Saturday, February 26, 2005

Oh, it makes me proud to be a journalist! This morning I was on the phone when the manslave came bounding down the stairs in his underpants, shouting, "I've been ripped off!"

My first thought was that perhaps someone had stolen his clothes; but it turns out that he was outraged about this article that appeared in The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald. Basically, it suggests that the owner of the manslave's blog is not the manslave himself, but Hugh Waters, the dude who organises the iPod DJ night at Bourgie. (Hugh is a veteran scenester - he also organises Shake Some Action.)

I read the article and my first thought was that the writer is from Sydney, but Fairfax has forced her to give the story Melbourne Appeal by mentioning stuff that goes on down here. I am well acquainted with this dilemma, having been told my gay footballers story was "too Melbourne-centric" and that I needed to "league it up" (my phrase, not the editor's!). And so she hops on Google and tries to find evidence of iPod parties here, but the best she can find is the manslave's post about Nerdy Blog Night.

Fittingly for someone writing about deejaying, she creates an interesting mashup of Waters having this club night, and a bunch of bloggers coming along to said club night, and presents it as if, curiously, Waters invited the bloggers through his blog, yet was suprised when they showed up.

But this obvious factual error, which I am sure the manslave will discuss far more comprehensively than me, was only a symptom of this article's Sunday Lifeness. That is, it makes outrageous assertions about what the 'kids of today' are doing and feeling, without in any way qualifying them. I've blogged about this several times before, and if someone can tell me how the fuck to link back to my previous posts (seeing as one post never appears on one page), that would make my life much easier. Thankyou.

But anyway. I am irritated by this article from the very first paragraph. To wit:
To the readers of Hecho en Mexico it seemed a perfect venue to display their usually reticent real-life personas.
Cos, you know, bloggers have no life and save all their personality for hunching over their computers in the dark. But I'll let this one slide, because there is more in store:
There is no scratching. No hands-in-the-air/make-some-noise hoo-hah. For a Friday night the air is chilled and down to earth and that's exactly how the creators of this night, the MiTunes team, want it.
"Hoo-hah?" That's like something my mother would say, right after calling my outfit a "get-up" and me "a little madam". (I am still recovering from the time she asked why I wasted my time on that "hip hop bebop".) I guess it irritates me that the writer won't concede that dance music culture has any subtleties, including that people might program something on the iPod that provokes "hoo-hah". But of course, there is still more:
The iParty originated at the trendy Club Apt in New York, 2002. Every Tuesday night the DJ duo Andrew Andrew took out their iPods with matching mixer and cranked up the music. Dressed in white lab coats, white high-top hats and black-rimmed reading glasses, the Andrews appeared as angels of tech-cool, appealing to the crowd of would-be Harajiku-styled New York girls and Snoopy-wearing alternative bad-boys.
Maybe I'm daggier than I thought, but what is a Snoopy? UrbanDictionary, my recourse in such matters, says that Snoopy variously means "Cutesy slang term for the vagina" and "An adjective to describe extreme 'whiteness'"; but neither of these are wearable items, and anyway, the site's readers don't seem to back either of them. And bad boys who wear Snoopies are alternative, but to what? As for those "would-be Harajiku-styled New York girls" - does she mean "Harajuku"? Or did she just think, "what's that thing Gwen Stefani's always banging on about?"

I am kind of worried that I spend too much mental energy getting mad about stuff. About two years ago I stupidly wrote a number of affirmations on bits of paper and stuck them around my room. One was "Rage Demeans and Weakens Me." I found this quite helpful whenever I got mad at something. Except when my brother was helping me move (translation: bitching and moaning about how much stuff I had) I snapped and yelled "Fuck you!" and he laughed and said "Rage demeans and weakens you, remember?"

But I really feel angry when I read things that aren't critically or intelligently written. Rather than furiously condemning the value of a particular mode of feature writing (the 'zeitgeist exposition'), I'm aiming to champion it - I'm criticising what I see as a prevailing attitude that you can get away with sloppy research and grotesque generalisations in this style of writing when you might not be able to in, say, a political analysis or a science report. And now I have the chance to practice what I preach by writing something self-reflexive and relatively well-researched for the Sunday Life myself.

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