Deconstructing The Daily Show. A journalism group issues a detailed study on Jon Stewart's Comedy Central show. Does it amount to a bit of humorless overkill? Who can say? We report, you decide. But we found this passage particularly interesting: "...at times, The Daily Show aims at more than comedy. In its choice of topics, its use of news footage to deconstruct the manipulations by public figures and its tendency toward pointed satire over playing just for laughs, The Daily Show performs a function that is close to journalistic in nature—getting people to think critically about the public square. In that sense, it is a variation of the tradition of Russell Baker, Art Hoppe, Art Buchwald, H.L. Mencken and other satirists who once graced the pages of American newspapers."The Top 'Ugh' Story of the Week. This needs no comment.The Editing Wars. A veteran Middle East correspondent takes an interesting look at how the never-ending Israeli-Palestinian conflict has now moved to Wikipedia.
Geeks Stalking Airports. This one was just plain interesting. And it's doubly nice that it's from a source--Popular Mechanics, of all places--that we wouldn't normally read. But we were pleasantly surprised at how good the pub is. A reminder that good work can often be found in the most surprising places. Last year, for instance, we noted some superior writing in the fashion magazine Elle.
ESPN on the Browns' Quarterback Controversy. The sports bible takes a peek at the continuing question of who will emerge from the spirited competition over the starting quarterback's job. This is a nice problem to have.
Finally, I hope you can find some time this weekend to luxuriate in this luminous gem of a story in the wonderful Smithsonian magazine by my friend and fellow John Carroll graduate Mike Thomas, a staff writer for the Chicago Sun-Times. The Bossard family of which he writes will be familiar to most Cleveland sports fans. Reading this remarkable story reminded me of a conversation I had with Mike some years ago. He was not long out of college, stuck in a non-satisfying job at a manufacturing company in Cleveland, and dreaming of making an escape to a writing life. Most people, alas, never seriously follow up on that dream. Mike did, and I shudder to think of what the world might have missed had he not gone for the brass ring. I shudder even more at what it might have meant for Mike. After all, as we noted recently, there's a big price to pay for deferring dreams. May all of yours come true this weekend, gentle readers.