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Wash. Post social experiment

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by spankys, Jan 24, 2009.

  1. spankys

    spankys Member

  2. PeteyPirate

    PeteyPirate Guest

    It also kinda won a Pulitzer a few months back.
  3. franticscribe

    franticscribe Well-Known Member

    It was also a stunt pulled by the Chicago Evening Post a long time before Weingarten tried it. Makes you wonder if it still would've won a Pulitzer had the committee realized. Still a great piece, though. And Weingarten's reckoning of the earlier Post story is entertaining too.

  4. This thread has to be the d_b of all d_b's.
    And I still fucking hate that story.
  5. Tim Sullivan

    Tim Sullivan Member

    This was the only story I can remember reading where I assumed it would win the Pulitzer Prize halfway through. The craftsmanship and scholarship were so striking that I wrote Weingarten a fan note.

    His response, as I recall, was, "Gee thanks, dude."
  6. Sorry, Tim.
    Story was so precious it made my gorge rise, and it prompts me to use a word I almost never use: "elitist."
  7. Yes, as a matter of fact, I do.
  8. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    This is very strange. This is the third time in like the past week that somebody has referenced this story somewhere that I've read. Whatever you think of the idea, not sure why it's coming back to us all of the sudden.
  9. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    I was waiting to see what crowd an average musician playing popular songs would have drawn.

    Too many things are wrong with this from a science standpoint.

    1. His position was designed for failure. He is buy a door. He needs to be by a place where people stand. Maybe as they go on and off the train or wait to buy a ticket or food.

    That right there is enough for me.
  10. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

    On the contrary, I think that's the right place for him to stand.

    If he was standing in a food court or near the tracks, you wouldn't be able to judge how many people are willingly stopping to listen to him. Sure, he'd pick up a few extra bucks, but that's not the point of the experiment.

    By putting him in front of the door, it's easier to see how many people deviate from their routine to stop and listen.
  11. Tim Sullivan

    Tim Sullivan Member

    Elitist? How so? Was the vocabulary beyond the grasp of average readers? Was the concept too complex to be easily understood? Did Weingarten carry on for long passages in Latin?

    No. No. No.

    This was an old-fashioned newspaper stunt performed by a writer of extraordinary skill with the luxury of time. In terms of writing elegance and telling detail, it reminded me of Red Smith escorting the chemistry teacher back to her Lake Placid classroom that had been turned into a media center bar during the 1980 Winter Olympics. In terms of erudition, it was worthy of Garry Wills.

    But at its core was whimsy. And if that is elitist, so is Monty Python.
  12. The writer -- whose skill we'll debate at another time -- is a snob, pure and simple. All those Philistines, rushing to work and failing to notice the genius of a piece of classical music known to about 1000 people in the country. What a world. The piece is approximately as whimsical as a flat-iron. And Garry Wills?
    Gene Weingarten couldn't be Garry Wills if you spotted him 100 IQ points and the Second Vatican Council.
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