Couch potato journalism

So The Gazette has been running this Made For TV series since Saturday, with five of their writers describing what they watched on TV for a week.

We’ll set aside the inherent valuelessness of such fluff journotainment. What really sucks about Made For TV is the writing. Today, for example, they have this unknown freelance hack talk about watching Family Guy and the Discovery channel while surfing the net on his laptop. I’m sure this guy thinks he’s very funny. A look at his TV-watching diary shows he has plenty of free time being a couch-potato loser to cultivate that wit, watching Star Trek reruns until 3 a.m.

I for one have never heard of this guy before, though he seems to think he’s hot stuff talking about himself on his blog. What do I care what he’s watching on TV? Should I be pitying him? It’s just so sad.

But man is he really hot.

But seriously folks (try the veal, I’ll be here all … forever), this was an interesting experience. It wasn’t a lot of work or anything, since I didn’t have to interview anyone or even leave the apartment. But I did have to measure how long it is between the kitchen stove and my TV set (15 metres).

Big photo

As we speak my mother and grandmother are evaluating whether the expression I have in my photo makes me look like a dufus (which would certainly not be a difficult feat for me). There’s one in the paper (Page A4) and another online of me holding a TV on my lap (photographer John Kenney’s idea, of course, though I do sometimes hug my 13-inch set).

Some geniuses out there will observe that neither photo features my laptop, which is on my desk out of frame. I only realized afterward it would have been a better idea to hold it as I normally do on my couch. But then again, normally my socks are all over the unvacuumed carpet, my face is unwashed, I don’t wear the nice shoes and I’m lying down awkwardly on the futon in my shorts with a blanket around me. And that doesn’t make for a very grandmother-friendly my-grandson-is-a-professional photo.

It’s the second time my photo has appeared in the paper (the first was a high school graduation photo my parents put in a congrats-you-graduated-college ad). So I fully expect my former high school classmates to evaluate how I’ve turned out. (It’s also the first time my name has appeared on Page A1.)

Do you know what “flick” means?

One of the few questions I was asked about my story (I expected more since there wasn’t much original direction on what the story should read like) was over my use of the word “flick” to indicate changing channels constantly. It seems my editor was more accustomed to the word “click” and my vernacular caused her to scratch her head a bit while reading. Maybe it’s a family thing. I got the word from my mother. A quick search of Wiktionary doesn’t give “changing channels” as a definition of “flick“. So I acquiesced and “flick” became “click”.

Don’t forget about Tom

I should add a shout-out to fellow freelancer Tom Peacock, who’s been the unsung hero of this series writing some smaller articles to go alongside the ego-stroking main stories. He’s been talking to regular people about using PVRs, watching TVs in sports bars, watching TV shows (semi-legally) on iPods and how retailers are selling nothing but HD TVs now. I did a similar thing (but with video) during the similar Shop Cook Eat Drink series on food habits back in February.

“Local blogger”

In his blog post shamelessly promoting the series, the very funny Basem Boshra refers to me as a “blogger”. A few of the announcements of the series also used the word. It’s not bad, but I just find it funny because I’ve never sold myself to the Gazette that way. Instead, they all just know I have a blog (and many of them read it regularly — hi guys!) and that blogging has emerged as a part of my identity. Since February it has developed dozens of regular feed subscribers and hundreds of daily visitors (not all of which are search engine indexing bots).

It’s just kind of funny the way that happened.

I think I’ll go walk downtown now and see if anyone recognizes me ;)

5 thoughts on “Couch potato journalism

  1. Mama Fagstein

    I lked the story and yes your grandmother and argued about your picture. Hope somebody recognized you on the street. Paper is going on the ego wall.

  2. GoldfishNamedFluffy

    (Hi Mama Fagstein! nice name!!) the article is going in my box of fagstein memorabilia/paraphernalia for future auctioning off on ebay when you get famous. hope we don’t get mobbed the next time we appear in public together.


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