Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Note to Our Readers

Hey --Another Sunday. And yes, we are on holiday schedule.

Here's who participated on this edition:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,
and Wally of The Daily Jot

And of course Dallas -- link locator, soundboard and so much more. We thank everyone. We also thank Jess, Ava and C.I. who demonstrated last week that an edition can be done in a timely fashion -- a lesson we disregarded this week.

Truest statement of the week -- There weren't a lot of contenders this week for the simple reason that so many are on "Christmas break." Mid-week, we were thinking we'd highlight a community site but then came the nonsense of Saint Bhutto and then came Christian Parenti. He spoke out. If you missed it, a lot of people who were (rightly) critical of Bhutto in the last few weeks, in indy media, suddenly hopped on the State Propaganda Wave and acted as if they hadn't previously shared. It was disgusting. It was a weak week but even in a strong week, Parenti would have been a contender because "truest statement" is about telling the truth and he did.

Editorial: Screw You -- Not, not you. We had more disagreements this edition. On this editorial, C.I. and I (Jim) disagreed strongly on the title and another section in this editorial. On the title, I wanted something else after "Screw You" and, if you read the editorial, you know that was "US service members." We weren't saying it. We're saying that was the message sent. C.I. argued (and Dona agreed) that if that was the title, yes, it would be eye catching but a lot of people wouldn't get past the title and would miss the point that we weren't the ones saying that. The other thing that held this up was a comparison. Originally, an obsese person was used. C.I.'s feelings (Ava agreed) that they've had to clarify enough already that they're not interested in what Joe or Joanne X weighs. Their TV commentaries are about people who choose to go air and if it's someone caught by the camera by accident or a one time thing, they don't know the person's looks. But looks are part of the package for actors, actresses and those attempting to be TV personalities. As they say in the standard e-mail Ty sends out, "We're reviewing TV, not radio." C.I. said that the example was bad and would lead to misunderstandings and hurt feelings on the part of some people. We finally came up with an alternative. (And "finally" is partly due to my stubborness on changing the comparison.)

TV: Charlie Rose by any other name would still be as bad -- Wow. Okay, Ava and C.I. can say they're not journalists but read over that and think of all your piddling 'critics' (MSM or Little Media) and grasp they don't synthesize like Ava and C.I. do, they never hit as a hard as Ava and C.I. do, and they don't have Ava and C.I.'s sense of humor. (They probably also don't groan and gripe when someone's complimenting as they are doing right now.) They wouldn't let us read this until the edition was done. I generally read their long hand copy out loud and do so either right when it's finished or when the edition's falling apart and we all need something inspiring to prompt us to focus. When I was allowed to read (and read it out loud), I understood why. Everyone was tired before I started reading, they were wide awake as I did and laughing throughout and then I got to the ending. Ava and C.I. know? Yeah, they do. How do they know? They had narrowed it down to three journalists and two of them are friends. They confronted the two over the phone and both denied it. That just left the third suspect. "Were we wrong?" Ava asked while we were all absorbing. No. No, not at all. Dead right. They say it goes to the standards for others that journalists apply but don't apply to themselves. In addition to touching on that subject here, they touched on it Sunday night at The Common Ills. They're sick of it. They're sick of journalists who 'love' their writing as long as it's focused elsewhere. They're sick of people who think they can make offensive statements and be given a pass. They're sick of Big Media and Little Media pretty much across the board. Ava: "And we really don't give a f--k what you did in 2003 or 2004. Kiss our f--king ass. While you've all 'moved on' to other topics, the illegal war has continued and the numbers dead and dying have only increased. I'm really sorry that you don't have the dedication or determination to cover a war but that's your own pathetic ass and your own pathetic problems." We've got a second truest. Dona just reminded me and Mike had asked for it as well. I'll note it below. But the point I'm making is that Ava and C.I. can deny how wonderful their work is but we see a lot of 'critics' and most of them don't pass for informed (they're unable to synthesize or pull from elsewhere) let alone entertaining. As Dona pointed out before, if there was anything we'd print up save from these editions to read over years from now, it would be a few features, some roundtables, most of the editorials and EVERY ONE of Ava and C.I.'s TV commentaries. Thank you to Beau's who's already e-mailed to say he loves the title (I do the headlines).

2007 in Film -- This is about films and it's about one specifically, the best one this year. And one you probably can't even see if you're willing to try.

2007 in DVDs -- We thought this would be an easy piece. Ava and C.I. were tired and they said, "Eh, whatever." Then we narrowed down our three (which did include Hobbs' favorite Hollywoodland). That alone took three hours. Dona said, "The roundtable is now off." Then it was time to write and Ava, C.I. and Ty had a great deal to say. Everyone made observations and worked on this piece, but as Wally pointed out, "The funniest stuff is from Ava and C.I. or Ty or all three." That's how it was when the site started (Wally wasn't helping out then) except for Ty. We (Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava, C.I. and me) were all together after I drug C.I. back from a campus speaking thing on Iraq and we were working on the TV piece (that Ava and C.I. didn't want to "waste time" on) but they would shout out things and that would go in. That's why it ended up being turned over to them to write by themselves. Ty points out that, as back then, Ava and C.I. had to shout to get their comments in this weekend. Ava and C.I. point out that Ty had to shout as well. This is a strong feature and everyone deserves credit but for the ones who participate now but aren't part of the core six, it was seeing how the TV commentaries began and why they were turned over to Ava and C.I. in the first place. (C.I. notes that Ty's commentary in 2006 was so strong that he could take over the TV reviews if he "really loved us." Ty says thanks but no thanks.)

They killed Santa Clause and put in an illegal occupation -- We wanted to highlight Wally and Cedric's work in full. They both wanted C.I.'s snapshots included. C.I. said they pull attention away from what's being highlighted. We really find this amazing. C.I. knows the back story (Wally and Cedric use C.I. as an audience to try their material out on) and explains, "Wally and Cedric were talking with Isaiah because sometimes they or Isaiah has an idea and the other runs with it so they wanted to be sure they weren't doing anything he had planned. He explained what he was doing which was similar to what they had planned. Their plan was to post Christmas Eve but they couldn't think of anything. Shortly before midnight, they had this idea. Due to the nature of the humor, they wanted to wait until noon Christmas Day to post it. They then continued the story for two more days."

2007 Tour -- Here was the other problem in the edition. Not Tori's tour, which we loved. But my plans coming into the edition was that we'd do a best of. Ava and C.I. generally do a best of TV piece, two actually -- one on entertainment, one on news. Due to the strike, they said no to entertainment. Due to not doing that one, they weren't interested in doing one on news or 'news.' Ava was very vocal about that and said, "Jim, we know what we're writing, you're not going to be displeased, so lay the hell off." Only at that point did I. But we were doing films and DVDs (more on that) and I thought we should do music. C.I. stared at me like I was insane. Ava said "no" and she and C.I. got up and walked out because I kept insisting. Jess pointed out what should have been obvious (though I wasn't the only one to miss it), Kat does a year in review of music each year at The Common Ills. We were not only stepping on her toes, we were (a) asking her to help us step on her toes and (b) we were jumping the gun. (Kat hadn't said a word but Dona said she did look surprised when I was insisting.) I immediately apologized to Kat (as I should have) and dropped it. But we had a huge hole since the roundtable was off (no time for it), since Ava and C.I. were not doing two best of features (entertainment and news programming) and since we couldn't do the year in music. We actually had a bigger hole. We had one less feature than we do now. Ava asked how "damn long" did we work on the movie piece? At which point Ty and Dona looked at it (it hadn't been typed yet) and said it could actually be split with a few changes into a piece on films in 2007 and a piece on DVDs in 2007. That's what we did.

Highlights -- Mike, Kat, Rebecca, Cedric, Elaine, Wally and Betty wrote this and selected highlights. We thank them for it and note that it was probably the easiest piece to write the entire edition. (Ava and C.I. spent one hour on their TV commentary, took a break and made a snack run, then came back and began reading it over the phone for fact checking.)

-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.
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