Daniel Okrent is just a mighty, mighty force for good these days as ombuddy at the NY Times (and that’s coming from someone still grieving her fanatasy-league team — the man invented Rotisserie, you understand). He’s got a gorgeous essay in the Times today talking about attributions and how reporters are encouraged these days to quote — but not identify — “experts” in their work, whilst not giving (overtly anyway) their own opinions. It’s a grand piece of writing and closes with a passage that’s worth committing to memory:

“One reason I read a paper with ambitions like The Times’s is because I want the expertise of its writers to lead me through complex matters. The contrary argument holds that, absent attribution, the writer is only providing an opinion, but attribution to unnamed experts is no attribution at all. When a writer offers an interpretation in his own voice, he’s putting his own reputation behind it. Writers (and newspapers) who are often wrong may soon lose their reputations. But writers (and newspapers) too timid or too disingenuous to assert what they know to be true may not deserve those reputations in the first place.”

(As ever, thanks RS for the good eyes — one attribution I never hesitate to make!)


SNL tonight — anyone else notice that Bud Light suddenly isn’t sponsoring the musical segment? Is that objection to Ashlee’s little oops, do you think, or to Eminem being the artist? And speaking of Eminem (who, BTW, made it very clear that he too was running a backing track tonight), “Mosh” fucking slams, even without the video. That took me a second to notice.

Shout to Rob for the good eyes, and apologies to Canada for everything: Check the lake labeling on this MapQuest page. (Assuming they don’t update it first; Rob is a good Netizen and sent word to the company that they’re literally… misguided.) (UPDATE: Updated. Damn, that was quick; gotta love night owls.)

Two things:

– Holy fsck, John Peel. That’s so wrong.

– Reading The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, which really is quite enjoyable (because God knows I don’t get enough reading in lately), and found the following passage curiously resonant: “It was time to take the pumpkin out of the pot and eat it. In the final analysis, that was what solved these big problems of life. You could think and think and get nowhere, but you still had to eat your pumpkin. That brought you down to earth. That gave you a reason for going on. Pumpkin.”

Just finished with tax stuff (yeah, it’s October, whatever), and you know what? I hate DC because there are no decent restaurants and you have to take wildly overpriced cabs everywhere. I realize that’s no revelation to regular readers — hell, I realize I’ve been screaming about it since I got here — but looking at my receipts before and after 10 May, you’d think I took the fucking veil. Beyond depressing.

Best piece of in-passing chatter overheard since I moved to DC: “…my grandma was drunk and IMing me…” Whatever else the week holds (and it doesn’t look promising), I’ve got that.