Tuesday, January 31, 2006

From The Mouths of Babes

My colleague Wyatt Olson has been adamant for months that the King Tut exhibit is basically a sham. His argument: They’re making it sound like you get to see King Tut, but the boy wonder is, in fact, nowhere to be found. And the Sun-Sentinel and Herald haven't gone out of their way to make that clear. Instead, they've hyped the thing to death with more than 150 stories during the past six months. For a time there was a huge billboard on Broward Boulevard (it might still be there for all I know) that said, King Tut Is Here. This when the King was never even in the building.

Well, a while back, my ten-year-old son told me that a friend of his had gone to the exhibit and that he’d heard it was a rip-off. King Tut wasn’t there! Yesterday, the little guy finally went to the Tut exhibit on his own during a field trip. This is his description of the event in his own words, unsolicited by me:

“The artifacts aren’t even real, they’re models. It’s stupid. And you’re walking around for three hours. And the people that didn’t go on the field trip went to P.E. and got to play games. It was horrible. They don’t show the real King Tut. They don’t even show you pictures. It was weird. You just walk around listening on headphones looking at a chair and a flute. And it was 21 dollars to go there. It was not fun. We never have good field trips. Last time we went to Cinderella. It was horrible, too.”

Why can't we get that kind of honesty out of our newspapers?

License To Ill
Here's unofficial Pulp correspondent and fellow New Times scribe Sam Eifling’s take on the license plate story that was the centerpiece in yesterday’s Sentinel. His basic take was that story began with a prudish tone. Here's the beginning of the story:

"Some Floridians have a naughty streak, and they want the world -- or at least everyone driving behind them -- to see how clever they are.
They try to curse in code or express their hate for rival colleges or sports teams in just a few letters. They might try to boast about their anatomy or hurl insults.
But five people meet once a month in Tallahassee to stop those with their minds in the gutter from taking to the roads with a nasty nickname or a rude message on their personalized license plates. ..."

Here's Sam's new and improved lede:

"Some Floridians have some damn fun once in a while, even on that most staid of billboards, the license plate. But five people meet monthly to put the Fun Police kibosh on jest, wordsmithing and celebrations of natural human pleasures such as drug use, sex and heckling the Florida State Seminoles."

The Braunstein Factor
Well, actress Natasha Lyonne (of American Pie and The Slums of Beverly Hills) just can’t seem to make it to court in New York. I can’t imagine why she wouldn’t want to face the music. I mean all she did was threaten to sexually molest her neighbor’s dog. But her legal problems began in Miami a few years back, when she drunkenly ran her rented Dodge off the road. What’s gone wrong with this girl, what has prompted her to, as the New York Daily News put it so artfully, go "from a Hollywood golden girl to a volatile slob"? Well, a clue might come from her real last name. Braunstein. Could Natasha be related to the accused Halloween-Firefighter-Rapist, Peter Braunstein? Both showed great promise, Braunstein as a journalist and Lyonne as an actress, before they shot off the track. Have a look at those mugshots. There's definitely a resemblance. Isn't there? Doesn't this merit an investigation? Are there evil genes at work here? No? Gawker?

And now: The Story of the Day.
Not a great day for either the Sentinel or the Herald or the Post, so we'll have to go with the most interesting and sensational tale, that of the pawned-off three-week-old baby. (The Pulp is partial to crime stories). It's an outrageous scenario and I have to think the mother should be charged, too. She gave her baby, that beautiful little boy there in the picture, to an obviously unstable woman with a criminal history.

So which one of the three newspapers will win the coveted honor? The winner is ... Jennifer Lebovich of the Herald. Her story seemed the most cogent and complete. The Sentinel was disqualified for somehow missing that Stacy Counes, the 19-year-old woman who received the baby from the mother and then gave him away at a damn bus stop, had multiple battery charges in her past. I suspect the Sentinel held the info because it was on a juvenile record, which would make it another instance where touchy-feely editors deprive the readers of important information out of misplaced magnanimity.


Anonymous sam eifling said...

The Sun-Sentinel held its nose as it described some of the example license plates as "unprintable." New Times' news column, Tailpipe, had no problem offering some of the best suggestions when it published on the same topic in May of last year:

"This year, as always, a crop of plates has been deemed 'objectionable' by the state's five-member personalized license plate review board. So far, the board has nixed 1HUNG LO, WHT TRSH, SCHTUP, JSTAPRK, RUWETT, 6LUV9, PMPN8EZ, U-WANKER, KUNK, PUSSZI, and hundreds of other would-be tags.

'People are ingenious,' says Frank Penela, a spokesman for the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. 'We get such a laugh out of the explanations. We get things like, "This is my nickname." Your nickname is "BIG SLUT"?'"

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