paper.
Those conflicts extend beyond the comics. The N&R runs ads for strip clubs in its sports section, for example. Ã¬I donÃt think we should, but we do,Ã® says Johnson, who is still a little irked that WFMY TV did a quick story on the Ã¬sucksÃ® controversy without bothering to talk to him about his decision redact Garry Trudeau.
* * *
I was alerted to the Ã¬FoxTrotÃ® strip by Eric Muller. I couldnÃt remember if the N&R carried it, so I called my twelve-year-old and asked him to quit playing Age of Mythology long enough to go down to the breakfast table and check.
Ã¬I read it already,Ã® said Elijah as he walked downstairs. Ã¬It was very funny.Ã® He found the paper and read it to me.
That actually is funny, I said.
Ã¬Yeah, I know,Ã® he said.
I asked him if he used the word Ã¬suck.Ã®
Ã¬Yes, sometimes. Not around mom.Ã®
I asked if Ã¬suckÃ® is a dirty word, or a bad word.
Ã¬Actually, no,Ã® he said. Ã¬I think a bad word is used to be mean, or itÃs a cuss word. To me Ã«sucksÃ means Ã«stinks, to the next level.Ã I thought more about the pun than the word itself.Ã®
Elijah says he reads Ã¬FoxtrotÃ® whenever he reads the comics page, which he says happens about two out of three days. He added that he reads the sports page every day, first thing.
Ã¬You know the Red Sox are going to break your heart, donÃt you?,Ã® I said gently.
Ã¬I gotta keep believing,Ã® said Elijah.