Sunday, June 10, 2012

Rip Van Winkle Journalists

Bekah, the blog master of the Get a Grip Gym Blog tweeted the following:  "Half of the major newspapers think that Nastia is a lock and that everyone competes AA. Don't trust everything you read, kids."

I'm going to ignore the Nastia portion of the comment alone for now and address only the hilarious misconception that most mainstream journalists have that gymnasts must perform on all four events.

Where have these journalists been for the last decade and more when 3-up-3-count has more or less diluted the field of all-arounders with specialists? Have they been asleep?

Why, yes. Yes they have. They are the Rip Van Winkle of journalists.

Now humor me for a minute. Suppose these gaffes are not simply indicative of failing at even a cursory attempt at research (I'm a journalist and I have to Google shit all of the time when an editor assigns me a topic I know nothing about but I do it), but part of a bigger problem--they've all been asleep for the past twelve years.

Perhaps like many others after watching the botched all-around competition of Sydney (you know, the one where the vault was set at the incorrect height for nearly half of the competitors and they STILL awarded medals), decided to rest their eyes from grief and weariness and fell asleep. And they drift off...


Rip Van Winkle Journo wakes slowly, surrounded by empty liquor bottles, his faced pressed into old newspapers. The dates read "2000" on all of the papers. He stretches groggily. "Well, I guess it's time to write about the travesty of the all-around before the papers get pressed. People are going to want read this in the morning paper with their coffee. Above the fold headline, baby! God, it's good to be a journalist."

RVW starts typing at a mammoth computer. "Hmm," he says to himself. "Maybe I'll start with, 'The all-around gold medal is the title that every gymnast works for, dreams of nightly, practices day in, day out, training on all four events to win."

"How do I spell Khorkina?" he wonders aloud. "I know. I'll check the world wide web!"He fires up his internet, complete with dial up modem sounds and goes to Yahoo! to search for the gymnast's name and pulls up this instead:

"What? Her hair got so long!" he exclaims. "And what's this YouTube thing?"

Though he is new to YouTube, he quickly falls down the rabbit hole, watching video after video until He Kexin's 2008 Olympic bar routine:

"Wow! That was incredible. I wonder what she can do on balance beam."

He types in "He Kexin Olympics BB" but comes up with no results. He tries again. Still nothing from that competition. He tries a different tactic--"He Kexin all-around" and his computer laughs at him.

"What's going on?" And then he glimpses the year, "2008."

"Have I been asleep for 8 years?"

He rushes out of the apartment, searching for his newspaper to ascertain the date, but there isn't one at his door. Nor is there one in front of the doors of his neighbors. "What has the world come to--no one gets the paper AND gymnasts don't compete on all of the events?"

RVW returns to his computer and checks his AOL email. Most of the messages are from his editor. He opens one. It reads: "Due to falling ad revenues on the internet, we're going to have to cut your rate from $2 a word to .50."

Welcome to the future RVW. At least we've got videos of dogs nursing rare white tiger cubs. It's not all bad. 


AndrewR736 said...

Excellent point!

AndrewR736 said...

Great point!

Dvora Meyers said...

Thanks! This was fun to write.