WBEZ | The Onion http://www.wbez.org/tags/onion Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en All-apology issue: The Onion, 'Daily Show' suck it up http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-02/all-apology-issue-onion-daily-show-suck-it-105756 <p><p><em>A &#39;sorry&#39; blog post:</em></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20shot%202013-02-25%20at%2011.44.23%20PM.png" style="float: right; height: 218px; width: 294px; border-width: 3px; border-style: solid;" title="" /></p><p><strong>&#39;CRUDE AND OFFENSIVE ... SENSELESS, HUMORLESS ...&#39;&nbsp;</strong>That&#39;s the way <em>The Onion</em>&nbsp;CEO Steve Hannah describes <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-02/offensive-onion-tweet-headlines-hostile-ugly-sexist-oscar-night-105727" target="_blank">a tweet about young Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis</a> during Sunday&#39;s ceremonies -- a tweet <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2013/02/25/sophomoric-satire-slapped-down-on-social-media/1947123/" target="_blank">taken down within an hour</a>, followed Monday morning by Hannah&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theonion.com/articles/the-onion-apologizes,31434/" target="_blank">apology promising &quot;immediate steps to discipline those individuals responsible.&quot;</a><br />* <em>American Journalism Review</em> editor: Apology &quot;<a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/rieder/2013/02/25/quvenzhan-wallis-onion-oscars-academy-awards-tweet/1947413/" target="_blank">was spot on</a>.&quot;<br />* Might that apology now cast&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theatlanticwire.com/entertainment/2013/02/the-onion-apology-quvenzhane-wallis/62493/" target="_blank">a chilling effect on <em>The Onion</em>&#39;s humor</a>?<br />* <em>New York Times</em> media critic: &quot;<em>Onion</em> to writers: Tweet incredibly edgy, funny stuff. <a href="https://twitter.com/carr2n/statuses/306087130499796993" target="_blank">If you go over the line, we&#39;ll just slide you under the bus</a>.&quot;<br />* <em>Onion</em>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/25/thing-x-parody-onion-quvenzhane-apology_n_2761254.html" target="_blank">apology satirized</a> by <a href="http://www.thingx.tv/" target="_blank">Thing X</a>, founded by ex-<em>Onion</em> staffers and Cartoon Network&#39;s &quot;Adult Swim&quot;: &quot;<a href="http://www.thingx.tv/articles/thing-x-apologizes-2287/" target="_blank">Rest assured that from this day forward, nothing will matter to us more than your comfort</a>.&quot;<br />* <em>Salon: </em>&quot;<a href="http://www.salon.com/2013/02/26/twitters_unstoppable_humor_police_were_all_hate_watchers_now/" target="_blank">Is social media too tough on political incorrectness? Ask Seth MacFarlane</a>.&quot;<br />* <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/26/us/politics/how-producers-got-michelle-obama-for-the-oscars.html?_r=1&amp;adxnnl=1&amp;adxnnlx=1361855483-Hh8bbfnnRfQGXLD+U8wHnA&amp;gwh=66FD85D01E8AF01F48DF4401DCC0A3DF" target="_blank">How producers got Michelle Obama</a> to present an Oscar.</p><div style="background-color:#000000;width:512px;"><iframe align="right" frameborder="0" height="144" longdesc="http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-february-25-2013/the-more-you-molpus" scrolling="no" src="http://media.mtvnservices.com/embed/mgid:cms:video:thedailyshow.com:424128" width="256"></iframe></div><p><strong>&#39;THE DAILY SHOW&#39; APOLOGIZES, TOO. </strong>Jon Stewart last night regretted having &quot;<a href="http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-february-25-2013/the-more-you-molpus" target="_blank">randomly slammed a dude because ... he had a funny name like Dick Molpus</a>,&quot; using him as &quot;an avatar for casual bigotry,&quot; when in fact Molpus has endured death threats during &quot;a long and distinguished record of speaking out for civil rights.&quot;<br />* Mississippi investigative reporter: <a href="http://blogs.clarionledger.com/jmitchell/2013/02/22/note-to-jon-stewart-why-not-invite-dick-molpus-and-constance-slaughter-harvey-to-appear-on-your-show/" target="_blank">Invite Molpus on the show</a>.</p><p><strong>&#39;MOST INCREDIBLE NEWSPAPER APOLOGY EVER.&#39;</strong> That&#39;s how media watcher Jim Romenesko describes a &quot;Note to Readers&quot; from a North Carolina paper groveling before &quot;<a href="http://jimromenesko.com/2013/02/25/paper-apologizes-for-gun-records-request/" target="_blank">everyone we unintentionally upset with our public records request</a> ...&quot;<br />* <em>Philadelphia Inquirer</em> columnist calls apology &quot;<a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/attytood/Murphy-NC-is-where-American-journalism-went-to-die.html" target="_blank">embarrassing, snivling</a> [sic].&quot;&nbsp;<br />* <em>Boing Boing</em> calls it &quot;awe-inspiring work, <a href="http://boingboing.net/2013/02/25/newspaper-publisher-apologizes.html" target="_blank">even by established standards of smalltown media obsequiousness</a>.&quot;</p><p><strong>&#39;INAPPROPRIATE AND TO SOME DEGREE OFFENSIVE.&#39; </strong>That description by a suburban mayor of <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/north-chicago-hit-brochure-some-find-offensive" target="_blank">a police brochure displaying black stereotypes</a> falls short of <a href="http://newssun.suntimes.com/18477140-417/african-american-police-protest-north-chicago-presentation.html" target="_blank">the apology demanded by some veteran black cops</a>.<br />* New York state lawmaker <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/25/us/new-york-lawmaker-blackface/index.html" target="_blank">apologizes for blackface costume</a>.<br />* Pennsylvania mayor <a href="http://www.myfoxphilly.com/story/21346776/in-statement-mayor-a" target="_blank">apologizes for his ejection from high-school wrestling tournament</a>.</p><hr /><p><em><strong>SORRY TO TROUBLE YOU WITH THESE ANNOUNCEMENTS.</strong></em><br /><em>* Suggestions for this blog?&nbsp;<a href="mailto:cmeyerson@wbez.org?subject=Things%20and%20stuff">Email anytime</a>.<br />* Get this blog by email, free. <a href="http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=feedburner/AELk&amp;amp;loc=en_US" target="_blank">Sign up here</a>.</em><br /><em>* Follow us on Twitter:&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/wbez" target="_blank">@WBEZ</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/meyerson" target="_blank">@Meyerson</a>.<br />* Looking for the most recent WBEZ Meyerson News Quiz? <a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/news-quiz" target="_blank">Here you go</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 26 Feb 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-02/all-apology-issue-onion-daily-show-suck-it-105756 Offensive Onion tweet headlines 'hostile, ugly, sexist' Oscar night http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-02/offensive-onion-tweet-headlines-hostile-ugly-sexist-oscar-night-105727 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Quvenzhane%2BWallis.jpg" style="width: 498px; height: 280px;" title="(Gerald Herbert/AP)" /></div><p>If there&rsquo;s one thing I&rsquo;m disappointed by at this year&rsquo;s Oscars, it&rsquo;s that no one&rsquo;s going to be talking about what a spectacularly bad outing Seth MacFarlane had as his first time as host. The <em>Family Guy</em> creator and pop culture shock jock played down to the worst expectations of him, peddling in off-color (and even worse, stale) jokes about everything from <a href="http://www.theatlanticwire.com/entertainment/2013/02/seth-macfarlane-oscar-monologue/62463/">Mel Gibson</a> to <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/02/25/seth-macfarlane-s-juvenile-oscars-sexism-assassination-nazi-jokes.html">pedophilia</a>, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/24/seth-macfarlane-quotes-women-2013-oscars_n_2756480.html">eating disorders</a> and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/24/macfarlane-rihanna-chris-brown-oscars-zingers_n_2755974.html?utm_hp_ref=entertainment">domestic violence</a>. Those jokes weren&rsquo;t edgy when Ricky Gervais tried them three years ago at the Golden Globes, and we didn&rsquo;t have to listen to Ricky sing. MacFarlane&rsquo;s shtick set a mean-spirited tone for an endless ceremony that should have been ebullient and joyful, capping with Ben Affleck&rsquo;s tearful redemption. Remember when Ellen DeGeneres charmed the pants off America (and Martin Scorsese)? I miss that.</p><p>But like the Oscars&rsquo; virtual <em>Lincoln</em> shutout (none for you, Spielberg!), <em>The Onion</em> quickly stole the limelight away from any dangling criticism of MacFarlane&rsquo;s lack of emcee skills. After the ceremony ended, the satirical news rag posted the Tweet Heard Round the World&mdash;at least the one most complained about on your Facebook news feed. The tweet was swiftly <a href="http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57571025-93/the-onion-deletes-offensive-tweet-about-child-oscar-nominee/">taken down</a>, but not before it was preserved in the internet&rsquo;s archives by the wonder of screengrabs. The internet never forgets.</p><p>I almost don&rsquo;t want to hit those copy + paste buttons, because they make it real again, but here goes. Deep breath:</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/tweet_edited-1.jpg" title="" /></div></div><p>Now, before the internet launches into the &ldquo;Hey, This Easily Offended Blogger Doesn&rsquo;t Get Satire&quot; rant, pipe down, Trollie. I absolutely adore <em>The Onion</em> and look to them as a beacon of sanity in the world. Like John Stewart and Stephen Colbert, their use of humor allows them to speak truth to power in a way your Average News Media Bear doesn&rsquo;t, pointing out the blatant hypocrisy and absurdity of daily life. Although their headlines and news articles are satirical fun house images of our news cycle, they often seem more real than the actual news. This is why a growing number of &ldquo;The Youths&rdquo; (referred to in different corners as &quot;Millenials,&quot; &quot;Twenty-Somethings&quot; or &quot;Those Crazy Kids&quot;) rely on them as news sources. It might not be fact, but <em>The Onion </em>feels real.</p><p>Despite the outlet&rsquo;s role as satire, this is why the tweet hits so close to home for many readers&mdash;because a) it feels like a violation of a sacred contract and b) it&#39;s a horrible thing to call anyone, especially a child. As <em>Onion </em>lovers, we rely on them to sort out the media&rsquo;s bull, not add to it, and this tweet is a big, steaming, festering pile of fibrous cowdung, so much so that you imagine Bret Easton Ellis out there cackling in delight. You could run out of words describing how awful this tweet is, so we&rsquo;ll make a Scattergories round out of it. How many words can you find that describe <em>The Onion</em>&#39;s comment? All of them have to begin with the letter V. You have thirty seconds. Go!</p><p>Because I&rsquo;m an optimist, I&rsquo;d like to believe that the tweet was meant to be a critique of media sensationalism on Oscar night, particularly the ways in which we attack celebrities as a national sport. Seconds after the Oscars ended, websites were posting their worst-dressed lists, throwing out canned punchlines about Salma Hayek&rsquo;s dress, Norah Jones&rsquo; hair and what Jane Fonda could have been thinking. Anne Hathaway gives a tearful yet composed speech, showing her grace under pressure, and people instinctively roll their eyes at her, trained to believe that anything Anne Hathaway does is fake. The moment Kristen Stewart walked out on stage with Daniel Radcliffe, everyone at my Oscar party erupted in scorn, shouting to get off the stage. The question isn&rsquo;t why we hate her so much, but what purpose this hatred serves.</p><p>However, bringing children into this media discourse of celebrity shows just how disgusting and damaging that culture is. (New Scattergories round: Describe the media&rsquo;s treatment of women with the letter D. Three seconds. Go!) This is likely what <em>The Onion</em> was trying to do, using the vilest word they could think of to describe a child, a tweet meant to make us think and reflect on what we mean when we bash celebrities. I&rsquo;m sure a bunch of people went to instantly retweet <em>The Onion </em>(because celebrities terrible funny ha-ha), but then read it and had to ask themselves, &ldquo;Wait, <em>what</em>?&rdquo; This tweet disrupts the expected narrative.</p><p>But the problem is that Quvenzhane Wallis, the most adorable nine-year-old I&rsquo;ve ever seen, deserves to be taken out of the crossfire. Although the tweet banks on her insouciant innocence and precociousness, she&rsquo;s not an abstract concept for critique. More than an actress, she&rsquo;s a real little girl who needs to be left alone. The cases of Lindsay Lohan and Drew Barrymore showed that the spotlight can have deleterious effects on young peoples&rsquo; identities, and rather than critiquing that, it looks like <em>The Onion</em> is affirming the fall from grace. It&#39;s sorry satire that gets mistaken for its intended target.</p><p>The media&#39;s war on girls is not new. Last year, the internet erupted with criticisms of Willow Smith&rsquo;s hair, alleging that it was inappropriate that she made the decision to cut it herself. Critics argued that as a preteen, she shouldn&rsquo;t be allowed to make her own style choices, or she&rsquo;ll end up dressing like Milla Jovovich in <em>The Fifth Element</em>. Not that there&rsquo;s anything wrong with Gautier.</p><p>Jada Pinkett Smith lambasted the media patriarchy with a Facebook post that bluntly and smartly educated America on a girl&rsquo;s right to choose her own identity and why we all need the agency to define ourselves. It&rsquo;s especially important in this case&mdash;because Quvenzhane Wallis is a young woman of color in an industry where non-white actors are treated like second-class citizens. If you needed proof of the industry&rsquo;s tortured relationship to race, notice that they played the score to <em>Gone with the Wind </em>after Taratino&rsquo;s screenplay win for <em>Django Unchained</em>. They celebrated a cinematic critique of cultural racism by smothering it with racism. I&rsquo;d like to take this moment to thank the Academy for being clueless. They&#39;re like the old, racist uncle we&#39;re forced to spend time with once a year.</p><p>As a woman in that industry, Quvenzhane Wallis will further feel this pressure&mdash;in an industry that expects women of color to pick fights with each other onscreen, to be a Real Housewife, to act like Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey and to sell out her talent for the lowest-common denominator. It&rsquo;s telling that a black actress won last year for serving someone a poop pie, but not leading up an ensemble with poise and grace. It&rsquo;s even more telling that when Jessica Chastain is asked about the film, interviewers most often want to know about catfights behind the set, seeking to further a narrative where women tear each other apart for entertainment. We want Hollywood to be like an episode of <em>Revenge</em>.</p><p>After the media invented a fake feud between Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence&mdash;with a headline that even read &ldquo;Jessica Chastain Hates Jennifer Lawrence&rdquo;&mdash;here&rsquo;s what Chastain <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2013/feb/11/jessica-chastain-jennifer-lawrence-oscars">had to say</a>:</p><blockquote><p>&quot;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jessica-Chastain/130560923681640" title="">I find it very sad that the media makes up bogus stories</a> about women fighting in this industry. Filming <em>The Help</em> was the most amazing experience...Why do we support the myth that women are competitive and cannot get along?...Please don&#39;t allow the media to perpetuate the myth that women aren&#39;t supportive of each other. Every time an actress is celebrated for her great work, I cheer. For the more brilliant their performance, the more the audience demands stories about women. With support and encouragement, we help to inspire this industry to create opportunities for women. And as we all know: a great year for women in film is just a great year for film.&quot;</p></blockquote><p>As the first prominent young actress of color, Quvenzhane Wallis is going to have to fight for a place in Hollywood, where no one ever called Dakota Fanning a c-word or asked for clarification on Abigail Breslin&#39;s name. However, it&#39;s also our role to lift her up and celebrate her.&nbsp; The Academy Awards are supposed to be about showcasing art&rsquo;s power to challenge us and push us, yet it too often devolves into &ldquo;<a href="http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/closeread/2013/02/seth-macfarlane-and-the-oscars-hostile-ugly-sexist-night.html">hostile, ugly and sexist</a>&rdquo; garbage like this, highlighting competition over achievement. At the end of the ceremony, Seth MacFarlane (with an assist by poor Kristen Chenoweth) even took a minute to mock the losers in a musical number, which says more about MacFarlane than it does Amy Adams. Remember: this is the guy who makes <em>Aquaman</em> rape jokes for a living.</p><p>Not wanting to outdouche Seth MacFarlane, <em>The Onion</em> swiftly apologized this morning, rather than attempting to run away from the disaster in slow-motion, like in <em>Dante&rsquo;s Peak</em>. <em>The Onion</em> recognized that not all humor is created equal and instead of hiding behind a veil of being un-PC, they recognized the tweet as a &ldquo;senseless, humorless comment masquerading as satire.&rdquo; In doing so, <em>The Onion</em> took a moment to reflect on what its language means and showed that our rhetorical choices have consequences. They took responsibility for being part of the problem, rather than singing and dancing around it. You&#39;ll never see that from Seth MacFarlane.</p><p>Ironically, by being offensive, misogynistic and possibly racist, <em>The Onion </em>might have given the Oscars the best headline imaginable. Next year, let&#39;s check out the Razzies instead. At least they&#39;re honest when they say they&#39;re celebrating the worst.</p><p><em>Nico Lang writes about LGBTQ life in Chicago. Follow Nico on Twitter @<a href="http://www.twitter.com/nico_lang">Nico_Lang</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/nicorlang">Facebook</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 25 Feb 2013 11:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-02/offensive-onion-tweet-headlines-hostile-ugly-sexist-oscar-night-105727 Just because you can doesn’t mean you should: the dangers of instant publication in an increasingly cynical world http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-02/just-because-you-can-doesn%E2%80%99t-mean-you-should-dangers-instant-publication <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/8430344401_9b131b5420.jpg" style="float: right; height: 400px; width: 300px;" title="Flickr/Disney ABC Television Group" />I had barely seen any of the movies nominated for Oscars last night: <em>Flight, </em>and a handful of the kids&rsquo;/Snow White type movies (it was a weird year.) However, I watched the Academy Awards because I was looking forward to <a href="https://twitter.com/Zulkey">hanging out with Twitter as I did so</a>. Tweeting the Academy Awards feels like you&rsquo;re at an Oscar party, only one where you don&rsquo;t have to put on shoes, where you can fart freely, where you don&rsquo;t have to drive home afterwards and <a href="https://twitter.com/SteveMartinToGo">where Steve Martin is in attendance.</a></div><p>There&#39;s also a self-promotional element to live-Tweeting. I taught a class on blogging a few weeks ago and during our segment on social networking, I advised students to try their hand live-blogging big events like the Oscars, because, from a self-promotional point of view, Tweeting an event along with millions of other users could be a good way to pick up some followers. I wasn&rsquo;t aiming to do this, but I think I got 15 new followers last night (all of whom will probably unfollow me in due time but whatever.)</p><p>The most popular Tweets, of course, tend to be the funniest ones and the funniest Tweets, if not to me, then to everybody else, are either the weirdest or the most cutting. It&rsquo;s easy to put celebs down at the Oscars: they&rsquo;re inflated with ego, they&rsquo;re outrageously overpaid, and on Twitter we can work out our self-hatred over being so obsessed with entertainers. On Twitter you can hate-love and love-hate the entertainment industry with people who won&#39;t judge you.</p><p>When Jennifer Aniston presented a category in a flowy bright red gown, I drafted a Tweet: &ldquo;Jennifer Aniston&rsquo;s uterus looks especially empty right now.&rdquo; But my hands hovered over the keyboard before hitting &ldquo;Tweet.&rdquo; Something didn&rsquo;t feel quite right about this. The &ldquo;joke&rdquo; of the Tweet was the constant speculation over whether Aniston is pregnant or not, and/or whether her lack of fruitfulness drove Brad Pitt into Angelina Jolie&rsquo;s fertile arms. (Also, it could have been a compliment to how svelte she looked? But not really.) It didn&rsquo;t feel right, though. Maybe Aniston has struggled mightily with fertility or maybe she just doesn&rsquo;t want kids, a position I utterly respect and understand. Moreover though, I felt like this was not a joke that would go over well and that I didn&rsquo;t want to have to defend. It just wasn&#39;t that funny. I deleted and moved on to something else.</p><p>At least two entities are smelling pretty bad this morning after the Oscars: host Seth MacFarlane and The Onion, <a href="http://gawker.com/5986601/here-are-all-of-seth-macfarlanes-predictable-sexist-homophobic-and-racist-oscar-jokes">MacFarlane for various jokes</a> and The Onion for writing a Tweet that sounded like it was calling <a href="http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/onion-calls-quvenzhane-wallis-c-424113">nine-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis the c-word</a>.</p><p>I don&rsquo;t think either MacFarlane or whomever was writing the Onion Tweet worked with malice, but instead with the mistaken impression that edgier is better. MacFarlane actually had a couple of good jokes in his broadcast (the <em>Sound of Music</em> one was cute) and I can see that the Onion Tweet had the seeds of a good satirical joke about female competition and celebrity gossip in it. But both pushed the envelope in a cheap direction. MacFarlane&rsquo;s jokes came pre-packaged with &ldquo;You won&rsquo;t be able to handle this!&rdquo; comebacks (like his Lincoln assassination joke, which he followed up with an obviously-rehearsed &ldquo;too soon?&rdquo; retort) and The Onion crossed two major lines: using one of the worst words and using it on someone too young to either defend herself or to have to know what that word means. The jokes were insulting but almost as bad, just not very funny.<br /><br />All these jokes could have been retold or remade in some way so as not to go the jerk route. But in the world of reTweets and comments and likes and everything, subtlety and sensitivity doesn&rsquo;t always pay off in terms of eyeballs and buzz. Both MacFarlane and the Onion have been praised when they&rsquo;ve used tastelessness in clever and pointed ways. But that doesn&rsquo;t work 100 percent of the time.</p><p>I have a story I&rsquo;ve told a million times about a celebrity who reached out to me and let me know he didn&rsquo;t care for a joke I made at his expense in a publication. I was mortified, not so much because I had hurt his feelings, but because it was a cheap, lousy joke that I didn&rsquo;t want to stand behind. If it had been Chris Brown emailing me to complain that he doesn&rsquo;t like being depicted as a petulant, violent s.o.b., I wouldn&rsquo;t have felt bad. But in this case, it wasn&rsquo;t a hill I wanted to die on. I should have listened to my gut.</p><p>Same thing goes with MacFarlane and the Onion Tweeter. Some jokes are worth taking the hit for if they&rsquo;re more clever than angry, more absurd than obscene. But sometimes you just have to think of people&rsquo;s feelings, and/or, in a more self-centered vein, the damage control you&rsquo;ll have to do. Will it be worth it? If not, revise, rewrite, re-Tweet. It&rsquo;s possible to make be edgy, rude and clever without being a complete c-word about it.&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 25 Feb 2013 09:37:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-02/just-because-you-can-doesn%E2%80%99t-mean-you-should-dangers-instant-publication New role for ex-'sexiest man alive' http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-01/new-role-ex-sexiest-man-alive-105012 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/FITZGERALD.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><strong><a href="https://soundcloud.com/meyerson/from-may-2012-u-s-attorney" target="_blank"><img alt="Former U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald" src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3f/Patrick_Fitzgerald.jpg/200px-Patrick_Fitzgerald.jpg" style="width: 150px; height: 208px; float: right;" /></a>WE LOVE NO OTHER, SO LET OUR MOTTO BE VICTORY.</strong> A former (2005) &quot;<strong><a href="http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/entertainment&amp;id=3645297">sexiest man alive</a></strong>&quot; is headed for a new job: A seat on <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-quinn-to-name-former-prosecutor-fitzgerald-to-ui-board-20130117,0,4597873.story">the University of Illinois board of trustees</a>.<br />* Would you like to be on an Illinois board or commission? You can <a href="http://appointments.illinois.gov/bcForm.cfm">nominate yourself online</a>. Good luck.</p><p><strong>HOTEL WRIGLEY.&nbsp;</strong>The Cubs&#39; owners say they are close to a deal to put <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-0118-wrigley-redevelop--20130118,0,1547549.story">a hotel across the street from Wrigley Field</a> -- now site of a McDonald&#39;s (which would also be be part of a new development). But there&#39;s a big &quot;if&quot;: The plan hinges on public money to help upgrade Wrigley Field.</p><p><strong>&#39;SIMPERING CRAP SHOULD BE ELIMINATED FROM THE SPORTS PAGES.&#39; </strong><em>Deadspin</em>&#39;s editor-in-chief tells <a href="http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/201012/deadspins-editor-in-chief-explains-editing-reporting-behind-manti-teo-story/">the story behind the story of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te&#39;o&#39;s nonexistent dead girlfriend</a> (or is it &quot;dead nonexistent girlfriend&quot;?) and offers his take on the state of sports journalism.<br />* Media critic Jack Shafer&#39;s prescription for becoming a better journalist: &quot;Doubt what you read, doubt what you hear -- and when you feel your heart beating, tear it out and <a href="http://blogs.reuters.com/jackshafer/2013/01/17/manti-teo-and-the-press-get-blitzed/">stomp on it until it stops</a>.&quot;<br />* <em>Chicago Tribune</em> standards editor: After &quot;embarrassing&quot; chapter, &quot;<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/tribnation/chi-manti-teo-girlfriend-mystery-notre-dame-and-corrections-20130117,0,5889226.story">we will do what we do after every error</a>: Admit our mistake, learn from it, do some soul-searching and move forward.&quot;<br />* <em>Washington Post</em> <a href="http://www.thewrap.com/media/column-post/washington-post-reporter-admits-plagiarism-apologizes-73561">suspends bureau chief for plagiarism</a>.</p><p><strong>LANCE ARMSTRONG TELLS ...</strong> Oh, who really cares now that we have Te&#39;o? Here&#39;s a roundup of <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/lance-armstrong-oprah-night-jokes-183707465.html">late-night show Armstrong jokes</a>. Here&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theonion.com/articles/lance-armstrong-admits-to-using-performanceenhanci,30912/"><em>The Onion&#39;s take</em></a>. And here&#39;s <a href="http://www.theatlanticwire.com/entertainment/2013/01/oprah-inteview-gifs/61133/">an animated GIF history of confessions to Oprah Winfrey</a>.</p><p><strong><a href="http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/17/biden-getting-an-autobiography-from-the-onion-whether-he-wants-it-or-not/" target="_blank"><img alt="Onion's Biden book" src="http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2013/01/17/arts/bidencover/bidencover-articleInline.jpg" style="width: 150px; height: 231px; float: right;" /></a>JOE BIDEN&#39;S AUTOBIOGRAPHY. NOT.</strong> <em>The Onion</em>&#39;s <a href="http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/17/biden-getting-an-autobiography-from-the-onion-whether-he-wants-it-or-not/">written one for him</a>. Compare and contrast to <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Promises-Keep-Politics-Joe-Biden/dp/0812976215">the real thing</a>.</p><p><strong>YOUR NEWS QUIZ IS READY. </strong>Study up first by reviewing <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson">this blog&#39;s postings over the last week</a>. The guy who created the thing got only 90 percent. (What is Te&#39;o&#39;s nonexistent dead girlfriend&#39;s name again?) Then, <strong>it&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://cpm.polldaddy.com/s/wbez-meyerson-news-quiz-no-2">your turn</a></strong>. P.S. It&#39;s an open-book (or is that open-browser?) quiz.</p><script type="text/javascript" src="http://i0.poll.fm/survey.js" charset="UTF-8"></script><noscript><a href="http://cpm.polldaddy.com/s/wbez-meyerson-news-quiz-no-2">Take WBEZ Meyerson News Quiz No. 2 right now!</a></noscript><script type="text/javascript"> polldaddy.add( { type: 'button', title: 'Take WBEZ Meyerson News Quiz No. 2 right now.', style: 'inline', text_color: '000000', domain: 'cpm.polldaddy.com/s/', id: 'D4AE27F3118C62BA' } ); </script><hr /><p><em>No blog entry Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Back here Tuesday morning. Take the extra time to&nbsp;<a href="mailto:Meyerson@gmail.com?subject=Hey%2C%20Meyerson!">email your thoughts</a> on how the WBEZ Meyerson blog customer satisfaction team can better meet your needs.</em></p></p> Fri, 18 Jan 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-01/new-role-ex-sexiest-man-alive-105012 Illinois Lt. Gov. Simon to honor 'The Onion' in song http://www.wbez.org/sections/culture/illinois-lt-gov-simon-honor-onion-song-101137 <p><p>Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon plans to declare July 31 &quot;<em>The Onion</em> Day&quot; in&nbsp;Illinois&nbsp;to honor the satirical newspaper&#39;s decision to move its media operations from New York to Chicago.</p><p><em>The Onion</em> consolidated its media operations in Chicago this month and recently broke ground on a new studio for digital video production. <em>The Onion</em> plans to move 100 employees to the new offices and studio in October.</p><p>Simon&#39;s office issued a news release Monday welcoming <em>The Onion</em> to Chicago. The release says the satirical paper is relocating to take advantage of an&nbsp;Illinois&nbsp;tax credit for web video, TV and film production &mdash; and the city&#39;s comedy scene.</p><p>Simon plans to play banjo and dedicate a new song to <em>The Onion</em> at a fund-raiser July 31 for the Better Government Association.</p></p> Tue, 24 Jul 2012 09:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/culture/illinois-lt-gov-simon-honor-onion-song-101137 The Baratunde Thurston Interview http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-04/baratunde-thurston-interview-98206 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/baratunde-lookdown-green.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Baratunde Thurston is Director of Digital for 'The Onion.' (Alexa Lee)" /></div><p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.6447714670159325">Last week I phone-chatted with today&rsquo;s interviewee, who co-founded the black political blog,</span><a href="http://jackandjillpolitics.com/"> Jack and Jill Politics</a> and serves as Director of Digital for<a href="http://theonion.com/"> <em>The Onion</em></a>. He has written for <em>Vanity Fair</em> and the UK <em>Independent</em>, hosted <em>Popular Science&rsquo;s</em> <em>Future Of </em>on Discovery Science and appears on cable news regularly. Then-candidate Barack Obama called him &quot;someone I need to know.&quot; Baratunde travels the world speaking and advising and performs standup regularly in New York. He resides in Brooklyn, <a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/baratunde">lives on Twitter</a> and has over 30 years experience being black. His first book,<a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/0062003216/ref=as_li_tf_til?tag=ws_2876-20&amp;camp=0&amp;creative=0&amp;linkCode=as1&amp;creativeASIN=0062003216&amp;adid=1S28MEY50YFC8N7NM1ZC"> <em>How To Be Black</em></a>, was published earlier this year by Harper Collins. I by and large lifted this bio from <a href="http://www.baratunde.com/">his website</a>, where you can find much more about him.<br /><br /><strong>What have been the most memorable encounters on your book tour?</strong><br />In Austin, I gave the opening keynote at South by Southwest Interactive, the biggest audience I&rsquo;d ever addressed. I wasn&rsquo;t talking about the book, but about the power of comedy to provide some understanding in a complex world. Being on a stage in front of 3,500 people and an overflow world with another 1,500, Twitter unusable for several hours, I thought, &ldquo;They like me, they really like me!&rdquo;<br /><br />The next day I did almost the opposite type of event. I did a very intimate and small diner for the book that a company called iMeet had sponsored in one of the tall buildings in downtown Austin with a view of the surrounding area It was at sunset and this guy <a href="http://www.dantefriedchicken.com/">Dante</a> is rethinking black food--its labeling and its content. He doesn&rsquo;t call it soul food, he calls it Trans-Atlantic African food. It&rsquo;s sort of the chef version of <em>How to be Black</em>. So we did this dinner and I didn&rsquo;t do any formal presentation. I sat him down for interviews with my friend <a href="http://shift.pgi.com/tag/james-andrews/">James Andrews</a>. I sat with him on the couch and there were thirty people in the room. He asked me questions and we took questions from the audience.<br /><br />When you write a book or put anything out in the world, you want people to read it or view it or touch it--assuming it&rsquo;s not your body--and get something from it. In that moment seeing the very emotional reaction of a lot of the people in the room to the book was beautiful and humbling and almost frightening like, &ldquo;Oh wow, people care.&rdquo; I got an email from a parent a few months ago who really identified with my mother through the book and was going through some challenges of her own with her kids and private school, and the cost of tuition and asked me what would your mother do? I was like, &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know.&rdquo; So when I did this private dinner in Austin, I relayed that in answer to a question that someone asked me about significant moments and it got very quiet in the room and the next question was &ldquo;so what do you think your mom would do?&rdquo; And I was like, &ldquo;I just told you I don&rsquo;t know!&rdquo; (laughs) But I thought about that and I actually provided an answer. That was not a funny moment, it was a very touching and challenging and significant moment.<br /><br /><strong>When you get home, what do you most look forward to doing?</strong><br />Sleeping. Spending time on my couch in front of my television. I went home last week for five days in a row which was luxurious and I came out of Penn station and I was like, &ldquo;Oh, New York, I forgot how great you are and how much you smell like pee.&rdquo; Love it. And it made me want to go pee on something. So I did. &lsquo;Cause you have to do that. I like being in New York. I have really good friends there who I don&rsquo;t see enough of. Just walking around Brooklyn, eating brunch, drinking whiskey, just being in that city. I moved there because it&rsquo;s so exciting and dynamic and full of people, but I leave so much, especially over the last few months, and it is exciting to see the world, but it&rsquo;s also exhausting. I have almost no stability in my life right now. I think of myself as geo-spatially unstable. I don&rsquo;t know exactly where and when I am sometimes, waking up in all these different beds, so I just look forward to very simple things, waking up in my bed, my couch, my friends, my city.<br /><br /><strong>You must get a lot of people asking for advice as to how to break into comedy either through <em>The Onion</em> or standup. What do you typically tell them?</strong><br />I tell them it&rsquo;s hopeless and don&rsquo;t even try. We&rsquo;re all doomed and then I wish them luck half-heartedly and I don&rsquo;t mean it. No, I tell people, we&rsquo;re in a stage where creating your own opportunities is almost the default setting. The era of asking permission, following a predetermined path, those days are if not fully over, they&rsquo;re numbered. So for folks who are like, &ldquo;How do I get a &nbsp;job at <em>The Onion</em>?&rdquo; Well you don&rsquo;t, and I don&rsquo;t even know if you want to. Not because there&rsquo;s nothing wrong with <em>The Onion</em>, but because you can wait in line for that opportunity for years and never get called; meanwhile you could have been building your own world and attracting people to it and creating your own version of what you think you want to do at <em>The Onion</em> in your own way and maybe some other opportunity will come to you, maybe <em>The Onion</em> will come to you. So I generally try to advise people to just start and do something. Take a step toward what you think you want to do rather than waiting for the perfect moment. There are no perfect moments that we don&rsquo;t create incrementally along the way.<br /><br /><strong>When you do write humor, how do you know what to use for your own books versus <em>The Onion</em> or <a href="http://www.baratunde.com/blog/2012/4/7/baratundecast-living-an-exemplary-black-life.html">podcasts</a>?</strong><br />My writing contributions to <em>The Onion</em> are very limited. In the past I&rsquo;ve written a bunch more, I&rsquo;ve written headlines and they&rsquo;ve gotten published. I&rsquo;m very proud of those moments. I have a dance that I do. I&rsquo;ve written maybe a few articles over the years, but that&rsquo;s a whole other time commitment to do that, a whole other level of respect I have for people who do that regularly. My role there is to advise on digital strategy and on some of the political content possibilities. There&rsquo;s very little competition creatively in terms of, here&rsquo;s what I give <em>The Onion</em> versus myself. As far as what do I write about, I don&rsquo;t have a system. It&rsquo;s not that regimented where I&rsquo;m like, now I&rsquo;m in stand up mode and I will think of jokes that are appropriate for a live audience with a microphone and alcohol versus a column. I&rsquo;m not writing another book right now. I blog loosely and I prepare my talks for book events or my public speaking events. In all those cases the audience determines in large part what I write about. If I&rsquo;m doing a conference about the future of digital media or inclusive innovation I just think more about what is appropriate from my life and what I&rsquo;ve seen in the world that fits that. There are two outlets I do think a little more consciously about--there&rsquo;s my email list, and in that case I&rsquo;m trying to go deep into a personal story that I haven&#39;t shared before and provide a behind the scenes window into where I&rsquo;ve come from or how I see things. This past week I wrote about the lottery, this whole mega million situation.<br /><br />As a kid I remember my mom driving out of state to go play this record jackpot and I had a terrible bike accident while she was gone. There was a powerful metaphor; I had to go home and clean my own wounds and apply the antibiotic ointment and deal with the shock of the injury all by myself and then not go to the hospital because if she came home and I wasn&rsquo;t there she&rsquo;d be freaked out and it was all because she went off for a very limited chance at getting a big pile of money.<br /><br />I do an audio podcast that started off as a behind the scenes of a book tour. Every day I would sort of check in with the podcast: Here&rsquo;s what I did today, here&rsquo;s the crazy thing I saw happen and you can kind of hear as I get to week three the level of fatigue. My voice gets raspier and raspier as I&rsquo;m recording them at one in the morning and then two in the morning and then three. So in those cases I do think about the content as something I want to be heavily personal and somewhat revealing.<br /><br /><strong>How often do people come up to you knowing you work at <em>The Onion</em> and do standup wanting to submit jokes to you?</strong><br />Too often. Rarely do people have suggestions for my own act, but they have too many ideas about what <em>The Onion</em> should do, like &ldquo;I got a great idea for <em>The Onion</em>, you guys should totally...&rdquo; and we almost always should not. They&rsquo;re wrong. More importantly, people kind of think they understand what <em>The Onion</em> is but they mostly don&rsquo;t. &ldquo;Oh, it&rsquo;s funny fake news.&rdquo; It sort of is that but there&rsquo;s a very particular sensibility. I didn&rsquo;t even respect it until I was actually getting my healthcare from the organization and I had to be fully immersed in it. It&rsquo;s its own language like Spanglish. Once you&rsquo;re there, you&rsquo;re like, oh this is an <em>Onion</em> headline, this isn&rsquo;t. For those people, it&rsquo;s like you should just go ahead and post that on Facebook.<br /><br /><strong>On tour or at home, what typically is the first media you encounter in the morning?</strong><br />Twitter, Twitter, Twitter. I sleep with Twitter. I make some love with Twitter. I fight on Twitter. It is more my home than my home. It&rsquo;s that stable interface that I can somewhat rely on. I subscribe to a bunch of people and kind of dive in immediately. I try to pay attention to emails from Politico. For the purpose of feeling terrible about American democracy, I try to tune into that in the mornings. Mostly it&rsquo;s just what I happen to see on Twitter and a little bit on Facebook.<br /><br /><strong>Who are some of your favorite Twitter accounts that you follow?</strong><br />I just started following <a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/CHAVEZOFFICIAL">Chavez Official</a> which is a satirical account of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. I also love Pourmecoffee, a fun political comedic perspective. <a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/oliviama">Olivia Ma</a> on YouTube, an old high school friend of mine. She doesn&#39;t tweet very often--there are a few accounts I&rsquo;ve opted in for SMS updates--She is one of the accounts that I get on my phone. I don&rsquo;t even know if she knows this. She&rsquo;s about to find out. Her, the president. I love to know what the president is up to. And breaking news on Al Jazeera.<br /><br /><strong>Do you ever get sucked into flamewars on Twitter or on the blogs?</strong><br />Yeah. I try not to now. I was really good at fighting on the internet, like I would stomp your ass. &nbsp;I grew up in the era of the email flame war overlapping with black culture, like in college me and my black friends would just get into it. Big epic email battles and I so looked forward to them. It&rsquo;s like training for a prize fight. My goal is to make you never want to use the internet again. Like when you see the Twitter login button you&rsquo;re going to feel nervous and ashamed and maybe you&rsquo;ll cry. That&rsquo;s the goal.</p><p>You know, now I really don&rsquo;t have time. There are some moments that I choose to engage with an idiot because it&rsquo;s good to flex those muscles. I had a moment a few weeks ago that I captured on my Storify account. If you go to <a href="http://storify.com/baratunde">Storify</a> you&rsquo;ll see a collection called &ldquo;<a href="http://storify.com/baratunde/robertehayes">because you didn&rsquo;t tweet me I&rsquo;m not going to finish reading your book</a>.&rdquo; There was some dude and he was like &ldquo;Hey, I sent you a really complimentary tweet, didn&rsquo;t get a response, thinking twice about finishing your book.&rdquo; I wasn&rsquo;t even sure if he was being serious. I have made the mistake of going nuclear on people who were just joking because I have this very warlike position with internet battles. They&rsquo;ll be like, &ldquo;Dude I was just joking&rdquo; and I&rsquo;ll be like, &ldquo;Well A) It wasn&rsquo;t very funny and B) I&rsquo;m sorry.&rdquo; I murdered your family virtually because you had a weird sense of humor. I checked with him first but he was serious about moving my book down in the queue of things he was reading. I did a whole podcast about it. That&rsquo;s the worst of internet culture, that idea of I&rsquo;m so important you have to stop everything you got going on in your life and if you don&rsquo;t acknowledge me then you&rsquo;re bullsh*t.<br /><br /><strong>I wonder how effective that is. Is Jonathan Franzen like, &quot;Please, finish <em>The Corrections</em>!&rdquo;?</strong><br />I was like, I assume the author you are replacing me with has responded to all of your tweets.<br /><br /><strong>What&rsquo;s funny about flame wars is that the real world is both victory and the admission of defeat. Like, if I step away from the computer, I realize I have a real life. But at the same time you wonder if the person at the other end is thinking, &ldquo;Oh she&rsquo;s not responding, I beat her!&rdquo;</strong><br />That&rsquo;s a dangerous game. On Twitter, if someone starts attacking you there, the first thing I do now is I go look at their profile. Who is this person? This one person, he was talking so much trash, he has zero followers. I was like, the market has spoken! You are not worth my time. Not even your friends--you have people who love you and they&rsquo;re not following you. I&rsquo;m going to let this one go. You realize they just love baiting everyone. When I do engage I&rsquo;m not necessarily trying to convince people. It&rsquo;s a fun rhetorical exercise and it helps me burn off testosterone.<br /><br /><strong>Speaking of enjoying fighting, what are your favorite politicians who you love to hate?</strong><br />Oooh. Um, golly. To some degree Romney but hate involves caring. I almost feel nothing for him. He hasn&rsquo;t even managed to get a rise out of me. Palin is on a perpetual list of people who I shouldn&rsquo;t know exist and so I by default will always be annoyed with John McCain for inflicting her upon America. So his legacy wasn&rsquo;t his military service or his attempts to normalize trade relations with Vietnam; instead it&rsquo;s what he did to America by throwing Palin at us. He&rsquo;ll have to live with that for the rest of his life and sadly so will we.<br /><br /><strong>Who are your favorite stand up comics?</strong><br />I have a lot of young/contemporary people who I love right now. <a href="http://hannibalhannibal.tumblr.com/">Hannibal Buress</a> is one of my favorites. <a href="http://www.harikondabolu.com/">Hari Kondabolu</a>.<br /><br /><strong>You&rsquo;re <a href="../../blog/claire-zulkey/2012-03-23/sara-benincasa-interview-97567">the second person in a row I&rsquo;ve interviewed who has mentioned him.</a></strong><br />Yeah, he&rsquo;s great. Who else is rocking my sockage right now? <a href="http://comedians.jokes.com/morgan-murphy">Morgan Murphy</a> is ridiculous. She&rsquo;s so absurd but she&rsquo;s very very funny. I&rsquo;m a big fan and there&rsquo;s have you seen <a href="http://mrnapkins.com/">MC Mr. Napkins, aka Zach Sherwin</a>. Funny dude. I had him on my &ldquo;How to be Black&rdquo; show in L.A. He&rsquo;s very not black. He does have a Jew fro and that qualified him. He&rsquo;s also a great MC. This dude can rap for real. These are the people who when they get super famous it will be because of this interview. You&rsquo;re welcome, Earth.<br /><br /><strong>Do you believe in tolerance on a sliding scale based on age or location? When <em>The Help </em>came out there was a &nbsp;lot of discussion about the way it was patronizing. But I was thinking, you should probably expect an educated audience to recognize that problem, but what if there was some 85 year old formerly racist white lady in Mississippi who saw the movie and it changed her perspective? Is the issue of racism a little milder in that case? Will you cut people slack depending on where they&rsquo;re from?</strong><br />Yeah. That sounds reasonable. I didn&rsquo;t actually see <em>The Help</em> so now let me weigh in on it. It&rsquo;s terrible! (laughs). Yeah, that feels like the right way to think and talk about it. People see things differently based on where and when they&rsquo;re from. I find no fault with your logic. I don&rsquo;t have a whole lot to add to it. You could even say &ldquo;he said yes.&rdquo; That&rsquo;s a beautiful question.<br /><br /><strong>I spend too much time online and people were getting really riled up about that. I was just thinking someone&rsquo;s grandma might have seen that movie and maybe come out a little more enlightened even though the movie wasn&rsquo;t perhaps as enlightened as it should be.</strong><br />I don&rsquo;t know about that specific movie, but I think the way stories are told is due for some change. I&rsquo;m trying to think of another example... <em><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kony_2012">Kony </a></em>was another example. Very good intentions. I actually saw the screening right before they uploaded it. I happened to be at this private screening in L.A., didn&rsquo;t know anything about it. I was crying; it&rsquo;s a really emotionally manipulative video, well done. I ended up posting a link to it on my Facebook and then all this criticism started pouring in and I was like, &ldquo;Whoa,what&rsquo;s going on here?&rdquo; The most meaningful and substantive criticism was, it wasn&rsquo;t just an act of oversimplification. Simplification is part of making a movie, right? You can&rsquo;t actually tell, in real time, the story of millions of people and all their value.</p><p>That&rsquo;s why we have stories; they&rsquo;re shortcuts to the truth. It was the idea that the real offense and crime was that the actual people in Uganda are not happy with this and they&rsquo;re the ones ostensibly in whose name this is being done. The absence of their voices in this--it&rsquo;s not that hard--we live in an age of near instant global communication so you could have sent an email or a text or just dropped in, you know, by the way, what do you guys think? So the presumption to speak on behalf of others in an age when people can increasingly speak for themselves, that is an interesting problem. We have created a world for so long where we design a media system that requires folks to have spokespeople. Oh, we&rsquo;re going to have Edward R. Murrow tell us everything that&rsquo;s important in an hour. That world is over. Now people can tell their own stories. It still requires synthesis and analysis, cause it&rsquo;s a lot of noise.</p><p>For me that&rsquo;s the most interesting part of something like <em>The Help</em> or like <em>Kony.</em> Cause it&rsquo;s like, that&rsquo;s cool, Americans you feel good, but the people who actually live through it, they can talk now. Can we create a system and build a platform to amplify those voices or at least integrate them better? I don&rsquo;t think we should do away completely with these other perspectives. I think it&rsquo;s very powerful when a white person says we gotta help Africa because obviously an African is going to say it. So. I have some thoughts. There they are.<br /><br /><strong>You&rsquo;re very busy. Do you have time to read books right now?</strong><br />I love books, I&rsquo;m very pro-book. I&rsquo;ve got a book myself. I&rsquo;d be kind of a hypocrite if I was like No, I do not read books! I do a lot of audio books through Audible. I&rsquo;ve had a membership since 2000 and I grew up listening to books on tape, so that&rsquo;s a big part of my life. I just finished <em>The Hunger Games</em> book two and <em>Game of Thrones</em> book two. I&rsquo;d like to do a mashup: <em>Hunger Game of Thrones</em> where winter is always coming and children fight to the death. I&rsquo;ve just read an advance copy of a book that&rsquo;s coming out in July which I can&rsquo;t recommend enough. It&rsquo;s called <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Some-Best-Friends-Are-Black/dp/067002371X/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1334331901&amp;sr=1-3">Some of My Best Friends are Black </a></em>and it&rsquo;s by this dude,Tanner Colby. It&rsquo;s about the limited success of social integration in the U.S. And I read my friend&rsquo;s books. Sara Benincasa, her book is fabulous, I cried, I laughed, it was better than a Broadway show.<br /><br /><strong>So <a href="http://www.theatlanticwire.com/business/2012/03/onions-bumpy-ride-chicago/50149/">you are not moving to Chicago?</a></strong><br />Like I said, &nbsp;I like to pee on things in New York. I like to maintain my relationship with my disgusting city.<br /><br /><strong>But you&rsquo;ll still be doing your digital work with <em>The Onion</em>.</strong><br />So far as I know. <em>The Onion&rsquo;s</em> future is an evolving and beautiful thing. That is my plan right now.<br /><br /><strong>How does it feel to be the 309th person interviewed for Zulkey.com?</strong><br />What&rsquo;s the name of the website again?</p></p> Fri, 13 Apr 2012 10:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-04/baratunde-thurston-interview-98206 Can Chicago create a sustainable professional comedy industry to rival the coasts? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-04/can-chicago-create-sustainable-professional-comedy-industry-rival-coasts-97970 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/the%20onion.jpg" style="width: 623px; height: 541px;" title=""></div><p>Considering the hubbub over <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-26/should-they-stay-or-go-illinois-offers-advantages-business-coasts-don%E2%80%99t-"><em>The Onion</em>’s impending move to Chicago</a>, you would have thought that it was the <em>New York Times</em> announcing it wouldn’t be publishing in New York anymore.<br><br>After the original buzz died down over the news that the free satrical weekly (which was conceived in Madison, Wisc., incidentally) would join forces with <em>The A.V. Club</em> in the Midwest, it seemed that things were calm. Chicago was pleased -- comics in Chicago were pleased, at least -- and well, those New Yorkers would just have to deal.<br><br>But the pot was stirred again with <a href="http://www.theatlanticwire.com/business/2012/03/onions-bumpy-ride-chicago/50149/">this <em>Atlantic Wire</em> story</a> that broke at the end of March, which reported ill-will amongst the staffers, enough that many of them said they weren't moving anywhere (and used the move to spark some creative editorial protesting).<br><br>Chicago comedians and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/26/five-reasons-the-onions-n_n_1380867.html">writers </a>were both insulted and inspired over this quote from an unnamed staffer: "Nothing against Chicago. I think it's a great town. But we're here in the center of everything and it's still a challenge to find good people,” he or she told the <em>Atlantic</em>. In response, 24-year-old Chicagoan Josh Nalven said, “One man’s trash is my 401k and full dental” when <a href="http://chicagoist.com/2012/04/01/breaking_new_yorkers_are_kind.php"><em>Chicagoist</em> talked to him</a>.<br><br>But speaking with the <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-03-31/business/ct-biz-0401-onion-20120324_1_onion-joe-randazzo-staffers"><em>Chicago Tribune</em> last week</a>, editor-in-chief and general manager of<em> The Onion </em>Scott Dikkers&nbsp;said people in Chicago comedy are "younger and hungrier" than those in New York, a quality he’s looking forward to capturing.</p><p>Others aren't so sure comedy writers can make a decent living here. The host and producer of <em>The Sound of Young America </em>(now <em>Bullseye</em>) and<em> Jordan, Jesse, Go!,</em> Jesse Thorn&nbsp;tweeted, "Losing 2/3 of creative staff + moving to a place with close to zero pro comedy writers = recipe for disaster."&nbsp;This spurred a massive thread on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/jessethorn?sk=wall">his Facebook wall</a>, where Thorn further clarified:</p><p>"Make a list of the most successful alumni of The Second City. Then, in a column next to that, write down where all those people live. The reality is that people who want to work in entertainment move to the place where the jobs are, and that is not Chicago. And replacing 2/3 of a staff with people from a theater training program who are getting their first real job is a recipe for disaster."</p><p>Whether or not the staff -- or other writers -- are happy with the move, <em>The Onion</em> consolidating in Chicago offers the city an amazing chance to become a real comedy mecca, not just a state-of-the-art training facility. They want to expand to build a production studio, and take advantage of a 30% Illinois tax credit on all video business -- even web, <a href="http://www.theonion.com/channels/ifc/">where much of their content lives</a>.</p><p>And perhaps they should take a tip from Tina Fey, who famously got her start here. When asked by a fan who’s moving to the Second City what she should expect, Fey said in a promotional video for NBC, “My advice to you about Chicago is that Chicago is a real city. Manhattan is like Epcot center; Chicago is a no. joke. city.”</p><p style="text-align: center;"><br><span><iframe frameborder="0" height="347" id="NBC Video Widget" src="http://www.nbc.com/assets/video/widget/widget.html?vid=1394795" width="512"></iframe></span></p><p>Today on <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em>, we’ll speak with <a href="http://ioimprov.com/chicago/performers/instructors">Charna Halpern</a>, co-founder of iO, and <a href="http://www.secondcity.com/about/people/executivebio/153/">Kelly Leonard</a>, Executive Vice President of The Second City, both have helped many young performers go on to fame and fortune (and many more realize that perhaps they want a more stable job). They talk about whether this is the time for Chicago to beat Los Angeles in the comedy industry game. They’re joined by Nina Metz of the <em>Chicago Tribune</em>, who has shared insight on the performance industry <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-03-13/chicago-hollywood-lake-or-great-white-way-orsomething-97240">for WBEZ in the past</a>.<br><br>And for those coming to the city for the first time, this story, courtesy of Fey, might make them have a better idea of what they’re in for.<br><br>“Let me tell you something about Chicago: I used to have a homeless man living in the foyer of my building whose nose was bitten off. Another person had bitten off his nose, and he was just continuing with his business. That’s Chicago.”</p></p> Thu, 05 Apr 2012 13:49:45 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-04/can-chicago-create-sustainable-professional-comedy-industry-rival-coasts-97970 Should they stay or go: Illinois offers advantages to business that the coasts don’t http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-26/should-they-stay-or-go-illinois-offers-advantages-business-coasts-don%E2%80%99t- <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-September/2011-09-26/2750890919_b751a58f86_b.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>A correction has been made to this story.</em></p><p><a href="http://www.theonion.com/" target="_blank"><em>The Onion</em></a> recently announced they want to move the editorial staff from New York to their corporate headquarters in Chicago. Perhaps the goal was to create one, big, happy satirical family--OK, maybe not the happy part! Some employees reportedly felt "<a href="http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/311837" target="_blank">blindsided</a>" by the potential Midwest migration. Meanwhile other business chickens headed to Chicago to roost; but some may still flee the coop. That was not surprising: Illinois was recently ranked among the worst business climates in the country—third worst to be exact. So – <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em>'s go-business guru, <a href="http://www.chicagonewscoop.org/author/david-greising/" target="_blank">David Greising</a>, helped businesses assess the question question of the moment: Should they stay or should they go?</p><p><em>Music Button: Gotan Project, "Panamericana", from the album Tango 3.0, (XL Recording)</em></p><p><em>Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated that </em>The Onion <em>is making plans to move to editorial staff from New York to Chicago. They have said it's an option they want but have not announced plans for a move.</em></p></p> Mon, 26 Sep 2011 13:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-26/should-they-stay-or-go-illinois-offers-advantages-business-coasts-don%E2%80%99t-