Anthony Burgess, author of Clockwork Orange, resident in 1973 in Rome, was overdue in supplying “a thinkpiece” commissioned by Rolling Stone, and wrote his editor (Hunter S. Thompson) offering to submit a 50,000-word novella he’d just finished on the condition humaine instead. Thompson replied thusly:
Sippi has updated the Dickens classis.
Cocker was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the barman, the A&R weasel, Google analytics, and the chief mourner. Rolling Stone signed it: and Rolling Stone’s name was as good as a contract with Alan B. Klein, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Cocker was as dead as a door-nail.
Read the whole thing.
Hat tip to Vanderleun.
Popular among handgun-owners, pistols are defined by their built-in barrel and short stock. They are the most commonly recovered firearm type reported by the ATF. With more than 119,000 pistols found at crime scenes in 2012, this handgun model holds an unfortunately solid first place in criminal weaponry.
One of the most popular pistols is the Glock, a short-recoil operated, semi-automatic pistol produced by Glock Ges.m.b.H. in Deutsch-Wagram, Austria. Glocks comprise 65 percent of the market share of handguns for United States law enforcement agencies and are also frequently used by international law-enforcement.”
Rolling Stones’ The 5 Most Dangerous Guns in America photoessay lists “Pistols, Revolvers, Rifles, Shotguns, and Derringers” as the five firearms “causing the most harm.” Rolling Stone journalists don’t seem to understand that Derringers and Revolvers are pistols, and they provoked a sardonic smile on my part by using a photo (above) of a Phoenix HP-22 to illustrate the pistol tirade which talks all about Glocks. I guess they don’t actually know what a Glock is either.
Good thing inanimate objects do not sue, or all those guns would be in a position to win a libel case based on being blamed for causing harm. I feel perfectly sure that not a single gun ever caused any harm absent human intervention.
Rolling Stone set a kind of new record for ignorant vapidity, and that accomplishment did not go unnoticed and unmocked. There was by last night already a Twitchy page featuring parodies.
Conspiracy Theories, Journalism, Mercedes Benz, Michael Hastings, Obituaries, Rolling Stone, Stanley McChrystal
Jack Baruth, at The Truth About Cars, seemed just as broken-hearted as I am, but is just a trifle more tastefully discreet at concealing his feelings.
The writing-about-writing crowd is abuzz with discussion about the rather unusual death of Buzzfeed/RollingStone/Gawker writer Michael Hastings. Mr. Hastings, whose name is never mentioned in the press without the immediate mention that he was â€œthe fearless journalist whose reporting brought down the career of General Stanley McChrystalâ€, died in a single-car accident in Los Angeles yesterday morning. This in and of itself is not unusual, but the circumstances of the crash and its aftermath wonâ€™t do anything to quiet the conspiracy theorists who are already claiming that the military-industrial complex found a way to cap the guy. …
Mercedes-Benz USA is no doubt sweating bullets over this one. An eyewitness report says that Mr. Hastings was driving at an excessive rate of speed down a suburban street when his car â€œsuddenly jackknifedâ€ and hit a tree â€œwith the force of a bombâ€. The Benzo, which by the wheels and quarter-panel appears to be the relatively prosaic but cheerfully stylish C250 four-cylinder turbo coupe, proceeded to throw its powertrain out of the engine bay, immediately catch fire in a manner typically reserved for episodes of â€œMiami Viceâ€, and burn its driver until said driver was charred beyond recognition. …
Mr. Hastingsâ€™ aggressively Democrat-friendly storytelling has the Internet already considering the idea that his death was engineered somehow. I canâ€™t say itâ€™s totally unlikely. As noted above, the reported (and videotaped) behavior of the C250 was not in line with what weâ€™d expect. On the other hand, surely itâ€™s expected that a respected, mature writer on non-automotive topics wonâ€™t be barreling through a suburb so fast that any tree he hits will cause his car to burst into flames, right? Weâ€™ll keep an eye on this to see what, if anything, develops.
Michael Yon adds:
Michael Hastings was killed in a car crash in Los Angeles. The single car accident happened at about 0425. He crashed into a tree and was burned beyond recognition. He was 33.
Mr. Hastings was the war correspondent whose Rolling Stone article led to the firing of General Stanley McChrystal, who at the time was the top General in Afghanistan.
Although Hastings was widely read, no serious war correspondents took him seriously, or at least not the ones I know. … Hastings was like an undisciplined hitman with a pen and license to kill. One of his gonzo articles damaged the career and reputation of Lieutenant General Bill Caldwell, for no cause. My sense was that he picked fights with key people mostly to draw attention. Though Hastings was not respected among war correspondents, it is sad to see a man die so young so horribly. Just why he crashed into a tree at 0425 remains unknown. No doubt the conspiracies will begin to fly.
New Joke: What do you call a metrosexual Rolling Stone attack dog journalist’s explosive collision with an LA palm tree? A good start.
Elephant magazine admires Rolling Stone’s gilding of the lily in the case of this photograph of Katy Perry. Note the improvement to her bosom and her right hand. Who knew that it was necessary for slick magazines to correct pretty girl’s finger positions?
Hat tip to Don Surber.
Rep. Michele Bachmann
Abe Sauer, blogging at The Awl, contends that Rolling Stone’s recent hit-piece on Michele Bachmann by Matt Taibbi represents a classic example of leftie journalism taking deliberate aim at an opponent and then shooting itself in the foot.
The backlash against the lashing out against presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has already begun. Following the Palin blueprint, Bachmann plans on fully leveraging the negative publicity with her base: they see leftist attacks as a point of pride and an indication of strength. …
It’s forgivable that Rolling Stone’s take-down is at best re-reported and at worst poorly sourced. It’s less forgivable that it’s self-detonating. It’s a screed that warns America that Michele Bachmann is to be taken seriouslyâ€”right before doing exactly the opposite.
The profile is the kind of battle-axing of Bachmann that is going to do great pageviews for the magazine but ultimately play right into her hand. It gives Bachmann legitimate evidence that the fabled leftist mainstream media is attacking her. Consequently, it will make her more popular with a base that looks for which conservative leader is being most reviled in the media, and then assumes that person is their best bet. (It’s not a coincidence that Tim Pawlenty has completely avoided harsh criticism from the MSM while at the same time being unable to gain traction with Tea Party-influenced primary voters.)
Not only is the profile unnecessarily mean, it’s sloppy. …
On the same day Taibbi’s story hit the web, The Blaze called it a “seemingly slanderous” piece that “attacks Bachmann’s faith.” Elsewhere it was called an “anti-Christian hit piece.” By tomorrow, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Bachmann’s own campaign distributing photocopies of it in Iowa.
But Bremer’s greatest complaint is Rolling Stone “smearing the town of Stillwater as some whites-only, wealthy gated community that propelled Bachmann to the national scene.” And Avidor said that “the smear of Stillwater is what sticks out for me.”
“I can’t believe he ever came here,” Bremer said. Actually, he didn’t: Taibbi confirmed to me that he never set foot in Minnesota for the piece.
David Brooks writes General Stanley McChrystal’s epitaph.
Who could possibly imagine that a military commander’s staff had unkind things to say about members of the president’s staff?
Rolling Stone sold a lot of copies, reporter Michael Hastings made a big splash, and General McChrystal had his career ruined, it was all just a day’s work for the news business.
Most people in government, I find, are there because they sincerely want to do good. But theyâ€™re also exhausted and frustrated much of the time. And at these moments they canâ€™t help letting you know that things would be much better if only there werenâ€™t so many morons all around.
So every few weeks I find myself on the receiving end of little burst of off-the-record trash talk. Senators privately moan about other senators. Administration officials gripe about other administration officials. People in the White House complain about the idiots in Congress, and the idiots in Congress complain about the idiots in the White House â€” especially if theyâ€™re in the same party. Washington floats on a river of aspersion.
The system is basically set up to maximize kvetching. Government is filled with superconfident, highly competitive people who are grouped into small bands. These bands usually have one queen bee at the center â€” a president, senator, cabinet secretary or general â€” and a squad of advisers all around. These bands are perpetually jostling, elbowing and shoving each other to get control over policy.
Amid all this friction, the members of each band develop their own private language. These people often spend 16 hours a day together, and they bond by moaning and about the idiots on the outside.
It feels good to vent in this way. You demonstrate your own importance by showing your buddies that you are un-awed by the majority leader, the vice president or some other big name. You get to take a break from the formal pressures of the job by playing the blasphemous bad-boy rebel over a beer at night.
Military people are especially prone to these sorts of outbursts. In public, they pay lavish deference to civilian masters who issue orders from the comfort of home. Among themselves, they blow off steam, sometimes in the crudest possible terms. …
McChrystal, like everyone else, kvetched. And having apparently missed the last 50 years of cultural history, he did so on the record, in front of a reporter. And this reporter, being a product of the culture of exposure, made the kvetching the center of his magazine profile.
By putting the kvetching in the magazine, the reporter essentially took run-of-the-mill complaining and turned it into a direct challenge to presidential authority. He took a successful general and made it impossible for President Obama to retain him.
The reticent ethos had its flaws. But the exposure ethos, with its relentless emphasis on destroying privacy and exposing impurities, has chased good people from public life, undermined public faith in institutions and elevated the trivial over the important.
Another scalp is on the wall. Government officials will erect even higher walls between themselves and the outside world. The honest and freewheeling will continue to flee public life, and the cautious and calculating will remain.
The culture of exposure has triumphed, with results for all to see.
â€œIf I had my choice I would kill every reporter in the world but I am sure we would be getting reports from hell before breakfast.â€
–General William Tecumseh Sherman
We take all kind of pills, that give us all kind of thrills
But the thrill we’ve never known,
Is the thrill that’ll getcha
When you get your picture on the cover of the Rolling Stone.
Wanna see my picture on the cover,
Wanna buy five copies for my mother,
Wanna see my smiling face
On the cover of the Rolling Stone.
— Dr. Hook And The Medicine Show
General Stanley McChrystal must now wish that he had listened to General Sherman and not Dr. Hook, and never agreed to give access to his command team or be interviewed by reporter Michael Hastings for Rolling Stone.
As Hastings unsympathetically explained to Newsweek, McChrystal should have understood that his interests and career meant nothing to the reporter he admitted into his inner counsels. If somebody cracked a joke or made an unkind remark about a rival government official or a superior, however embarrassing or damaging it might be, a reporter would consider it his own good luck and publish it with delight.
I was walking around with a tape recorder and a notepad in my hand three-quarters of the time. I didnâ€™t have the Matt Drudge press hat on, but everything short of that it was pretty obvious I was a reporter writing a profile of the general for Rolling Stone. It was always very clear.
Career-ending Rolling Stone article