March 01, 2006

Slate: Mostly Artificial Ingredients!

WOTS likes institutional originality in its reading, and so WOTS has long noticed that too many of Slate’s supposedly original articles are mere compilations of other things found in cyberspace, sometimes with a dash of salt added to avoid copyright problems (fair use has its limits, friends). Billy Saletan blurbs technology developments in Human Nature. We have Today’s Cartoons, and Papers, and Blogs, and Pictures. There is In Other Magazines, Summary Judgment, and for that matter, Slate-referential pieces like Fraywatch, the contest, and NPR. So that’s no less than 10 regular Slate features that do little more than compile other’s works.

There is nothing wrong with all of this summarizing, per se (or is it totally illegal?). But its hardly heady stuff either and it suggests more than a bit about the overall place of Slate in the pantheon of (mostly) liberal forums if half of its content is not really its own. (The actual original pieces, as WOTSies know, suggest other bad things about said place). Jerry Seinfeld wouldn’t spend half his act telling other comedian’s jokes: “Boy, did you catch that bit Chris Rock did the other night? Here it is…” Who tells other comedians’ jokes? Hacks. Kenny Banya.

Does Slate want to be the Kenny Banya of comedy? Is it already?

WOTS is all original, baby. Except for Percy's hairpiece. WOTS has no idea what that thing is.

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