Inside D.C. entertainment

Media Monday: Translating the American Spectator for the under-70 crowd

March 5, 2012 - 10:29 AM
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The Examiner's Paul Bedard broke the news last week that a battle over the direction of the American Spectator led to the ouster of publisher and president Alfred S. Regnery, who wanted the 45-year-old monthly magazine, its circulation in decline, to do more to reach young readers. Founding editor R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. apparently did not — and won. "I think we’ve got youth covered,” he said.

That no one aggregated this juicy news — not even DC Porcupine — suggests that Regnery was right.

Alas, it'll be business as usual at the Spectator. It's not like the magazine needs to reinvent its website as a Daily Caller competitor, or even should. (The last time the Spectator tried gonzo journalism was an ethical disaster.) But sometimes its articles sound like they were written by contemporaries of D.H. Lawrence.

Tyrrell, tellingly, is the principal offender. When he goes to work on his keyboard — or typewriter, or notepad, or slab of slate — the result is often incomprehensible to those of us who aren't septuagenarians. Here are a few egregious examples, and my attempts at translation.

"Foster Friess' Joke"

"There is another horripilation on the campaign trail. Someone has told a joke that has roused the virtue police. I am speaking of the virtue police, who are working for the grim forces of political correctitude. They do not find the joke very funny. The jokester is a supporter of Rick Santorum, and now he too is on the hot seat for it."

Translation: There's been another "bristling of the hair of the head or body" on the campaign trail. Some guy told a joke that the virtue police didn't like. I repeat: the virtue police! You know who they are. They fight for political correctness. They are grim, and do not like jokes — especially not one made by a Rick Santorum supporter, who's in deep shit now.

"It Is Time for Newt to Go!"

"There is a grisly pallor that has beset former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Then, too, there is a lumpiness: to his face, to his features, to his – well -- to his lump. When he walks into a room I feel rather sorry for him, but then I feel rather sorry for Bill Clinton too and for Hillary. No longer do I call her 'Bill's lovely wife, Bruno.' She looks grandmotherly rather than tough. I guess maybe her coeval from the 1960s generation of student government goody-goodies, Newt, looks grandfatherly rather than brainy."

Translation: Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich looks horrifically pale. He looks lumpy, too — especially his lump. I feel sorry for him in the same way I feel sorry for Bill and Hillary Clinton. No longer do I call her ... something that makes no sense whatsoever. She looks like my grandmother, but without the horsewhip. Newt, her peer from that generation of hippie college kids, doesn't look smart (probably because of all that lumpiness). But he does look like he might have grandchildren, who will probably grow up to be pale and lumpy and somewhat dumb-looking.

"The Delousing of a Movement"

"I have been saying for some time that Liberalism is dead. I shall even be coming out with a book on the subject in a couple of months. That the hitherto respectable magazines of the left would push such nonsense is to be included in my diagnosis. There was a day when the Liberals would argue according to some standards of objectivity. They would not push a line that was absolute flapdoodle. Yet Liberalism is dead. The Occupation hysteria adopted by every single journal on the left is but another proof of it. Those who read the left-wing press ought to demand their money back. They could have been killed at McPherson Square or Zuccotti Park, or at least have been robbed or raped."

Translation: I keep telling you that liberalism is dead. Still don't believe me? Well, I've written a book about it, so there. It's coming out in a couple of months. Buy it! Please? Liberal magazines I've never respected — but I'll pretend to now, for rhetorical purposes — think the Occupy movement will spark a wave of reform. Nonsense! Such nonsense, in fact, that it will be included in my book, which you should buy. Once upon a time, liberals at least tried to be objective. They wouldn't push a line that was utter bullshit. But as I keep telling you, liberalism is dead. Need proof? Lefty magazines are writing about a lefty movement! Subscribers should demand their money back, because reading those magazines could get them robbed, raped, or murdered — none of which will happen when you read my book.


The March issue of Vanity Fair includes a length story about the Post, including the revelation that the paper is stuck between national and local. Which is to say, it includes no revelations. [Beaujon, Wemple]

Listening to the all-news-all-the-time-never-stop WNEW sounds like an exhausting experience. Reading this cover story about the new WTOP competitor is not. [WCP]

Get thee to a Brooks Brothers, young journos. [Sports Bog]

The Post's Ken Babby, whose official title is "chief revenue
officer, general manager, digital," is leaving "to pursue other digital ventures." He started as intern in 1999, so yeah, maybe it's time. [Romenesko, Porcupine]

New York State's Watertown Daily Times had a Washington bureau of one. No more. [Romenesko]

Warren Buffet may or may not have dissed the Post, and he may or may not have been right. [Bercovici, Beaujon]

If the Post is going to use Scottish dialect, it should go all the way. [Beaujon]

That's one hell of an editor's note, WaPo. [Poynter]

"Times 24/7, the Washington Times’s attempt at an aggregator that launched in January, may be learning the perils of having an undiscriminating taste in web content." [Porcupine]

Post ombud Patrick Pexton eats a bucket of crow. [Omblog]

John Thompson is done talking into the microphone. [WaPo]

The Post will not be providing this digital product for free. [Sonderman]

Andrew Breitbart died, but all that mattered was whether you met him. [TBD]




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