Mom reviews Gawker, finds it wanting

Not my mother, of course — a freelance writer who was approached about a writing job at the flagship blog in Nick Denton’s sarcastic and bitchy media empire. He mentioned it to his mother, who summed up the site far better than I’ve seen anyone else do, despite plenty of effort:

“Well, I had more time to investigate this [name redacted].com. It seems to be a melange of stupid news that no sane person would peruse. Having said that, I can see it may be popular. Most of the comments I read were by people thinking they are too smart by half. So I presume their audience is 19-29 persons who think highly of themselves. You are probably perfect to write for this crowd.”

Brilliant. You gotta love that last line too 🙂 Found (where else) at Gawker, where it was posted by none other than the Dark Lord himself.

Video interlude: Tom Cruise parody

Just came across this, thanks to a Twitter post from Jason Calacanis: it’s a hilarious parody of the Tom Cruise video from a week or two ago, the one in which he was selling Scientology as the cure for all of mankind’s ills — the video that Scientology has been trying to get Gawker (among others) to remove, which I wrote about here. Actor Jerry O’Connell does a pretty good job of channeling Cruise, complete with slicked-back hair and a black turtleneck. The hand movements are right on, and the maniacal laughter is probably the best part. Be sure to check out the out-takes as well.

Last time I checked, the video -had been viewed about 1.7 million times. Not bad, considering it’s only been up there for a week.

Walt wants me to stop blogging

No, not Walt Mossberg. He’s still a big fan 🙂 I mean Walt White, the former unassuming high-school chemistry teacher turned drug-dealing outlaw, who made this video for me. He didn’t make it out of concern for my welfare, mind you — he made it after my friend Leigh Himel typed in some info about me into a form at this website.

Walt’s Wisdom happens to be a “viral” promo for a show called Breaking Bad, in which Walt — played by actor Bryan Cranston from Malcolm in the Middle — finds out he only has months to live and decides to use his chemistry knowledge to set up a meth lab in his RV. Even though I know it’s just an ad for a show, it’s pretty funny.

News satire is harder than it looks

Virtually everyone thinks they’re funny — and the ones who think they’re the funniest are the ones who aren’t funny at all. Into that latter category, I would have to put the new “media satire” site 23/6 (which is apparently a play on the term 24/7 — but like the site itself, the name isn’t funny either). As Chris Albrecht points out at NewTeeVee, the unfunnyness of the site is more than a little sad, considering that News Corp. and HuffingtonPost have apparently been working on this thing for more than a year now.

For some reason, everyone thinks that satire — particularly political or news-driven satire — is really easy to do. After all, that guy Jon Stewart just sits there and reads the headlines and makes faces, and people think it’s hilarious, right? And The Onion gets away with murder too, just by writing takeoffs of popular news stories. How hard could that be?

Well, guess what. It’s really hard. It’s not that hard to do — it’s just really hard to do it well. After all, even The Onion misses from time to time. Maybe 23/6 can get into the swing eventually, but you have to wonder why they even bothered. It’s not like the political or news-driven satire game doesn’t already have a bunch of players. Portfolio’s media blogger doesn’t think much of it either.