Journalism Rocks!

Just three questions this week: What does this mean for Sleater-Kinney? What's Keyshawn doing in E-ville? And will the plagiarism ever end?

Bottom Feeder prides himself on never having been to journalism school to learn the five Ws: Who cares, What the fuck, Where’s the free booze, When’s quitting time, and Why the hell don’t you assholes give me the respect I deserve by nominating me for more awards and offering more free booze?

Others, however, prefer to go to J-school to learn how to bust a nut-graf before embarking on their next adventure in the real world of law school. Apparently, even accomplished rocker Carrie Brownstein of the — pardon the expression — seminal feminist punk group Sleater-Kinney is tempted to attend school to learn how to distrust authority and have a bad attitude, but get people’s names right while you’re doing it.

Granted, Bottom Feeder was unable to actually reach Brownstein, a recent transplant to Berkeley from the Northwest, to confirm that she’s applying for Cal’s graduate journalism program. But Feeder did try to reach her for comment using proprietary reporting methods such as calling 411 to see if she was listed. No such luck. (Sorry, S-K fans.) But remember, Carrie, a good reporter doesn’t give up after failing just once. She gives up after the second time. So Feeder went to locate the guitarist through the public voter-registration files. Unfortunately, he happened to be hung over the day he went to the registrar’s office from all the free booze they give us ink-stained wretches, and mistakenly asked if there was a Carrie Bradshaw registered to vote in Berkeley. A female pal who could actually afford HBO later confided that Carrie Bradshaw is the name of Sarah Jessica Parker‘s character in the — pardon the expression again — seminal straight-chick show Sex and the City. Yeah, okay, whatever. Feeder has it on reliable authority from a friend of a friend of a friend of a dude whose half-sister’s pal heard directly from Brownstein that she wants to go to J-school at Cal. So there ya have it. Pay attention, Carrie. You won’t learn this kind of stuff in grad school.

Just Give Me the Dumb Ball

No one could figure out what NFL loudmouth Keyshawn Johnson was doing at an intramural women’s basketball game last week at the Emery High School gym in Emeryville. And the team’s lesbian players in particular couldn’t figure out why everyone in the stands was making such a fuss over a star pro athlete who wasn’t Jennifer Azzi. But there he was: Keyshawn Johnson, holding court, giving all the teeny-bangers signing bonuses.

“Who you here for?” one kid asked Johnson.

“My homey’s wife,” Keyshawn replied, nudging the guy next to him. (Always the role model.)

Now here’s a little filler for unfamiliar Feeders: Johnson is the best-selling author of the critically acclaimed autobiography Just Give Me the Damn Ball! Some people also know him — nay, knew him — as star wide receiver for Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Keyshawn, you see, is a bit of a hothead — and the Bucs just deactivated the megalomaniacal malcontent midseason, which basically meant paying him more than $1 million to simply cool his heels and stay off the field. (He probably earned a full-year Emeryville teacher’s salary in the fifteen minutes he signed autographs.)

Johnson never said for real why he was here, although there’s been some speculation he might come west to play for the Raiders. It’s too early to say if that’ll happen, but there’s no doubt King Keyshawn would make a fine addition to what head coach Bill Callahan recently called the NFL’s dumbest team.

Drats! Plagiarized Again

The true measure of which journalists deserve awards and free booze — Carrie, you still payin’ attention? — is how often their brilliant work gets plagiarized. Bottom Feeder’s author now has the unique distinction of having two separate stories plagiarized within one year.

The first instance involved an obscure black-owned paper in the South that shortened but otherwise copied verbatim a cover story on the Riders entitled “Bum Rap,” changing only the locale.

Now the current issue of the California Patriot, a right-wing campus magazine produced by UC Berkeley students, contains a story on wacky Berkeley landmarks suspiciously similar to an Express cover story written by yours truly a few months ago on wacky Berkeley landmarks.

It’s not so blatant as the Riders rip-off — more of a lazy rewrite than a cut-and-paste job — but some passages and quotes from the Patriot article are identical to those that appeared in the original. Hell, the writer even lifted inaccuracies the Express later corrected in print. Two people quoted in the Patriot version — who seemed, oddly enough, to have used precisely the same words as when they spoke with the Express months earlier — told Bottom Feeder they have never talked to the Patriot writer, Vanessa Wiseman, or anyone from the student magazine. For just a minute there, Feeder thought Wiseman had at least managed to do one original interview — with Berkeley Planning Commissioner John Curl — until another Expresso recognized his quotes as coming from a letter we ran complaining about the original story.

But there’s a silver lining here: This whole episode helps us better understand the pillars of the Patriot’s mission statement, which are to Expose, Educate, and Express. We hope that our exposure of this intellectual theft from the Express has served to help educate future members of our sordid vocation.

So, Carrie Bradshaw or Brownstein or whatever your name is, if you’re still reading, this is the kind of profession you’d be getting into. It’s has all the lying and stealing and debauchery of the rock world, but alas, without the royalty checks.

Administer the Spanking

Finally, it’s sad but true that we journalists sometimes make mistakes. We’re human — sort of. We bleed real ink. And our mistakes can have consequences to real people. So, Bottom Feeder would like to apologize to all you sex-industry workers advertising FBSM who got calls from pervs asking to be spanked or hung by their nipples from a clothesline because of an error in this column. FBSM doesn’t mean Fetish Bondage Sado-Masochism, as this space reported two weeks ago: it means Full Body Sensual Massage.

So, all you call girls out there, Feeder is very, very sorry. He’s been a very naughty boy and needs a good, hard spanking.


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