Last week, the world was gripped in the terror of a GORDON LIGHTFOOT death scare when a realistic-looking Twitter obit was picked up by several Canadian papers. Lightfoot is alive, thank Heaven, but the fiasco has prompted another round of journalistic thrashing in which the mainstream media blame the Internet, the bloggers blame the mainstream media, and eventually everyone comes to the radical conclusion that it's probably not okay to use Twitter as a primary source for serious news reportage.
Lightfoot responded to the obit in an interview with Toronto news station CP24: "I don't know where it came from. It seems like a bit of a hoax or something. I was quite surprised to hear it myself. . . . I feel fine." Is it just me, or is that answer a little noncommittal? He doesn't deny anything, he just says that he feels fine and was surprised to hear the story — the most he's willing to offer is that it seems like a bit of a hoax. I think you can see what's going on here: amid all the confusion, Gordon Lightfoot honestly isn't sure whether he's dead or alive.
And speaking of Web 2.0's intersection with an infinitely gullible, clueless, and lazy mainstream media: an AP article reports that a petition for JOHN MELLENCAMP to run for the US Senate in Indiana is "building steam." As evidence, the story offers a Facebook group with about 2000 members. Two thousand? Are you kidding me? Is this your first time on the Internet, AP? I just found a Night at the Roxbury fan club on Facebook with more than three thousand members. There's a group to elect T-Pain president of the University of South Florida with more than four thousand.
But! We all know what the Web's actually good for — giving us a direct channel to all the brilliant things celebrities want to say at 3 am. Just a few days before his prison term is set to commence, LIL WAYNE has started a Twitter account, and we find him Weezing philosophical:
"hello future, goodbye now, im on my way to the past . . . "
"if love is everywhere, i'll never end up in the middle of nowhere."
"we go, but where? . . . we are what we bring bak, if we return . . . "
This, dear readers, is not just why Twitter was invented. This is why language was invented.
It's always a treat to have one's cynical worldview validated, so I tip my hat to BLACK FRANCIS for his recent interview with the excellent on-line music journal the Quietus. "This ain't about the art anymore," he said of the Pixies' reunion shows. "I did the arty-farty part. Now it's time to talk about the money."
I realized, upon experiencing the radio misfortune of JOHN MAYER's "Heartbreak Warfare" followed shortly by DAVE MATTHEWS's "Funny the Way It Is," that I haven't been giving Dave a fair shake. I've never liked him, and I still don't, but his standing with me has been diminishing disproportionately to his actual terribleness, and I've come to understand why. Whenever I hear a new John Mayer song, even after all these years, it still takes me about eight seconds to process that it's not Dave Matthews, and by that time, I've already assigned Matthews the blame and downgraded his status accordingly. I'm sorry, Dave Matthews — you still suck, but you're no John Mayer.
Speaking of Mayer: I was pretty close to awarding him some points last month for pissing off the entire nation with his flamboyantly dickish, quasi-racist PLAYBOY interview. But then he went up on stage and cried about how sorry he was. All points revoked.
DAVID THORPE |dthorpe[a]phx.com