Monday, May 09, 2005

You call that a hammer?

So, DCBachelor finally published his long awaited "hammer" article on DCist. We had long sussed out his pretend email of interest, and were sort of hoping he'd at least offer up some sort of discrediting opposition research--you know, that one of us were in some sort of Monty Python fan club or had once worked on the Paul Tsongas campaign or something. This is, after all, Washington, DC. To be honest, with all the free time this little gnatish refugee from a Tag Body Spray Commercial has on his hands, I was honestly intrigued at what he might put forward. After all, twas with pure telenovela breathlessness that he foretold of a hammer coming down--and last week, he ominously commented elsewhere that he would not be attending the DCist Happy Hour for reasons that would be made plain "very soon." I"m sure that in his mind, he used his best Count Chocula voice as well.

Forward to today, and the hammer has finally come down. To which we can only respond: "Umm...yes. Woo. As it were." Haltingly attempting what could be best described as a DCeiverian device of dramatic license, he posts a "confidential fax" that's about as biting as grape soda, which he follows with paragraph upon paragraph of steaming resentment and barely cloaked victimization. It's all awfully weird. We're first accused of being duped by Jake and Jen in some global -ist conspiracy to rake mad green from our unpaid efforts, then we're mocked as sell-outs. "I won't sell out for hits or money," quoth the Batch, feverishly selling out for hits or money, "because I have this thing called a job." Ooooh. Someone get this guy a trophy or something! He signs off with what he thinks is a cutting diss but more accurately indicates that DCist has only erred in not paying sufficient attention to him.

Have I already mentioned that this whole posting was deeply weird? Because it's deeply weird. But mainly, it's disappointing. Why, there's scanty substance to even put to a thorough mock! At any rate, DC Bachelor, I wonder: you speak so often of the great things you have going for you that it makes this new incarnation--in which you are imagined as a poor, soot-stained, coltish matchgirl, with cheeks fully awash in sticky tears, pressed to the glass of Chief Ike's surveying the enjoyable scene inside, burning with burgeoning resentment only because you're too dim to realize that the process of lightening up merely includes banishing that mucusy green ball of choler from the otherwise verdant bosom of your imagination--a little bit out of tune. A consistent, writerly voice, after all, is one of the keys of excellent blogging. So work on that if you want, or else fall back on your vaunted day job.

Hope that wasn't too wordy, dingus.


Here's a Hint said...

You should note that right now, on DCist, his #2,3,4, and 6 are all featured :) While I seriously doubt anyone is getting rich of -ist blogs (or that that is a motivation of any of the posters), DCist could use a lot more opinion and commentary and a lot fewer stories about the nats/wizards winning some game or a link to the Post or Times. I mean, the intersection of DCist and the Express is pretty large.

And come on, the constant "we" is just too hilarious, especially when reviewing something. From the Laura Burhenn interview (which is the type of post that should be on DCist): "We joked that it was the lost song from the 'Garden State' soundtrack" So _EVERYONE_ at DCist made this joke?!?!? What happend to "this author", or the informal "I"? Attaching personalities to the posts is only a good thing...

tom said...

Ah, but it's not so deeply weird when you consider the inevitable Act 3: Revelation! In his mind, it goes something like this

"aha! your amateurish replies to my carping are just as I expected -- for you see, I am quite the provocateur, and this was all just a clever gambit to draw you into my web! Or perhaps... website! (a delightful bon mot, I know). In fact, the google ad revenue resulting from my increased website traffic has financed the down payment on my new Shirlington townhouse.

Now that I have revealed that, rather than a bitchy, embittered wannabe, I'm actually just kind of a sociopath, I'll happily claim my previous statements were entertaining hyperbole, and have I mentioned that I've always liked DCist after all, and would make a fine addition to your blogroll?? Well, we can talk about it at the next DCist happy hour -- I'm sure you're all anxious to toast my brilliant edginess."


I've seen it unfold many-a-time, and as sorry as I am to encourage him by commenting on the whole stupid business, I can't help myself. It's just all so transparent.

The Deceiver said...

Actually, it was quite hilarious! We each made the exact same joke at the exact same time! Total jinx! Jake Dobkin had to buy all of us a Coke just to break the impasse! Luckily, we earned our masters a bright shiny half-dollar that day! So they were in a generous mood. We drank our Cokes and bravely thanked fortune for smiling upon us.

Of course, the good mood was shattered when the daily four o'clock Gothamist beatings began.

Anonymous said...

His piece on DCist is admittedly lame, but at the same time DCist seems to escape any of the nasty criticism directed at other sites. Why, for example, did DCeiver not see fit to attack the unbelievably self-absorbed and tragically boring "road trip" reports that DCist somehow thought would be interesting to people other than the writer's mother. It suggests that the local blog community is even more cliquish than previously believed. If you're a "friend" you're safe, no matter how lame your blog is. But if you're outside of this little self-loving group, watch out.

The Deceiver said...

I didn't find those articles to be all that boring. It took me about ten seconds to skim them. If you find a DCist post to be boring, why don't you just post a comment? Then you can tell them yourself, instead of waiting for me to come along and wipe your ass for you.

The Deceiver said...


"It suggests that the local blog community is even more cliquish than previously believed. If you're a "friend" you're safe, no matter how lame your blog is. But if you're outside of this little self-loving group, watch out."

Now, honestly. THAT'S a little melodramatic, don't you think?

K said...

The road trip posts did serve a purpose--framing the trivia challenge. I'm not going to defend or decry them, however, because we do that kind of thing internally. And we do discuss, amongst ourselves, posts that we consider weak or strong. We just keep such things inside as opposed to putting criticisms on our personal blogs.

In any case, public criticism of DCist is welcome, especially when its helpful or at the very least well thought out. Anon, your dislike of the road trip posts heads toward that category. DCBachelor's "criticism" of DCist? Not so much.

DCeiver--one thing: Comments weren't allowed on the road trip posts so people couldn't discuss the trivia questions.

Anonymous said...

You're both right. DCist is boring and the bachelor's rant was lame.

Underused said...

Let me preface my comment with the disclaimers that I really don't care who does or doesn't like the DCist, why they do or don't, or why they think other people would care. So I'm not going to waste time defending or attacking in either direction... BUT, two points that I just couldn't let fly. From the DCB post:

"what blogging is supposed to mean"

I don't need to tell you what comes before or after that sentence fragment, since it is self-evident that blogging has no established meaning, purpose, style, etc. There is no Columbia School of Blogging, nor does the American Blogging Association exist. So to criticize a blog for not being a *true* blog, well, that's just ridiculous.

Second quote:

"I can?t wait until blogs die and the sites that actually create content remain."

...I say on my blog. WTF? This is a serious contender for Most Disingenuous Statement of the Year 2005.

And as for selective content disparagement (eg the road trip posts), I just don't get these people who complain. I don't read the Style section in the Post, because frankly I already have more style than I know what to do with. That said, I'm not out there complaining that the Post printed this useless Style section. I simply ignore it - the very same approach that DCB and any other naysayers should take regarding the DCist or any other blog they don't like. But if you are going to rant, then you better damn well make it funny or entertaining.

Here's a Hint said...

underused's response is the one I've gotten for complaining about DCist content, i.e. if you don't like it, don't read it.

That's all well and good, but a newspaper has a better UI than DCist...I grab the sports page and chuck it. However, technology like that backing slashdot allows you to tailor the content you see, so that you can see what's interesting and skip what's not. Talk about "what is a blog", I'd say it has to at least be more advanced than printed pieces of paper.

A general interest blog like DCist would benefit so much from that; the content could remain unchanged (and ads could be actually targeted, as well). I'm sure the Classical Music Agenda is awesome for those interested, but for me it's one less reason to check DCist during the day. Of course, if the "above the fold" content could be limited to a paragraph or less, it would help a lot, too.

John said...

It's an old blogging trick of the very desperate: when unable to generate your own readership, try and say snarky things about popular and liked blogs as a way to try and piggyback on their success. "Nastiness as PR"--Yeeeesh & yuck.

At the risk of violating the blogging cultural norm of "if you aren't dishing out snarky, dark, ironic observation then you're no hipster friend of mine", I'll just go ahead and say the uncool thing: I like DCist. Period. Cope with the love.

The Deceiver said...

I think that the editors of DCist would be more likely to simply say "use as you see fit" rather than "if you don't like it, don't read it." Still, these criticisms are substantive, at the very least, and concern valid points.

Vastly different from: "Woo! I'm just hatin' on DCist." Frankly, of all possible targets of vitriol, DCist makes the least amount of sense. DCist doesn't exactly harm people. I look forward to the day when all of you are summarily forced to read DCist. I think Becca would look just darling in black jodhpurs, strutting through long rooms of computer banks with everyone's eyes forced open and staring at DCist and harshly snapping her crop at anyone who dares complain about the way we format our paragraphs. But until that day comes, everyone can post a comment, even submit a story--and the vision described above will exist solely in my dreams. My wonderful wonderful dreams.

The Deceiver said...

John, it's all about B.L.O.G.

Bringing Love Online, Guys.

BaxPorter said...

What did DCist do to the bachelor anyway to make him so hate it? Did I miss that?

The Deceiver said...

Baxporter, that is the $64,000 question.

You know what this is like? DC Bachelor is like "The Monarch" from Adult Swim's THE VENTURE BROTHERS. He's all: "I am the sworn enemy of DCist!" and busy planning DCist's downfall. Meanwhilez, DCist is like: "Huh? Who's that guy again? Oh, yeah...that dude."

John said...

DCeiver, as one of the folks who helped start DC Indymedia and is still active in global Indymedia work, I can say with authority that the vision of making it possible for everyone to join in the fray with adding stories at will has been tried. It's great in principle, but it often goes down in flames in reality.

The problem you get is age-old: it starts off great for everyone, until assmonkies ruin it. Pretty soon you get another kind of -ist flood (racist, sexist, et al). So then you try and step in to create editorial groups to fix things. Eventually, assmonkies take over that too. And now you've got assmonkies with power. #$&!ing assmonkies.

Hmmm. Clearly I gotta get back to my lovin' place.

What I do think would be cool and what I nudge Rob for at every blogger meetup: for DCist to add an open, community wiki.

In my dream world (a place entirely bereft of assmonkies) the -ist blogs would move over to something like tikiwiki as the backend script, so they could integrate the wiki with the blog and co-host individual blogs by community members.

The Deceiver said...

I should clarify: it's never been put forth by the DCist editors that there will ever come a day that just ANYONE can submit ANYTHING and expect it to get placed on DCist (other than commentary). I'm sure, however, that articles of a certain standard will get due consideration. We have, in the past, published the like--most notably reviews of events that no one at DCist could attend.

So, there is a precedent for such a thing. The suggestion wasn't put forth to counter the idea of DCist, merely to say: if your problem is that X isn't being covered by DCist adequately, you can be the recourse to that problem.

Blue Fish, Red Pond said...

Underused said: "I don't need to tell you what comes before or after that sentence fragment, since it is self-evident that blogging has no established meaning, purpose, style, etc. There is no Columbia School of Blogging, nor does the American Blogging Association exist. So to criticize a blog for not being a *true* blog, well, that's just ridiculous." you're telling me that the correspondence course in which I'm enrolled isn't accredited?

DCist is a bit tame, but it serves its purpose well: relaying local news and alerting people of events of note.
I couldn't care less about DCbachelor's club guru bullshit, or this cad persona he tries to project. And I still won't be reading his blog.

Underused said...

Redline, no I'm afraid not. But I tell you this: if there were an accredited blogging program out there, the first lesson of the first day would be never, EVER, use or allow animated emoticons on your blog.

Emoticons, dude. Emoticons.

(see DCB's comments section)

The Deceiver said...

Indeed. I'd gainsay that more people are hearing about this from me than from him, and there's better discussion on it, qualitatively and quantitatively, right here than over there.

You might ask the DCeiver: "Was this by design?"

Let's just say that in the snark world, I play Chess while Bachelor's still learning checkers.

john said...

Ok, for controversial philosophy o' blogging time:

I think there is actually a general style of blogging: informal, grounded in social relations with conversations often spanning across several sites, and written in a style of juxtaposing personal journaling with public community reporting. Moreover, I think blogging is more significant as a genre than it would be if it were just reduced to being defined by the technology/script back-ends behind it.

Once blogs got popular they got commercialized, and then the meaning of what it means to be a blog got dilluted into the lowest-common denominator of the format they followed. It's a peculiar sign of how the definition of a blog has shifted that we now here something described as a "personal blog", which early on in blogs' history would have been a very redundant expression.

From that vantage point, DCist is wonderful, but on many points I see DCist as more a community news site and less a blog. I don't mean that in an at all derisive sense, just a different perspective on what it means to be a blog.

Just my view (though I have actually foisted it on students for accredited college credit).

The Deceiver said...

I'd tend to agree with your point John, and someday hope there will be a thorough debate between you and Goodspeed over this.

DCist, further, has an overarching editorial thrust (which sounds just as hot as it is) that provides boundaries for the various authors. While each "DCist" has idiosyncracies, they tend to not creep out as pronouncedly as they would on their own blogs.

Consider the difference between DCist and DC Metroblogs. By your definition, John, DC Metroblogs is more blog-like. Which I think is fair--they seem to be more commentative than informative. I'm not saying that they aren't informative*--I'm saying that their writers leave no doubt as to HOW THEY FEEL about what they're talking about, whereas Mike and Rob would likely prefer us to be more "clear-eyed" in tone.

*I'm also not suggesting that DC Metroblogs isn't a good blog. I know that it's a topic that turns Dobkin into a batshit princess for whatever reason.

Ugh said...

i always love a good hammer.

I can't really imagine DCB being taken seriously by anyone. It's really easy to be snarky and mad at the world when your'e 22 and "BRINGING ON THE HATE AND SHIT KEEPING REAL YO!!!!"

Please, someone, for the love of all that is good and holy, force that young man to stop using the word "hate."

Anonymous said...

I can't get into dcb's site. I keep getting a 403 forbidden error. I've been getting it all day.

Anonymous said...

ironic this critique comes from the webmaster who wrote the 25 most loathsome essay. i guess its okay to make fun of others only if its not yourself

The Deceiver said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Deceiver said...

Additionally, suffer not my eyes to see DCB's limp whinging compared with the vaunted Most Loathsome List. Really. It's called perspective.

The Deceiver said...

Call it ironic if you want. I maintain it's a real disappointment. Considering his anti-DCist diatribe was previewed melodramatically, I was personally looking forward to something of real force. I was hoping it'd be something that threatened to shut DCist down, or at the very least cause some sort of crisis. Maybe he'd found a way to say, poach our domain name or something. I don't know. Just something provocative.

This is just too easily shrugged off. His beef is that he hates that the -ists have branding standards. He hates that we have editorial standards. He thinks we regurgitate the Washington Post and Times--if we did, then writing DCist would be about 3000% easier to do. He has created this invention in his mind that the writers are somehow prevented from writing in their authentic voice and that we never take positions that offend (Martin and Catherine must be laughing at that one!). Then he sort of runs out of things to say--he despises local music apparently, and then trails off about the weather.

Then there's this whole email thing of's really a jaunt into weirdoville.

As I said, in the back of my mind, I was sort of hoping that his efforts might make for a day's entertainment. As it happens, commenters here offered more substantive DC criticism and more provoking discussion. Overall, I think we managed here at least, to salvage DCB's wet turd.

Thank God being this awesome isn't a crime.

K said...

I have to second DCeiver's point. There is mockery and then there's whiny complaining, and DCbachelor's post was in the latter category. Some sort of deconstruction of the site with actual wit behind it would have been so much cooler than what was produced. At the very least, I was hoping to see him use the emails he wrote us (what a pathetic attempt at baiting) in some interesting eay.... alas. at least the most loathsome essay had humor. And pictures defaced with MS Paint.

Fletch said...

I'm sorry, much like the DCist posts that I am not interested in reading, I skipped over the inane DCbacheloser's turd. Is it even worth trying to catch up on, or should I just spend more time playing with this wicked cool rubber band that I just found sitting under my desk?

The Deceiver said...

I wish I had a rubber band!

Anonymous said...

"He thinks we regurgitate the Washington Post and Times--if we did, then writing DCist would be about 3000% easier to do."

If it would be 100% better and 3000% easier I think you've made your decision.

Anonymous said...

Still wiping the tears of laughter away from my eyes after reading this gem:

"To be honest, with all the free time this little gnatish refugee from a Tag Body Spray Commercial has on his hands, I was honestly intrigued at what he might put forward."

Thank you for this laugh of the day!


skunkeye said...

Gee...this is all kinda getting silly.
I like DCist (and the DCeiver) and I think these sites are great community resources.
I think its fantatsic that people are using the blog forum to write about and highlight the things that are exciting to them.
And to create enthusiasm in this town is a feat!
I think you can be provocative without being mean-spirited, and these sites handle this balance very effectively.
This snarkiness is really tiresome and counter-productive.

O-FACE said...

This guy wanted someone to pay attention to his blog and read it. Seriousily skim through his work. All its about is him and his lame friends who pretend to be suave, when actually they look like frat boy clowns. Dude is in his mid-20's and still lives at home with mom and dad. His grammatical errors are consistent with 3rd graders. The Dcists is a good concept that i read consistently for quick news and notes. The DCB, i would use it to wipe my ass.

Cleveland Park Men's Club said...

DCeiver...this is an excellent post for so many reasons.

Loved ever single word of it.

DCB said...

I am an asshole shmuck. Here is my new website where I pontificate on what it's like to be me, DCB.

Anonymous said...

Here's a fun fact about DCB: he blocks the IP address of anyone who leaves a comment critical of him on his site. I was told about this so I left a silly comment. Now I'm blocked. Try it. DCB thinks everyone wants to hear his bullshit critiques, but he can't take them himself. So sad.