Thursday, April 28, 2005

My conversation with The Examiner

As you may already know, those cats at DCist reported today that the Examiner had a big error in their paper today, when they reasoned that DC should not have statehood because it would be a bad idea to add three more representatives to Congress's 585 members. Except, circa now, the Congress actually has 535 members. How did the Examiner make such a basic mistake? Well, The DCeiver sat down to talk to Examiner editor John Wilpers to get the full story.

DCEIVER: Mr. Wilpers, I have to say that I'm really concerned about the quality of your operation. I noticed today in the Examiner that you have 585 persons in Congress. That there are only 535 members is a matter of basic fourth grade civics. What can you say about your paper that will reassure us that you all aren't total clownshoes?

WILPERS: Well, let me start by pointing out the most important thing about your concern. You say, right up front, that you "noticed" the Examiner. Right? You noticed us! Damn right you did. We at the Examiner are making one hell of a noticeable paper for Washington, DC. You see, we bring it. We bring it large. We get the eyeballs. We get noticed. Motherfuckers are talking all the time: "Hey, Examiner...what, Examiner..." or "Damn! Examiner! Solid!" Noticeable? Fuck, yeah. Check out our fucking kiosks. Red and black. Red and black! We are the fucking White Stripes of DC Journalism! [singing] Dead leaves and the dirty groundwhen I know you're not arooooound....

DCEIVER: Well I'm not sure I see what you're talking about. I'm just pointing out that to get the number of people in Congress wrong, when you are a newspaper from the Nation's capital--that's just a pretty big mistake...

WILPERS: Look, DC--do you mind if I call you DC?

DCEIVER: Yes. Please don't.

WILPERS: DC, look. If we say that there are 585 members of Congress, who's being hastier? Us, for rushing it to print without factshecking? Or is it really you, who quickly jumped to the conclusion that our 585 figure was an error.

DCEIVER: But it was an error--it is an error. And you corrected that error later in the day. You basically admitted it was an error.

WILPERS: Did we? Did we, now? You just don't get what we're all about. 585, 535...what's the difference. Maybe tomorrow we say that there are 600 members of Congress!

DCEIVER: Well, that would also be wrong. And what's more is that it's sort of weird considering your case against DC statehood is that there are too many members of Congress now, as it is. Now you're talking about adding sixty-five more.

WILPERS: So? So, the next day we say there are 100! Or maybe 20, or two even!

DCEIVER: You can't do that.

WILPERS: Oh, no? Poof! It's done. There are now only twenty members of Congress! IT HAS BEEN DECREED!!

DCEIVER: What? You can't just make shit up! That's not reporting.

WILPERS: "Reporting." Fuck that. That's for losers. You know FOX news? Their motto: "We report, you decide?"

DCEIVER: Yeah, I know it.

WILPERS: For losers. At The Examiner, it's "We Decide, You Can Suck It." And you know what? Maybe next time we say there are only two members of Congress. And maybe these two are Mary Landrieu and Stephanie Herseth. How would that grab you?

DCEIVER: Well, I have to admit. Landrieu and Herseth would be the hottness.

WILPERS: Okay, see! And just a minute ago you were saying that this kind of reporting was "a mistake."

DCEIVER: It would still be a mistake.

WILPERS: [Sighs] Mistake. Is that all you can see? Try smelling. Smell. You smell that?

DCEIVER: Umm. Drakkar?

WILPERS: That's not mistakes you're smelling. That's opportunity. Opportunity is what you smell. In your world of facts and truths and things you can learn in school, have you left any room for opportunity? Because at The Examiner, we're all about opportunity. Do you want to get a pile of newsprint full of facts? Facts that you yourself admit you already know? Wouldn't you rather have a paper full of dreams? A broadsheet chock full of hopes? A journal dedicated to firing up that part of you that's deep down inside, waiting to be inspired, waiting to reach for fucking GREATNESS?

DCEIVER: Well, I can't say that I do, really.

WILPERS: Well, that's your story. That's your saga. But there are other people out there, like you, noticing The Examiner. And they're noticing their dreams. They're noticing Their opportunities. They're noticing greatness. And they are reaching for it. They're crying out for it. And when I drive to work in the morning, in the early light of a new day dawning, I drive down the street of my neighborhood and you know what I see? I see people's lawns with the Examiner sitting on them, all wrapped up--a little bag of choose your own fuckin' adventure. A little paper for people who want to answer the call in their lives.

DCEIVER: They're not answering the call. You're just chucking it on their lawn unsolicited.

WILPERS: Hey, all I'm saying is my street is full of people who are taking the Examiner and raising themselves to the next level.

DCEIVER: Well, you obviously don't live in a predominantly black neighborhood.

WILPERS: Oh, yeah. Go ahead. Play that card. Yeah, yeah. Sure. Toss that out there. Hoo, boy. Haven't heard that one in the past five minutes!

DCEIVER: Hey, your tendencies to avoid certain places is well-documented.

WILPERS: Look again. You jump to conclusions. You're like a long jumper to conclusions. A fucking triple jumper. A hop, a skip and oops I landed in some conclusions.

DCEIVER: Really?

WILPERS: Yes, really. You don't know anything about why we distribute where we distribute. Look. You like black people? Because I like the black people. Never met them, but I like 'em. Like 'em a lot. Now, why would I want to hurt people I don't even know?

DCEIVER: Hurt people? How would giving them a newspaper hurt them?

WILPERS: They could catch the Fever.

DCEIVER: The Fever?

WILPERS: Anschutz Fever.

DCEIVER: Anschutz Fever?

WILPERS: That's right. Anschutz Fever. Now, you want me to distribute The Examiner to black neighborhoods? Well, I'm not going to take the chance! I don't know how they'll respond to Anschutz Fever! What if it kills the black people? Because I don't know. It could be one of those diseases that affects a race differently. One day, I hope to meet the black people. And when I do, I don't want the first words out of my mouth to be, "Oh, no. You're dead. You died of Anschutz Fever." Is that what you want?

DCEIVER: I don't think there's such a thing as Anschutz Fever.

WILPERS: Oh, there's an Anschutz Fever all right. I've got it BAD.

DCEIVER: Well, aren't you concerned that I might catch the Anschutz Fever?

WILPERS: Dude! Why wouldn't you want to catch the Anschutz Fever? That's crazy talk.

DCEIVER: I think we're having some kind of circular conversation.

WILPERS: Exactly! BINGO! A circle. A perfect circle. Geometric precision alongside wondrous mystery. Secants, tangents, radii...that's what we aim to be here at The Examiner. The perfect circle. The kind you can only draw with a compass. Or a spyrograph.

DCEIVER: I'm confused.

WILPERS: You're only confused because you're finally coming face to face with The Examiner. You're finally staring into The Examiner's eyes. You're finally considering just giving in to the sweet embrace of the Examiner! And The Examiner? The Examiner is staring back. Staring back and cooing in your ear, "Baby. It's okay. It can be this good between us. It can be this hot between us. IT can be this RIGHT between us."

DCEIVER: This has become somewhat disturbing.

WILPERS: Don't you want to get wet...with Examination?


WILPERS: Come pluck me. Right now. Pluck me like a flower.

DCEIVER: Okay. This conversation is over.


Fletch said...

I'm not sure what about this disturbed me the most. But I am not here to question the dark, dank corners of your mind. I am only here to appreciate the wry banter that you so poetically produce.

Riddle me this, the Examiner is delivered to the neighborhood where I grew up. It is randomly flung at every third or fourth house. Do they know something about my former neighbors that I do not?

Anonymous said...

You don't know how much the sides are hurting for a guy who used to work down in that Alexandria office and know's Wilpers' walk and talk.