Sunday, January 22, 2006

Fertilizer

I honestly just don't get the Reader sometimes. This week's cover story is about a great topic -- EarthBoxes, these plastic tubs that help you grow plants on sites with limited water or poor soil. But however ingenious the devices may be, do they really warrant a story that's essentially a retyped press release? Martha Bayne spends the entire article explaining how great these are, how many people like them, and how they're going to save the world. She outlines who's behind the "project" to encourage their use. (There's always a "project," isn't there? Lord only knows why it takes a whole "project" to grow plants in forest-green Igloo coolers. Bayne certainly doesn't tell us.)

She never exhibits even the most basic level of journalistic skepticism. Even the box makers' aim "to end world hunger, stimulate economic self-sufficiency, and foster cross-cultural understanding by marrying EarthBox horticulture and wireless communications technology" is presented as a perfectly reasonable and attainable goal.

Bayne obviously didn't interview anyone other than the people behind the "project." And as usual, the editors failed to call her on it. This thing is going to save the Earth, why should it have to inspire an interesting story, too?

This is an especial bummer if you've seen Bayne's other work. Her Reader and Baffler stories on Charlie Trotter's were terrific exposés of how Trotter's weird ideology governs even the smallest details of his operation. If only Bayne would do a similar exposé of the Reader itself. I bet that place's organizational ethos makes even Trotter's look sane.

34 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are CORRECT SIR! There is no upper level turn over at the Reader. That's because the fat stupid old hipppes can't get out of their rocking chairs! If they were to go out into the real world and compete, they would fall right on their bloated pasty white feces.... I mean faces... What's the difference? Sure you make fun of the Rosenbaums and the Miners, but the real problem is the shit-heads in charge of the joint...

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reader is the greatest Newspaper in the world. The Daley boys like to whack willy to Savage.

5:16 PM  
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9:44 PM  
Blogger halfseoul said...

I neither hate or love the Reader, but their movie review section is pure shit. I can't ever tell whether they're dissing or giving props in any single ONE review because they're so contradictory.

12:55 AM  
Anonymous jon seaver said...

Found your blog while surfing, and wish you would update it: the Reader still sucks. You are wrong about upper level turn over, anonymous. I remember reading about them losing their best editor four or five years ago, which is why the paper took a nosedive in quality. I used to like it, but now I never pick it up. I don't know anybody who still reads it. It is unreadable!

2:16 PM  
Anonymous jimmy said...

i don't understand: you thought that was a "great topic"? you must suck too.

10:15 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

when I first chanced upon this url in somebody's referrer logs, which I got to via my own referrer logs, I furrowed my brow:

"Chica Gore reader sucks?"

Gore is a bit old to be called such, but he is surely a chico. But I get it now.

8:35 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

On the other hand, Chica Gore Ader Sucks makes perfect sense. That's just what can happen momentairily when you look at an unfamiliar URL for a moment; your mind supplied the missing re. That's why they use it in e-mail so much...

8:39 PM  
Blogger ray mariotti said...

the reader needs to do more articles about brain dead hipsters and their horrible band/art work.

that would be soooo cool.

3:58 PM  
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

AMEN! Love your site.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that I was very pleased to stumble across your site. After googling "I hate the chicago reader" I was happy to find that others share my sentiments. I think the reader's restaurant reviews did it for me. There is no rhyme or reason as to how they choose to give them the beloved "backward Rs". If the hipsters would just get over themselves and give some of these places a chance then they would be pleasantly surprised sometimes.

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