Sunday, July 15, 2007

Your Retarded City Paper: Late Nite Shots and Last Week's Shite.

Yeah, yeah. Late Night Whoevers, in this week's City Paper. My take. Well, really, what Rusty said, what Alex said. They've been on this beat for a long time, and they've milked whatever interesting shit can be milked from these LNS people. Let's face facts--it seems that very few people who are in LNS will admit to it without qualifying it or calling it stupid in some way. That's pretty remarkable. I mean, you don't hear the people in the Taliban saying: "Yeah, I'm in the Taliban, but it's actually sort of stupid, you know...don't judge me based on what some of the real assholes in the Taliban do." So, there you have it, on balance, people are prouder of being in the Taliban than they are LNS.

It's easy to see why. At it's core, LNS is pretty clearly a group of people with no particular intellect or skill, a few of whom may rise from the ranks of professional suck-up to become a full-fledged sycophant. A few may achieve crony. None will interest or effect me in the slightest. The LNS crowd aren't people who resonate, if you catch my meaning.

Really, I just sort of feel bad for them. Mom and Dad keep them out of hock, so, point to them. But, these people have sequestered themselves off into four bars, trooping from one pointless date on the social calendar to the other. They show up when they're told to, pay what they're asked, and do only what's expected of them. So, these people aren't exactly sucking the marrow out of life. They're terrified of purchasing pizza in Adams Morgan. That's pathetic. I read that the fallout from this article caused one of them to get in trouble with their parents. That's sad.

Still, is it really surprising that these people found each other? Lame recognizes lame, I guess.
But from what I gather, the City Paper article has got the LNS people in high dudgeon. Chill out, pantywaists. No one (but me, as penitence) reads the City Paper. Those that have read the article on you have been driven there by Wonkette and Rusty, so it stands to reason that you fools are just as anonymous as ever.

As for the City Paper, well, it's not their lamest or their worst cover story. Timing-wise, they're off by, what--a year? And they include very little that is new. But at the risk of exceeding the statute of limitations on a topic few people care about, if you want to read a City Paper article that should been dilated and extracted at some point during its painful gestation, you need to go back and do what about six Washingtonians did last week, and read the cover story "Seven Easy Ways To Screw Your Landlord." And by the way: #8 is "Sublet your shit to Cherkis." Obvs.

Last week's article, a fucking mess of structural and grammatical mistakes, was written by someone named Amanda Miller. Amanda didn't receive some needed help at some point in her life: she really should have been taken aside and had another career choice strenuously suggested. I guess no one loved her. Her piece is thickheaded and torpid--it's like the literary version of a migraine--and the mistakes start coming as early as the third paragraph:

Then the problems started, beginning with the shower. Drip. Drip. Drip. “Some pipe in the shower was leaking, and she couldn’t turn off the water,” Newman says. “We’d meet there, and she would not let us in.”
Where's "there?" The shower?

This paragraph is a classic:

In an attempt to collect, Newman filed a nonpayment of rent case against Harris. Harris wouldn’t pay. Newman then filed to evict her tenant. According to court documents, Harris came down Missouri Avenue on June 21, 2002, about seven months after she moved in. In a court hearing, this is how Harris described the experience: “[A]s I got closer and closer to my house, I saw something that looked like it could have been my file cabinet….But I said, ‘No, it couldn’t be my file cabinet.’ And then…I realized that it was my file cabinet….And I was perplexed. I know that they didn’t do this because we had an agreement.”
Okay. So, it starts with a simple thesis: Landlord files suit, tenant won't pay, landlord tries to evict. Then, this awful sentence: "According to court documents, Harris came down Missouri Avenue on June 21, 2002, about seven months after she moved in." That shit doesn't make a lick of sense. Are we receiving on the scene narration? No: it comes from court documents. Do we really need the odd reminder "about seven months after she moved in?" No. It's just superfluous. Couldn't the author have said, "On June 21, Harris came home to find the she was being evicted?" Yes. But the author would have to not be a fucking moron.

Do you love all that mounting tension with the file cabinet? I mean, the author REALLY INVESTS her narrative focus on the file cabinet, doesn't she? Bet you really start wondering, "Wow. What's going to happen to that file cabinet?" Well, don't worry! Naturally, you never hear another word about the file cabinet again.

That first section ends. Somehow, two paragraphs that would have served as an introduction to this article end up coming AFTER the first section. Either no one at the City Paper noticed this, or someone at the City Paper is under the impression that this constitutes "style." If I were them, I'd hope it was mere inattention.

The shittiness continues:

  • "Three items on the punchlist were for..." Uhm, what the fuck is a "punchlist?" DEFINE YOUR TERMS, PLEASE.
  • "Hessler says the case is still tied up in court because Linen has filed tenant petition after petition with..." NO. Either drop the word "tenant" or write "tenant petition after tenant petition"
  • If you are going to name a section "Stubborn Windows," maybe the article should focus on, uhm...stubborn windows, and not give equal mention to rusted sinks, a bad refrigerator motor, peeling paint, an un-weatherproofed front door, a sticking door, cracks in the walls, and a broken mailbox.
  • "When a water heater burst shortly after the complaint was filed, the tenant, an attorney representing herself, counterfiled a complaint..." I don't get it. Did the tenant, in this case, choose to represent themselves in the complaint, or is the tenant rather, as your sentence explicitly states, in an ongoing state of constantly representing themselves as an attorney?
  • "The latest listed phone number for the tenant has been disconnected." Darling...can a phone number be disconnected? No, it cannot. You mean to say her PHONE has been disconnected. Her PHONE.
  • "Andrew Zimmer says his tenant was doing more than residing in an upstairs apartment on A Street NE. He had, according to Zimmer, a half-dozen bulky computer-processing units stored inside the apartment for the computer-repair operation he was running there." This is like, the fourth time you've ended a sentence with a preposition already. And, I know...all the cool kids are doing it, now. Fine. BUT YOU DO NOT EVEN NEED THE WORD "THERE" THERE!
  • "But when the installation guy came with the new stove..." OMG. "Installation guy?!" Amanda? Are we in the SECOND GRADE? How about the word "installer." INSTALLER.
  • "According to Swann, she settled with the tenant and her family to get them to move. Meanwhile, says Swann, the tenant claims her grandson got lead poisoning from the paint and is suing for $5 million...'My wife’s mother was an immigrant from the Dominican Republic,' Michael Swann says. 'She scrubbed toilets to get that house….It shouldn’t be like that.'" When you say, "it shouldn't be like that," are you referring to the injustice of having worked so hard just to get screwed? Because it sound to me like you mean the grandson shouldn't have gotten poisoned because she scrubbed so damn much.
  • "There was, both landlord and tenant acknowledge, a rat problem. Schaefer called Brier to tell him a rat had come in through a hole in the wall. When Brier went over to take a look, he saw bags of garbage accumulating in Schaefer’s kitchen. 'The rats had nothing to do with the hole,' Brier says." Aside from being a shitty writer, Amanda is also a shitty reporter, allowing Brier's contention to pass without criticism. She's got a landlord, willing to admit there are rats, but that hole has nothing to do with them? I wonder what Amanda thinks caused the hole! Poltergeists?
It's awful, awful, awful. And that's all before you confront the problem that the article doesn't really do what it says it does--namely, show you the ways in which DC's "housing code" can be used to manipulate cirucmstances in the favor of tenants and keep from having to pay rent to one's landlord. But what you get is essentially an uninteresting litany of "tenant said/landlord said" examples, in which various parties file various claims. No attempt is made to establish the validity of anyone's point--and that's sort of critical if you want to demonstrate that the housing code screws landlords. But that doesn't matter, because no attempt is made to cite or quote from the DC housing code itself. Various agencies are named in the article, and at one point, someone alludes to loopholes, but none of this is explicated in any fashion. If you came in search of a primer on exploiting the housing code, you're going to be disappointed. Frankly, there's not a shred of evidence that the author has even SEEN a "DC Housing Code."

You know, what though? All of this would be par for the course, and even less worthy of mentioning that the silly LNS article from this week, if ersatz editor Eric Wemple didn't spend every week scouring the entirety of the Washington Post, hoping, praying, that they make a piddling mistake for which he can jump up and down on their heads. Last week, he takes a poor Post intern to task for asserting, in a moment of poorly drawn "color" for an article on the police, that it doesn't rain that often in DC during the summer.

Now, knowing that he's writing for and editing (ostensibly) the WASHINGTON (emphasis mine) City Paper, you'd think that Wemple would know that his audience is well aware of the silly mistake, having lived through any number of summer monsoons. But, a gentle nudge to a knowing, agreeing audience isn't enough. To Wemple, why just bury the intern for the infraction when he can piss on the corpse and then desecrate the grave for good measure. Doofus dumbass fucking gets the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on the case, and then bothers some poor drought specialist for the National Weather Service who must have had about ten thousand better things to do that day than to provide Dipshit with confirmation of something that everyone knows already anyway. And by that point, if you're still reading this, you're probably thinking, "Jesus, Wemple, WE GET IT. Christ! Do you think your readers are morons?" Well, of course he does.

Unfortunately, many of his readers, like me, can, uhm, read. And it's clear that the morons, where the City Paper is concerned are all supply-side. So, Erik, the next time you feel like teeing off on the Post, consider this advice: EDIT YOUR OWN FUCKING PAPER, ASSHOLE.


KCinDC said...

We all have our irrational pet peeves, and I won't go into details about why the prohibition against ending sentences with a preposition has no basis in logic, usage, or history, but I will point out that "there" isn't a preposition and suggest that you outsource your grammatical analysis to the guys at Language Log.

My reaction to the sentence is to wonder what the hell these "computer-processing units" are and assume the reporter garbled something. Probably she's one of those people who use "CPU" to refer to the computer case and its contents and some copyeditor spelled it out incorrectly. So the landlord is complaining that the tenant had (gasp!) six computers in the apartment. Maybe they were even full-tower cases!

Anyway, thanks for confirming the correctness of my usual practice of leaving the City Paper to molder on the floor without ever getting around to reading the cover story.

Groovymarlin said...

LOL classic! This Amanda person is a perfect example of the failure of our educational system. She writes like a 14-year-old, with the journalistic instincts and talents to match. Actually, that's not fair - there are probably really great 14-year-old journalists out there who can write much better than "Amanda."

I never read the rag in question, but thanks to you, Wonkette, and Rusty, I don't have to!

Anonymous said...

THANK you. That desperately needed to be said.

It's a shame that DC is saddled with such a sorry excuse for an alt-weekly.

The Deceiver said...

Feh. Of course yr right about "there." It's still a needlessly redundant word, given that the "there" is referenced three times prior, leaving no doubt where "there" is.

Aaron said...

I actually just made a very similar post regarding the Express' lack of editing panache at my blog,

Let's make a deal: You take care of City Paper's editing issues - I'll take care of Express', and then, we'll rule the free paper empire in DC.

Viva la revolution!

IMGoph said...

honest to god, people. grow up. what do you pay for the joy of reading the city paper and the express? nothing! it's like this is a circle jerk of middle-school taste makers sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Kudos for pointing out the sorry shape of the CP these days, and for pointing out that Wemple apparently spends his days nitpicking the Post to death while apparently ignoring his own paper's editorial output (unless he's pushing one of his infamous grudges). I'm still waiting for the correction to run on this incredible mistake, from the THIRD PARAGRAPH of Sarah Godfrey's March 22 cover story:

"In his review, the Washington Post’s Lloyd Rose singled out a couple of the children. He complimented Logan by calling her 'well over the socially allowed limit for adorableness.' :

Lloyd rose is a woman.

Anonymous said...

Kudos for pointing out the sorry shape of the CP these days, and for pointing out that Wemple apparently spends his days nitpicking the Post to death while apparently ignoring his own paper's editorial output (unless he's pushing one of his infamous grudges). I'm still waiting for the correction to run on this incredible mistake, from the THIRD PARAGRAPH of Sarah Godfrey's March 22 cover story:

"In his review, the Washington Post’s Lloyd Rose singled out a couple of the children. He complimented Logan by calling her 'well over the socially allowed limit for adorableness.' :

Lloyd rose is a woman.

Jeffrey said...

I'm glad somebody else thought the rainfall item in the City Paper was pointless and unnecessarily harsh.
There is a certain irony, though, in the fact that you made this criticism just a few paragraphs below your brutal condemnation of a human being you don't know.
This Amanda Miller may have filed a very lame and awfully sloppy story and it's fair to take shots at the work. But you cede the high ground when you write things like, "I guess no one loved her."
That's not exactly congruous with the concern you seem to show for the feelings of the "poor Post intern" from Wemple's column.

Anonymous said...

Ah Jeffrey, ya poor simp. That wasn't irony at all.

Anonymous said...

Alas DCeiver, you live in a glass house. If something is redundant there's no need to say that it is "needlessly redundant." Do you really not have anything better to do?

The Deceiver said...

Anything better to do? I'm pretty successful at finding some time to do ALL of the things I enjoy. So no worries!

And not all redundancies are needless. Sometimes, they help to drive a point home, firmly.

Anonymous said...

Um, no, you're incorrect. All redundancies are needless. That's the very definition of redundant. But, hey, apply the rules however you like.

The Deceiver said...

No, no. I see your point. I officially amend "needlessly redundant" with "hopelessly, pathetically, moronically redundant."

Anonymous said...

Excellent. That's much better.

Anonymous said...

I find it amusing that you criticize Wemple for attempting to edit a publication that isn't his. How about YOU wait until you become Editor-in-Chief of the City Paper before you insist that all your brilliant ideas be adopted? Until then, go ahead and blog away - about stories that other, real publications have already covered.

The Deceiver said...

Uhm, was that supposed to make any sense at all? The City Paper is Wemple's publication, obvs.

But, you are correct. I am brilliant, and I will continue to blog away, and thus add value to yr life.

But don't look for me to take on the EIC job at City Paper. Humph. Lateral move, at best.

The Ninny said...

that did need to be said. and rusty's post is awesome too.

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