65 Precious Minutes of Absolute Torture

Oh Ben Smith — how could you?

The “Bloggingheads, 2010” conversation between Politico‘s Ben Smith and Slate‘s Dave Weigel on bloggingheads.TV is the awkward journalistic experience of late Tuesday afternoon and perhaps the year. They discuss 2010 and make predictions for covering the year ahead.

Is Weigel trying to be a weatherman? Dressed in a sloppy blue sweatshirt, he takes to the blogosphere airwaves and initially tries to make some sense of the New York snowstorm. Amidst a flurry of blinks, at approximately 4:43 Weigel has a bizarre water sipping moment where he misses on the first try and guzzles again. The casualness of the interview makes a viewer wonder,  might he eat a ham sandwich or take a bathroom break mid-interview?

17:31: Really horrible uncomfortable pause. 20:19: Childrens’ voices chatter in the background. 20:50: Another seriously awkward moment arises when they trip over each other. “Yeah, go ahead,” Weigel says after a priceless WTF look from Smith. Some 40 minutes to go. I fear watching this in its entirety might give me nightmares. 24:49: Weigel brings up the infamous Journolist that got him canned (he officially resigned) from WaPo. He speaks about Palm Beach GOP congressional candidate and now Congressman Allen West. “His campaign realized at some point that it was a good idea to not talk to journalists who might write critical things about him,” and amused Weigel mused. “His campaign manager made it pretty clear that, you know, the fact that I was involved with Ezra Klein’s email list made it so they couldn’t trust me to write about the guy, so good luck with you getting an interview.” (As most know, Smith was on Journolist too.) 25:40: Weigel takes a weird non-sip of soda through a straw but snatches it away at the last minute. No sip. 40:40 Weigel takes a long, substantial sip of soda. 48:50 Smith uses the word “shellacked.” 52:38: Weigel says he doesn’t want to be “saintly” and avoid writing stories that will hail online traffic, but doesn’t necessarily want to cover the Obama fringe. “Somewhere your Slate masters are wincing,” Smith says with a grin. 56:07 Weigel’s final long sip of soda.

Both stand in front of respective bookshelves — Smith’s backdrop looks more old house; Weigel prefers college dorm room style.

Smith is more eloquent and decently well-kempt in a dark jacket, light blue button-down shirt, no tie. Still, the show is awkward and hideously long, and I tortured myself by watching the entire thing — twice, to the point of wanting to yank on Weigel’s sweatshirt strings. The friendship and professional respect between the men is sincere and somewhat touching. But thumbs way down on this one, boys.

Want to see? Watch here.