Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Newsarama Is Bad And Matt Brady Should Feel Bad, Part 5: In Which A Standard Is Raised

I was going to do a post on the Lovecraftian hype engine that runs Newsarama like the hidden wheels and treadmills of Yuggoth, but decided, what's the point? The hype is all-pervasive; it would be like writing about the Sahara and complaining about the sand. Like Darkseid, the hype simply is. So, instead, let us draw things to a close and take a look back on what we've learned.

We haven't learned Newsarama sucks. We already knew that. But we have learned, I hope, that Newsarama sucking is a bad thing. Because what really gets me, what truly and consistently pisses me off, is the attitude surrounding Newsarama. For a person like me, who puts such truck in standards and potential, it's bleak and interminable as a Thomas Hardy countryside.

The attitude can be summed up thus: "So what? It's only a website."

My reaction to this gravitates between a heavy sigh and a heavy sledgehammer to the speaker's skull. "It's only" statements bug the hell out of me, especially coming from fans of a genre founded on the superlative. (And let's all be honest, it's the superhero fans who drive Newsarama, for good or ill, and it's they who are the first to rise to its so-called defense. Show me a Fantagraphics buyer who wants me to ease up on Newsarama, and I'll show you a guy with a closet full of Eros back issues who thinks Jaime Hernandez was in Menudo.) Excusing faults by minimizing the faulty has always struck me as faulty logic. It presupposes that standards (there's that word again) need only be applied to a few, important things, while everything else can just get by however it feels. The problem comes when you step back and realize that, sooner or later, everything is one of the important things.

Take the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Banks and other lenders relaxed their standards for home loans to people with less-than-stellar credit ratings or income potential. This was bad enough, but then various investment funds started buying up interest in these relaxed-standard loans, the rationale being, "So what? It's only home loans. Everybody has one, and they always get paid off one way or another." Then the market got hit by the one-two punch of the housing-bubble bursting and a rapid increase in defaults on sub-prime loans, and subprime lenders, and the funds investing in their loans, started going bankrupt by the dozen. All of a sudden, stringent loan standards started looking like a pretty damn good idea.

Now. I'm well aware that crappy comics news sites won't send the American and global economies into a tizzy that wipes out my savings, meager as they are. But there's a ripple effect all the same, and in some ways, it's even more dangerous than having to go back to under-the-mattress savings accounts.

Imagine a comics world where it's universally acknowledged that Newsarama is the best we should hope for from comics journalism. Actually, you don't have to imagine it; it's depressingly close to reality. The Internet is a daily source for information that monthly or weekly trade mags cannot hope to stand up against. And the signal-to-noise ratio we have right now scares the living hell out of me. For all the blogosphere pats itself on the back, their penetration is on a level with NPR and Air America: only the faithful are listening. Ask the average comics shop patron what the biggest story in comics last week was, and they'll likely say it was the death of Heath Ledger. Which, you'll note, is technically not a story about comics at all.

Really? I mean, it's sad the guy died and all, and I feel awful for his kid (and disturbingly mortal, given there was an age difference of less than three years between us), but other stuff happened. And I'm not talking about Countdown or Ultimates 2. It may have escaped your notice, but Quebecor World, the biggest printer of comics on Earth, filed for bankruptcy last week. That's kind of a thing. It's the sort of story you'd expect a trade journalism outlet to go into in some depth, perhaps taking up more space than anticipated, pushing back a more frivolous piece like, say, "Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash Commentary." But maybe that's just me.

No, scratch that, it's not just me. This sucks, people. This is not OK. If we learn anything from my past week of literary masochism, let it be that. Comics journalism, online or otherwise, ought to be better than Newsarama. Hell, Newsarama ought to be better than Newsarama. Is there no impulse among any of these writers, or Grand Poohbah Brady himself, to improve, to put in a better day's work than the day before? Is there no furtive, blinking impulse in the mammalian forebrain of the readers to expect a little more than daily page scans and press releases? Is there no joy left for Mudville today?

I think there is. I wouldn't have written these posts if I didn't. I believe in the reality of better options as wholeheartedly as someone in their twenties can believe in anything. I have to, to keep myself going. After all, I have to have my standards.


ReiMehari said...

And those are standards worth applauding. Well done. I'm glad I wasn't the only one who felt... let's say funny...when reading anything published on that site.

Michael said...

I wouldn't say funny. I'd say disappointed.

Anonymous said...

好秘书 中国呼吸网 肿瘤网 中国皮肤网 癌症康复网 工作总结 肺癌 肝癌 胃癌 肾癌 食道癌 直肠癌 结肠癌 胰腺癌 卵巢癌 宫颈癌 乳腺癌 子宫癌 皮肤癌 鼻咽癌 贲门癌 白血病 骨癌 膀胱癌 前列腺癌 甲状腺癌 脑瘤 尿道癌 舌癌 喉癌 牙癌 胆囊癌 胆管癌 外阴癌 阴茎癌 葡萄胎 淋巴瘤 口腔癌 扁桃体癌 睾丸肿瘤 绒毛膜癌 黑色素瘤 癌症 肿瘤 感冒 支气管炎 气管炎 哮喘 肺癌 肺炎 肺结核 打鼾 鼻炎 咳嗽 咽炎 肺心病 肺气肿 鼻窦炎 鼻息肉 扁桃体炎 喉炎 支气管扩张 肺水肿 肺脓肿 肺不张 尘肺病 肺栓塞 鼻咽癌 鼻窦炎 呼吸衰竭 呼吸道感染 呼吸困难 口咽癌 咽部异物 喉癌 喉麻痹 喉头水肿 新生儿窒息 胸腔积液 气胸 胸膜炎 鼻疖 咯血 胸膜癌 急性会厌炎 禽流感 麻疹 风疹 猩红热 百日咳 呼吸机 氧气机 个人工作总结 半年工作总结 年终工作总结 述职报告 秘书

MarkAndrew said...

Saw this, thought of you:


- MarkAndrew

MarkAndrew said...

Huh. Link didn't work. Lemme try this one.


MarkAndrew said...


Maybe HTML?

Failing this, google

"Yallah, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" and "4thletter"