The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

Posts Tagged ‘free speech’

Two Posts For The Price Of One

Posted by BigWords on May 14, 2010

12 Fun Things To Do With The New Yorker

There is a bit of a PR nightmare going on at the moment, because the venereal – sorry – venerable – magazine has been taking things people have said on Twitter (of all places) out of context. Ira Silverberg had already mismanaged the appearance of the list which was to appear, with a preemptive plea for people to not throw buckets of shit over the magazine. Riiight. When people are specifically told NOT to do something, the urge to go ahead and do it anyways can be overwhelming. I can’t say that this post will come as a surprise to anyone even half-aware of the things I normally feel inclined to do.

This post, I hope, won’t need to be taken out of context. So… Yeah.

  • Pretend to read it. Don’t actually go ahead and read the magazine, because that would be ridiculous.
  • Re-enact a scene from Edward Scissorhands by madly cutting it to shreds, a pair of scissors in each hand.
  • Make a paper boat. Then throw rocks at it, pretending that it’s an enemy vessel, so it will sink.
  • Create a bunch of origami dinosaurs, and imagine they have just eaten the editors of The New Yorker.
  • Make paper airplanes and throw them at people who get too close. Hitting someone in the eye is worth 5 points.
  • Fashion Papier-mâché gifts for everyone you dislike, making sure that The New Yorker header is clearly visible…
  • …or swap out newspapers for The New Yorker in the ingredients list, and build your very own Tracy Island play set.
  • Scrunch up the pages into little balls and call it modern art. No, really… It is something idiots investors will buy.
  • Cut two holes in it to see through and spy on someone. Someone hot. Go on, I know you already have a victim in mind for this…
  • Place your copy in a dentist’s waiting room, then wait… The look on the person’s face who finds it will be priceless.
  • Shred the magazine and use the strips of paper as bedding for a hamster you’ve taken a disliking to.
  • Craft a paper crown and rule over your co–workers. Much fun to be had.

The Problem With Magazine Lists

Whenever a magazine publishes a list – and I’m not specifically making reference to The New Yorker here – there is a tendency to call the compiler out on mistakes, omissions, contradictions, and general irritation at their favorite thing being ignored. Well, yeah. Sure. The fact that a limited space is available to the publication is irrelevant, because there is no reason for most of the usual problems to occur. And you don’t have to look far for the reason. Numbering, whilst a handy shorthand for the importance of a work in comparison to surrounding works, is a scourge for any magazine to overcome. The recent list of best computer games in PC Gamer, for instance, has various genres side by side in its’ listing. Is an FPS equivalent to an RPG? An RTS to an MMO? No, they are not. And by numbering regardless of content, especially in an area where geeks will get up in arms, we find the shitstorms thundering overhead.

Ugh. The problem gets worse. SFX has a three-part list of authors who molded SF literature. Can you see the problem here? It’s pretty easy to work out that an omission may be corrected in  future piece of the list, but by splitting it over three issues it has the potential to cause unnecessary problems. Only by compiling the complete list in one edition can the hardcore fans be kept from jumping the gun and calling out names which have been “ignored.” I’m not entirely happy that the breaking of the list into three parts forces continued purchase, but that’s something else. It’s still got a bunch of numbers in there, ranking one person above another. Bad, bad idea. Bullet points are much better for lists, and choosing either chronological or alphabetical listing removes any hint of favoritism.

Look up to the first half of this post. Bullet points. See? And the list of AW blogs to the right of the screen is alphabetical. No favoritism. I’m not saying that numbered lists don’t have their place – when regarding box-office takings, films should always be presented in numbered lists, and there is good cause for parts of a book series to be numbered. The opinions, placements and comparisons on any list (the ones found on this blog especially) are questionable. People should feel free to call out bullshit decisions wherever they see them, and the ignorant cloudcuckoolander pleas of others should be of less than no concern.

Mr. Silverberg, be ashamed of yourself.

People have a right to express opinion, and asking for silent obedience is worse than mishandling the creation of any number of lists imaginable. We are not cattle. We will not be treated like cattle. If something needs to be said I, regardless of public opinion, will stand fore and call out a list based on whatever deficiencies it may or may not have.

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