By Chris Roberts
By Joe Eskenazi
By Albert Samaha
By Mike Billings
By Rachel Swan
By Erin Sherbert
By Joe Eskenazi
By Albert Samaha
They are charming. They go something like this:
Ex-lawyer felt 'absolute panic'"
No, actually, they go exactly like that. The above two lines constitute a complete, totally real headline for a recent Chroniclestory about a former attorney who felt absolutely panicked about ... something or other. You guess, bucko.
With the Internet and search engines, it would be a snap for you to find the actual news article that ran under this six-word non sequitur. So don't do that; it would be passé, and recherché, and a wide variety of other haughty, accented, foreign-sounding predicate adjectives.
Instead, send Dog Bites the date, section, and page number for all the mystery Chronicleheadlines you encounter. Eventually, we'll amass enough to fill an entire page with easy, lazy, unfair, and snarky copy no one had to write or edit. And then, once we get ourselves booked onto a cable TV talking-head scream-show, Dog Bites will feel just like a big-time journalism critic.
Speaking of journalism criticism, the most hilarious example we've run across this year shows up weekly on a blog called Hooray for Anything (www.hoorayforanything.com or www.hooray.blogspot.com). Some guy not necessarily named "Jon" started the blog three years ago. A self-described "sporadically employed thirtysomething who does not claim to have had Barry Bonds' 700th home run ball," Jon says he has a dream of appearing on a VH1 show in which he can make fun of celebrities.
Of course, Jon's dreams have nothing to do with Dog Bites' interest in his blog. Dog Bites likes Jon because after taking "the occasional pot-shot at the Bay Guardian, either for dumb-ass politics, dumb-ass cover stories, or dumb-ass reviews," he started posting "random quotes that I thought were particularly laughable." He says he received a positive response and decided to give the people what they want: the Bay GuardianWank of the Week.
The Wank of the Week often focuses on the pretentious and obscurantist prose that fills the alleged publication. Other times, the Wank just points out BG incompetencies with the English language. Always, the Wank makes its point with a couple of paragraphs so horrid they induce shivers, and a minimum of icy commentary. A sample from Sept. 8:
This week's Bay Guardian Wank of the Week isn't as much something that's totally pretentious as it is a train-wreck of a sentence. Here's the first sentence of an article praising a local band that I've never heard of, Tartufi:
"In a world -- or at least a city -- of costume bands, nightmare-streaked new wave, and sweaty, naked, sexually assaultive backup dancers, the rock 'n' roll trio known as Tartufi stand up for certain classic traditions, like verse-chorus-verse, infectious melodies, comprehensible lyrics that aren't afraid to stomp on your heart a bit, and the kind of anthemic songs that make a girl want to start a band, leave town on a long road trip, or find someone to make out with outside the club; the kind it would be wrong not to accompany on vocals when alone in one's boudoir."
For those scoring at home, that's a ninety-nine word sentence. Did the copy editor fall asleep?
The Wank is entertaining enough to have gotten the attention of another blog Dog Bites loves, the SFist (www.sfist.com), which is offering prizes for people who send in SFBG paragraphs even worse than "Hooray for Anything's scientifically-determined Bay Guardianworst two paragraphs of the week!" We're not sure we want to read the full results of a competition that looks for the worst prose published by the San Francisco Bay Guardian, but we're glad to know there are dedicated people seeking, each and every week, after the perfect Wank. And then the more perfect one.