Tag Archives: Kansas City Star

Denzel Washington Searches In Vain For Mo’ Better News On Kansascity.com

Sorry to disappoint, Denzel, but your search will bear no fruit on that side of the Star’s Web site. Kansascity.com is the John Q of local online news.

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Jenee Osterheldt Kicks Off Week With Recycled Julie/Julia Themes

hahanottherealjuliachildThe Star‘s “FYI/Living” columnists, as I see it, are charged with the semi-important task of sparking citywide conversations about, well, FYI/Living. What they are not to do, as I further understand it, is spend a few hundred words boring the reader with things he can read in any other venue. Case in point: the Monday column of hip youngster and amateur hip-hop expert Jenee Osterheldt, who opts to write about the newly vogue Julia Child. Why newly vogue? The book, the movie, etc. Oh, and the subject of just about every nationwide FYI/Living-ish columnist. As luck would have it, it’s also the subject of a sprawling Michael Pollan piece in yesterday’s NYT mag. Osterheldt seems to have just picked out choice themes for her own recycling:

Pollan: It was a kind of courage — not only to cook but to cook the world’s most glamorous and intimidating cuisine — that Julia Child gave my mother and so many other women like her, and to watch her empower viewers in episode after episode is to appreciate just how much about cooking on television — not to mention cooking itself — has changed in the years since “The French Chef” was on the air.

There are still cooking programs that will teach you how to cook. Public television offers the eminently useful “America’s Test Kitchen.” The Food Network carries a whole slate of so-called dump-and-stir shows during the day, and the network’s research suggests that at least some viewers are following along. But many of these programs — I’m thinking of Rachael Ray, Paula Deen, Sandra Lee — tend to be aimed at stay-at-home moms who are in a hurry and eager to please.

Osterheldt: Yet culinary stars such as Rachael Ray, Alton Brown, Giada De Laurentiis and Sunny Anderson have been on my radar lately. And they aren’t pastry chefs. They make meals. And ironically, I’m attempting their recipes…

She loved her craft and made it easier for home cooks everywhere. If Julia could discover the joys of cooking later in life, anyone can. With wit and imagination, she made millions feel they could make a great meal, too.

So finally I get the foodie fuss over the movie about her, “Julie & Julia,” out this weekend.

Pollan: And then, looking right through the camera as if taking us into her confidence, she utters the line that did so much to lift the fear of failure from my mother and her contemporaries: “If you’re alone in the kitchen, WHOOOO” — the pronoun is sung — “is going to see?” For a generation of women eager to transcend their mothers’ recipe box (and perhaps, too, their mothers’ social standing), Julia’s little kitchen catastrophe was a liberation and a lesson: “The only way you learn to flip things is just to flip them!”

Osterheldt: For me, this is a whole new world. And as I explore, I’m not afraid.

As Julia Child would say, “Remember, if you are alone in the kitchen, who is going to see you?”

Let us be clear: this is not plagiarism. So what is it? It’s uninteresting writing, which in the world of media can be just as devastating. The Pollan piece is but one of the dozens of such pieces currently circling the incestuous environs of these kinds of columns. (Do a Google News search for “Julia Child” and see for yourself.) What Osterheldt has done is to remove all the interesting stuff from Pollan’s themes — that cooking as entertainment is exploding, while cooking as American activity is declining — and churn out a dull, trite column. Hardly the stuff that saves papers.

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Filed under Food, Media

@Worthlessness: Star Somehow Deems It Wise To Live-Tweet Chiefs Practice

weimaginekentbabblookssomethinglikethisFrom the annals of ridiculous ideas: the Star‘s sports staff — taking a rare break from focusing on female posteriors — thought it would be just an incredibly useful and hip idea to send the wonderfully named Kent Babb to River Falls, where he would dabble in Web 2.0’s most unbelievably self-indulgent medium. Yes, your dreams have been realized: you can now follow along with every sidestep and water break of overpaid, over-steroid’d muscular men. Hooray? Be prepared to receive only the most crucial pieces of information, such as this helpf — oh, wait.

Some wiseguy pulled the fire alarm at my hotel in Hudson at 5:50 a.m. Chiefs fans, media and an enormous wedding party scatter!4:02 AM Aug 1st from web

This after the same hotel ran out of bananas yesterday. I mean, come on.4:04 AM Aug 1st from web

Come on indeed. What other gems does K-Babb offer us?

Make no mistake: I love my fellow reporters. But the fellow inhaling his sub to the point of labored breathing is a little much for me.11:40 AM Aug 1st from web

Tank Tyler looked like a natural holding my tape recorder while Zach Thomas was being interviewed. Should I thank him with a card or gift?5:47 PM Aug 1st from web

@ChiefsPR: OK, I’m about to come get a Diet Coke. I’ll be hurt beyond repair if I don’t get a Twitter mention.9:17 AM Aug 2nd from web

The Oscar-Meyer Wienermobile was at Chiefs practice today. @MitchHolthus seemed bizarrely mesmerized.24 minutes ago from web

@patchchord: Unfortunately for Dorsey, the Chiefs and children everywhere, the Wienermobile and its contents were parked dangerously close.15 minutes ago from web

Wow. Look, we understand the desire to keep up with What The Kids Are Doing, but… seriously? While other sports outlets are sinking resources into providing ever deeper coverage, even targeted at a micro-local level, the Star has opted to send a reporter (at no small cost, we imagine) to “tweet” (and has there ever been a more repulsively popular verb?) about the small beer activities of summer practice. Yes, because knowing the location of the Wienermobile will definitely help me assemble a fine fantasy team and allow me to know the ins and outs of the upcoming NFL season. Bravo, Star.

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Star‘s Mom2Mom Blog Finally Bottoms Out In Online Cesspool Of Alcoholism, Boredom, Emoticons

secretaryofstateenjoyingalibationBack in our State of the Line days, we used to spend a fair amount of time examining the cultural tour de force that is the Star‘s Mom2Mom blog, ostensibly an e-resource for area mothers where they can discuss motherhood, parenting, layabout husbands, etc. Of course, it may not shock you to learn that the most frequent topics of discussion are things like soap operas and celebrity gossip. Sigh — fulfillment of stereotypes is so dull. Luckily, Mom2Mom user “dollarfifty” decided to lighten things up last Saturday by dropping the magic words: jello shots. Specifically, she asked if talking about jello shots would “liven up this site????” (Interrogative emphasis, mercifully, is hers.) The post V2’d in the Mom2Mom world, and now there are a remarkable 104 responses to it. Alas, all the responses reveal is the sad, lonesome, booze-ridden state of Kansas City mothers. Peruse the delightful thoughts shared by local madres after the jump. MORE

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KC Star Threatens Vengeance Upon Readership With Ominous Front Page Warning

Surely the intention of this headline was to urge patience for a future ball game, but it comes off as something Snidely Whipflash would say while shaking his fist after his latest plot has been foiled:

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Filed under In the News, Media, Royals

Whitlock Branches Out From Writing About Race, Pens Column About Spo — Wait, No, It’s Race Again

jasonwhitlockissmoothwiththeladiesSigh. The caption under Jason Whitlock’s photo on the Star‘s web site is as follows: “Jason Whitlock joined The Star as a sports columnist in 1994.” Nice. Now, if we could only get a sports column from the man, that sentence would be correct. Maybe we can give the guy a break today — after all, today and Wednesday are the only two days of the year with no MLB, NFL, NHL, or NBA games, so maybe he’s just plum out of ideas. But that can’t be right: he’s been pretty prolific of late when it comes to writing thinly reasoned screeds about racism and the racist racists of who love it. Today he writes about something the rest of the sports world covered three days ago: the “Black Olympics.” Here’s his pseudo-Fredian opening sentence:

There’s a backup tight end for the Dallas Cowboys who is doing everything he can possibly do to invite self-promotional controversy.

Wait… if we just change “backup tight end for the Dallas Cowboys” to “mediocre columnist for the Star,” then… oh my! Self-loathing, thy name is Whitlock!

Anyway, he’s typically indignant about the hypocrisy still prevalent in an allegedly post-racial America. And he’s typically lazy in his writing, especially when it comes to the totally unsurprising use of self-referential racial stereotypes:

I am not easily offended. Perhaps it’s my size and affinity for food, but I take virtually no offense to good-naturedly delivered jokes about food stereotypes. Everybody I know — black or white — loves properly seasoned fried chicken. Watermelon is extremely healthy and very tasty. And it wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I kicked my Kool-Aid habit.

Hasn’t this become boilerplate in columns about race? You bring up the subject, make a self-mocking comment, and then recite an unimaginative triad of easily mocked stereotypes. Yawn. How about doing something new, Jason? Or — god forbid! — how about writing about, you know, sports? Or at least sports sans racism? Please? Just once?

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Filed under Jason Whitlock, Media, Sports