The view from Sacramento: dispatches from FishbowlNY’s Foreign Correspondent

New York bots

press.jpgLike many major media corporations singlemindedly pursuing total world domination, FishbowlNY has decided to globalize our existing operations. To that end, we’re adding a Foreign Correspondent, which brings our staff to three. (Four if you include FishbowlNY Obesity Correspondent and Men’s Fitness Editor-in-Chief, Neal Boulton.)

But New York being the center of the universe, we see no real need to cover anything that happens outside of the five boroughs. So rather than sending our Foreign Correspondent to far-flung locales to report on media people in said far-flung locales, we’re sending him off to far-flung locales to report on media people in New York.

Without further ado, we’re pleased to introduce FishbowlNY Foreign Correspondent, Sacramento Is The New New York—or “SAC” for short. [Translation: we don’t know his real name.] We’re starting him off slow by having him cover New York bloggers, and when he’s ready to deal with the maelstrom of discontent and ego confusion that is New York old media, we’ll have him take a crack at the Barry Dillers and Mort Zuckermans.

SAC’s initial investigations seemed to indicate that the New York bloggers are merely badly scripted computer programs (“bots,” he said) that generate random textual outputs and, occasionally, photos of cats. We pointed out that were this true, it would mean that he was now in the employ of a piece of software—and badly scripted software, at that—but he had his fingers in his ears and was loudly singing a song with the somewhat odd refrain, “I can’t heeeeear yoooou…”

SAC’s first dispatch, following last week’s events:

kottke2.jpgWill blog for food: Jason Kottke™ has short-circuited, running a stored procedure wherein it quit its day job in favor of working on its blog full-time. In order to do so, the Kottke mechanism has asked its readers to help sustain itself in perpituity. It even randomly generated an adorable banner that you can place on your blog (you do have one, don’t you?) to show your solidarity with this brave pioneer. Also, the Kottke is wondering if it can crash on your couch for “a few days, tops and, oh yeah, I drank that six-pack that was in the fridge, it was like, waay in the back so I figured you didn’t want it.” I suggest that Kottke get himself pregnant and whore out his sure-to-be adorable belly for advertising dollars.

This phenomenon is not without precedent, as proto-bot Andrew Sullivan attempted the same algorithim sometime last year, with mixed results. I say mixed because then it will sound like I have some thoughful insight into Sullivan when in fact, I haven’t ever read a single word he’s written. I’m not kidding. But I hear that that he can benchpress, like, 500 pounds or something, so don’t tell him I said anything. I don’t want him to lift almost 3 of me into the air. At least, not without a spotter.

This move has caused a shockwave throughout NYC. People are scrambling to make sense of this, each person dealing with it in their own, unique way. Some have jumped on the Kottke bandwagon and shown their support monetarily, while others have quietly given up blogging althogether. The reaction here in Sacramento can be summed up in the following interaction I had with the bakery girl at Safeway this morning:

Me: Do you have any chocolate old-fashioned?

Bakery Girl: Not yet, they’ll be out in about 10 minutes.

Me: That’s cool, I’ll just grab a glazed instead.

Bakery Girl: (blank stare)