20 Questions for the Post

Proving that journalists can take the fun out of any fun game (think whenever we decide to psychoanalyze beer pong), the Post’s Deputy AME/Style Steve Reiss plays 20 Questions with his own newspaper.

One of the better ones:

    Is there a connection between civic politeness and totally lame senses of humor? (5) That guest column in Sports by Seattle’s Steve Kelley makes Kornheiser look like freakin’ Shakespeare. “Worried that the Bush administration’s domestic eavesdropping policy is getting out of control, [the Seahawks coach] will have his headsets swept for bugs before Saturday’s game.” Stop, you’re killing me. No, really.

Read the full critique after the jump…


20 Questions About Today’s Washington Post

Is no one in the metropolitan area outraged by the severance package given to Richard White, the fired Metro chief executive? (1) The man just got six figures a year FOR LIFE and he’s 53 years old. Who on the Metro board negotiated this giveaway of public money? (2) And then they hand over the job to one of their fellow board members, a man “widely hailed as one of the most talented managers in D.C. government.” (Talk about a low bar.) Apart from his willingness to ride the Metro and his success in negotiating an agreement to fund bus shelter construction, it’s a little hard to see why this guy is the obvious candidate to take over one of the biggest public transportation systems in the country. Can you say “cronyism,” boys and girls? (3)

Like some previous posters to this site, I’m weirded out by the mug shots of the recently departed in the Metro rail. They appear to be floating in some heavenly, albeit partly cloudy, realm. What are we going to do when the obit is about someone who is headed in the other direction? (4)

Is there a connection between civic politeness and totally lame senses of humor? (5) That guest column in Sports by Seattle’s Steve Kelley makes Kornheiser look like freakin’ Shakespeare. “Worried that the Bush administration’s domestic eavesdropping policy is getting out of control, [the Seahawks coach] will have his headsets swept for bugs before Saturday’s game.” Stop, you’re killing me. No, really.

Deeper in the Sports section, we learn that there’s videotape clearly showing Sean Taylor spitting at one of the Tampa Bay Bucs during last Saturday’s game. Did I miss the Redskins coaches and executives condemning this inexcusable behavior and imposing their own penalties? (6) And when does Taylor describe how studly it is to spit on someone and then lie about it? (7) We’re supposed to root FOR this guy? (8)

We get two facing color pages inside the A section with only one ad between them. And how do we use them? (9) Three tiny pictures, one middling sized picture and the only color is a green tie and a red tie set against the dark suits of two senators. Oh, and a tiny bit of red in the key to washingtonpost.com.

I found the graphic about the deaths at the hajj to be more confusing than helpful. The key part is the depiction of the area around the three Jamarat pillars. So what are those green outlines in the graphic? (10) What do “upper level” and “lower level” refer to? (11) I can’t picture it.

Worried about how the U.S. is handling things in Iraq? (12) Don’t skip Ann Scott Tyson’s little story at the bottom of A17 (Motto: Your Second Front Page), in which the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff declares that there was no problem with inadequate armor for the troops. “We had people thinking about the right things,” quoth he. Don’t you feel better now? (13)

Day after day, Business does a great job of creating a centerpiece out of stories that have no obvious visual elements. Today’s layout on hotel lobbies was trying too hard, though. Who is that man who’s trying to shake my hand? (14) And what’s going on in those 2 ½ images next to him? (15)

“Swan Lake” comes in many versions, but isn’t that a picture of Icarus in front of the sun on Weekend’s Page 3? (16) Was I the only one surprised to see an ad for Jerry Lee Lewis performing theoretically live at Strathmore? (17) Something tells me he can’t climb all over the piano like he used to.

Does the Post have the best collection of critics in the country or what? (18) What a treat to have Ann Hornaday, Robin Givhan and Tim Page all on the same page. And inside, Steve Hunter and Peter Marks — talk about bonuses. Do we need further evidence that all television executives are going to hell? (19) Read Lisa de Moraes’ column about “God or the Girl,” a “docu-drama” about young men apparently trying to decide between the priesthood and hooters. Guess which side is featured in the preview clips? (20)