Urban Redevelopment In Huffington

« August 2008 »

Memo to the Huffington Post: YOU ARE DUMB.

I realize it's entirely possible I'm late to the game on this. Since it began, I've largely known the Huffington Post by its reputation and ontological definition. A large group blog started by liberal spokeswoman and Zsa Zsa impersonator Arianna Huffington. Occasionally I would follow a link there, but I never actually read it myself. Until recently.

And honestly, even looking at the front page, you might not notice the true face of the Huffington Post. There's world news, politics, some Olympics news, and a regular stream of slightly left-of-center commentary. Unfortunately, the Huffington Post is also the first major new-media venture to follow in the footsteps of cable news and fulfill the 24/7 prophecy. Once you have a certain amount of space to fill, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, you will inevitably produce piles of vapid, stupid crap to fill that space and feed the imagined maw of the imagined growing readership. And once I subscribed to the HuffPost's RSS feed, I saw the horrible truth. The Huffington Post has embraced Sturgeon's Law so thoroughly they'll never get the stains out of their pantsuit.

Subscribing to the full RSS feed of the site left me with many questions, but foremost among those questions was this conundrum: where are all of these naked women coming from? I'm not saying I don't like titties. I'm just saying that when I subscribe to a feed marked "News", I expect to see news. Not an astonishing array of pointless celebrity stories illustrated with large JPEG's of naked or nearly naked boobs and ass. Did Eva Mendes show a nipple in a Calvin Klein ad? Huffington Post subscribers will see it, whether they want to or not.

I figured I could escape the nudity by cutting back to just the main news feed, but I was wrong. You see, Brooke Shields made a surprise guest appearance at two in the morning at an Upright Citizens' Brigade show about a week ago. First of all, I don't know why the FUCK this was in my news feed in the first place. I'm not saying I don't like the UCB, and I'm not even saying I don't like Brooke Shields. All I'm saying is that there oughta be some goddamned way to not read about Brooke Shields and the Russian invasion of Georgia in the same category.

And on top of that, they decide to illustrate the news story with a picture of a naked Brooke Shields straddling the inside of a picture frame. This didn't happen at the UCB show. It's some picture from earlier in the year. So here I am, trying to follow the news so that I can produce the quality hate you people expect five days a week, and instead I've gotta look at Brooke Shields' naked ass because some blogwag at the Huffpost gets hard over it and pulls it out of his wank folder to incompetently illustrate the non-story. Great.

In addition to news about Brooke Shields' night life, every single day my news feed is polluted with that day's Huffpollstrology - a mix of polling data, candidate horoscopes, and political betting lines. What. The. Fuck? I don't get to mention my hatred for astrology much in this space, because thankfully, the intersection of the world's most banal superstition and current events is limited. But here, on HuffPost, every fucking day, you'll find the star charts of John McCain and Barack Obama, along with information on polling data and methodologies.

It looks like the Post is trying to handwave it away as an attempt to illustrate the largely unscientific nature of public opinion polling as it compares with the completely unscientific nature of astrology, but you know how often you need to do that? Once a month, tops. When you're running star charts every single day, you're endorsing astrology as a means of insight into the presidential race. When you publish astrologer Philip Sedgwick peddling this complete line of bullshit, there is something wrong with you. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"As I stated in my last post, I was wrong about the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. To cherry pick conclusions and conspiracies, I was right about the popular vote. Yet neither of my picks were inaugurated. So I was wrong, right? I'm not sure about the astrological signatures for the electoral vote. I'll leave that prediction to the boys at Five-Thirty-Eight (www.fivethirtyeight.com). What I can accurately predict is a heap of election controversy ahead, following upon the heels of an impetuous, sloppy primary season and two presidential elections where we couldn't get it right.

If someone ever invents James Randi Bingo, I am bringing this guy to the game every single time. The guy racks up every excuse, ploy, and trick in the book to get around the fact that the shit he gets paid to do doesn't actually work. If he got the last two elections wrong, why am I listening to him about this election? Oh, because the SYSTEM failed. If the electoral system had been working the way it should, his predictions would have been correct. But only this time around is he predicting vague turmoil and controversy without actually settling on the provable, true/false prediction that somehow tripped him up the last two elections. Douchebag rising!

So thank you, Huffington Post, for proving that even in this brave new world of the blogosphere, it's easy to slip into laziness, padding, and steaming piles of bullshit to fill your column-inches each day. May you serve as a warning to other, more readable blogs. I don't want to see Josh Marshall naked in a picture frame either.