Up-to-the-minute reportage on the offerings of the lowest common denominator

Some readers may recall my apoplectic reaction to The New Yorker’s hiring of Caitlin “marital rape? what’s that?” Flanagan.*

The magazine redeemed itself somewhat last year by allowing Seymour Hersh to practice actual investigative journalism (an increasingly dead art in these parts) and making a good hiring decision.

But it recently added insult to injury by featuring a lengthy article on CollegeHumor.com, an online destination as vital to the thinking person’s cultural diet as a tit mag with fart jokes.

In a somewhat garbled article for the weekend’s Globe & Mail, Leah McLaren examines CollegeHumor.com’s financial success and reports on the site’s typical content:

Who knew that downloadable photos of girls flashing their breasts at Mardi Gras and pictures of overstocked dorm room beer fridges was such big business? While the site has some pretensions toward being an on-line magazine, it is far from erudite. Last time I checked, the lead story was a column on the psychology of hot chicks written by a recent graduate who had relocated to Los Angeles. “In Kansas, if a girl is hot, she might not know it. She might be shelving oven mitts at Wal-Mart and just coincidentally be hot. The point is that hot women, especially hot L.A. women, know it.” And so on.

The New Yorker‘s Rebecca Mead probably wouldn’t object to McLaren’s withering characterization. After all, she herself equates the offerings on CollegeHumor.com to David Letterman’s Stupid Pet Tricks, and concludes, “CollegeHumor.com doesn’t just cater to the lowest common denominator; it’s cooked and served by the lowest common denominator, too.”

Good thing 3,500 words were devoted to it, then.

The contagion has spread beyond The New Yorker and The Atlantic to our local NPR affiliate. WNYC now allows Flanagan to regale its listeners, in an oft-replayed sound byte, with a defense of Wal-Mart’s employee compensation policies. You see, the “liberals” at the cocktail parties Flanagan frequents all hire nannies to take care of their kids, and fail to pay into social security on the nannies’ behalf. Who knew that the hypocrisy of these nanny-hirers justified Wal-Mart’s abysmal pay scale?

For more information about the horror to which, if their alarms go off at the wrong moment, New York City residents can awake, please consult Twinkle Twinkle Blah Blah Blah Etc.


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