WEDNESDAY, APRIL 13, 2022
This inspired life: Remarkably, your incomparable Daily Howler keeps banging out those results.
Late last week, then over the weekend, MSNBC went into action catching up on its transcripts. We have no idea why "the slacker channel" decided to take this step, but if the pattern continues this week, we'll be able to show you something Rachel said last night.
For today, we thought we'd share a bit of a puzzlement, but also a pet peeve, concerning the Washington Post's increasingly tabloidized web site.
As we mentioned a few weeks back, the Post continues to publish a conventional print edition. Its online edition often seems to have come from a different publication altogether.
The online edition often ignores high-profile parts of the print edition. Also, the online edition tends to be much dumber and much more tabloidy.
Just consider the never-ending news report—the news report about the tomatoes which grew on the vine.
Sydney Page's news report first appeared on April 7. This morning, six days later, it was still being featured on the front page of the Post's web site.
The report concerns the many tomatoes which grew on the one single vine. The headline reads as shown:
He grew 1,269 tomatoes on a single stem and broke his own world record
In all honesty, it didn't sound like especially crucial stuff. For that reason, we didn't click until today. When madness finally drove us to click, here's how the report began:
PAGE (4/7/22): Douglas Smith is a competitive guy. So when he turned his attention to the vegetable garden behind his home, he committed to it. So much, in fact, that his hobby grew to epic proportions.
Smith tended to his plants and produce until they became colossally outsize, landing him in what he calls “the competitive vegetable scene.”
The British gardener has harvested a nearly 7-pound tomato, a 624-pound pumpkin and a 20-foot-tall sunflower. Recently, though, he has shifted his focus from size to sum. It’s been a grand success.
Twice in a row, Smith broke the Guinness World Record for the most tomatoes grown on a single stem. Originally, he shattered the previous record of 488 tomatoes—which had been in place for more than 10 years—after he grew 839 cherry tomatoes on one stem in September.
On it goes from there. On this Groundhog Day of a morning, the report was sitting there again, featured on the front page of the Post's online edition for the seventh day in a row. Even as basic parts of the print edition are difficult or impossible to find online, the report about the 1,269 tomatoes keeps coming back for more.
Online, the Post seems to be increasingly committed to the trivial and the dumb. In fairness, this practice has dominated mainstream and liberal news orgs over the past twenty years—as, for example, at The Daily Beast and Slate, or all over the "basic cable" dial.
For the record, it was only today that we noticed which division of the Post lays claim to this tomato tale. Incredibly, it comes from the division of the (online) Post which bears this moniker:
Stories about humanity
For the past seven days, the online Post has been offering this tale of INSPIRED LIFE! There's nothing "wrong" with the trivial and somewhat dumb, but after maybe the fifth or sixth day, the postings can start to seem silly and possibly somewhat old.
The Post's weekly Outlook section doesn't get posted online. Front-page reports from the print edition are often quite hard to find online—but this tale of the thousand tomatoes just keeps refusing to go.
All around the mainstream dial, the devotion to dumbness is increasingly strong. No trivial matter gets left behind. So too, in the political realm, when it comes to tribal embellishments and repetitions of Storyline.
Meanwhile, will transcripts appear for last night's shows? If they do, we'll show you what Rachel said about the nature of news reporting from many long years ago.
To be honest, what she said was notably dumb. Suitably inspired, we rubes lapped it up. Please could we have a bit more?