The Major Leagues
Thursday, September 7, 2000 by Dave Winer.
First a story about US presidential candidate George W. Bush.
After a speech in the midwest, he's waving to the audience with a big Republican smile.
He sees a NY Times reporter in the audience.
"There's Adam Clymer, major league asshole, from the New York Times," Bush said.
"Yeah, big time," retorted vice-presidential candidate Dick Cheney.
Now Bush probably wouldn't have said that if he knew the microphone was live.
But it was. It got on the record.
Now I don't mind if adults use strong language. I have no problem with it.
And if I were the reporter I would consider it a compliment.
We need more major league assholes in the press.
Too much footsy is being played, and there are too many spoiled brats who think that any criticism is too much, not just in political reporting, in all reporting.
Major league guys like Bush must have major league reporters watching them, examining what they say, raising questions they don't want to answer, so the rest of us have a chance to find out what's beneath the polished TV image.
If he's elected, Bush is going to choose Supreme Court justices. He'll lead us in war. He'll spend our money. He'll have a lot to say about what we can and can't do. If he wants to lead us we have to have our questions answered. That he doesn't like the reporting tells me that something about the system is working.
The response from Bush? Not an apology, and that's not exactly what I would be looking for. I'd love to hear a speech from him about the important role journalism plays in the democratic process. Tell the truth, the reporting irritated you, but after giving it some thought, you realized that you wouldn't have it any other way.
That's a candidate I would think seriously about voting for.
Adam Curry was the number one VJ at MTV in the 1980s, back when video was the leading edge in music technology. I first met him at an AOL offsite meeting in 1994, when AOL was negotiating to buy UserLand (the deal didn't happen, my choice, a very bad financial decision in hindsight, but probably a good artistic one).
Adam is back. He has a Manila site on a UserLand server where he's been doing the weblog thing for the folks back home in Amsterdam, my favorite city in Europe (I've been there twice this year).
He's also been playing with betas of our personal radio station software, Radio UserLand, and like all of us every day is a new epiphany. On Tuesday he wrote an essay about the importance of formats. It's full of double entendres. When he talks about a format, he means the format that describes a radio station, like Contemporary Hit Radio, Alternative Rock, and Golden Oldies.
These formats are "programmed", in the old days by the djs, and nowadays by computer programs, which store data in "formats". Amazingly the ideas translate, as if there is a god who's programming us to do all these programs and formats. (Does this make you dizzy?)
Adam's essay was linked to by SlashDot.Org today, and has been getting thousands of hits. The servers are holding up pretty well. It's a great piece, and if you're interested in music on the Internet you must read it.