The Year of living strangely

By JOHN CARROLL  |  December 20, 2006

“We’re Melting . . . Melting . . . ”
The Incredible Shrinking Mainstream Media had another down(size) year, from the Wall Street Journal’s paper cut reducing it to not-so-broadsheet dimensions to the wholesale purging of local news staffs.

The Boston Globe, and especially the Boston Herald, trimmed their newsrooms significantly, while WLVI-TV and WRKO-AM entirely vaporized their news staffs. WRKO also slimmed down by shedding morning squawker John DePetro, who clearly miscalculated when he called Green Rainbow gubernatorial candidate Grace Ross a “fat lesbian.”

(Lingering question: What the hell is a Green Rainbow? Why not just call it the Oxymoron Party?)

GooTube Mania
Everybody feeling good about being Time magazine’s Person of the Year? The annual designation went to “You” for generating all that content on Internet meteors like MySpace (owned by News Corp. — how do “You” like working for Rupert Murdoch?) and YouTube (gobbled up by Google this year).

Among YouTube’s featured videos at noon on December 18 were: Sleepy Spudgy (“Spudgy falls asleep while he’s sitting up”), Hand Farting the Star Spangled Banner (self-explanatory), and Power Tool Drag Racing 4. And before “You” get on my case for missing the revolutionary impact of all this, the drag-racing video was awesome.

The Blonde Leading the Blonde
Even though we learned quite a bit about Britney Spears during her me-and-my-shadow stint with Paris Hilton, one question remains: which was the Master and which was the Grasshopper in this toothsome twosome? Or were they actually the Ant and the Grasshopper? Or just drinking grasshoppers?

Whatever. Pass the Raid, please.

Well, time’s up. And we haven’t even touched on the Fall of Larry Summers, the Rise of Sean O’Malley, the Sack of Matt Amorello, the Smack of Mel Gibson, or the Thwack of Katie Couric. As they say, wait till next year.

John Carroll is a mass communication professor at Boston University and a correspondent for WGBH-TV’s “Beat the Press” edition of Greater Boston.

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