Monthly Archives: February 2010

A Howl! for Calling the Olympian a Kitten.

So it turns out that Tanith Belbin is hot. I mean, smoking hot, so hot the ice she dances on turns to soup every time she lands an axel.  Her sex appeal is so sweltering, she appeared on a cover of “Men’s Health” wearing only a tiny pair of black shorts, seductively wielding a pair of headphones.

Oh, to have been those headphones… Continue reading

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Hoot! Advocacy Journalism With Explanation.

The Philadelphia Tribune’s Managing Editor Irv Randolph published an op-ed piece in his paper this week entitled “Sarah Palin is a demagogue.” The piece is clearly partisan—and unfortunately riddled with typos—but it makes insightful and level-headed criticisms of Palin, and of the attention and respect given her by the media. Randolph takes issue with Palin’s given label as a “populist leader,” and insists that she is in fact a political opportunist who plays to people’s base fears.

The most HOOT-worthy part of the column is the fourth sentence, which reads, “[Palin] constantly extols the values of “small-town America,” as if to suggest people who live in cities and suburbs are somehow less American and patriotic.” This is not the usual criticism of Sarah Palin. Politicians of all stripes invoke small-town values, and while people don’t always believe that politicians actually harbor these values, the legitimacy of their constant invocation is usually taken for granted. Randolph appropriately calls into question that practice. He does not call Palin stupid, or evil, or dismiss her the way many other liberals do. He explains what a demagogue is, and makes a careful case that Palin is one. Continue reading

HOOT! Someone Did Their homework…

This week I chose to review an article in City Paper, mainly because I never read that particular publication.  I was hoping to stumble across an article that was in-depth and cheekier than those one finds in mainstream news.  I think I found it.

I was first hooked by the compelling photo, actually taken by Temple alum Neal Santos.  The picture depicts a man who looks grief-stricken and pensive as he walks by a charred rowhome.  The photo perfectly sets the mood for the article: ominous, painful and full of complexities. Continue reading

Hoot! Good Reporting Means Presenting Both Sides of the Story (Even if the Other Side Isn’t Popular).

Last week, 6ABC’s Erin O’Hearn reported on something that’s considered very controversial: the benefits of breast feeding.  She starts her piece by saying some benefits are well-documented; for example, the fact that breast milk contains components that can help stave off ear and gastrointestinal infections has been widely proven.  But she adds that other benefits – such as ensuring a higher IQ or lower weight – are not as well-documented.  The premise of the story is that mothers who can’t breast-feed shouldn’t feel bad about it – there are a myriad of other factors that affect a child’s health. Continue reading

Two Hoots for the Inquirer: Answering the Why?

My favorite cultural story from this past week was Caroline Tiger’s article “Art in the Office” in the Friday, February 12 edition of the Inquirer. Tiger’s report is pegged to the second auction of the Lehman Brothers collection of art, handled by Freeman’s auction house here in Philadelphia, which was held on February 19. Continue reading

Howl! The Backpedaling Columnist?

After reading through this piece about three times, I still can’t figure out the opinion writer’s opinion.  In last Tuesday’s Daily News, Elmer Smith presented some results from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. This study tracked 1,000 citizens of 162 American cities for about year and listed which cities were the “happiest and healthiest.” Smith simultaneously celebrates Philadelphia not tanking into last place (we ranked 84th) while questioning the study altogether.

As an average reader, this is the first I’m learning about the research so I’m really depending on Elmer here. I need to know whether I should celebrate Philadelphia climbing out of the gluten gutter or trash this most recent attempt at ranking the un-rankable. Instead, readers get a half mocking, half proud, sarcastic jumble bordering on stream of consciousness. Continue reading

Hoots, Howls and the Snowpocalypse: Overkill or Good Television?

Television Critic Jonathan Storm doesn’t sound like a huge fan of the big four TV stations in Philly. It only took half a sentence of his Inquirer piece to reduce the medium’s local news operation to “a hotbed of fear-mongering and trivial sensationalism.” However, it’s the opening sentence’s second half of that deserves a Hoot for the week. When it comes to Snowmageddon coverage, Storm says the local outlets did a “splendid job.” Continue reading