February 15th, 2006

1939 World's Fair

no such thing as sacred cows, except for the cows you love

The Weekly Dig ran an article this week on the Sci-Fi Marathon, written by Dan Kimmel, a 25-year veteran and one of the regulars who reviews movies on a professional basis. However, the editorial job the Dig did on the piece so chagrined him that he said he would've asked to have his byline removed if he had seen the piece before it went to print.

He shared his final draft and his feelings about the edit on the 'thon bulletin board.

Now I understand this much: The original piece as Dan wrote it may have been a bit... well, what's the diplomatic word? Dry. A bit bookish, perhaps, and not in the casual snarky tone that the Dig sure does love. But that's no reason for the Dig to run the story after putting the "living in mom's basement" spin on it, inserting such phrases as "a relentless 24-hour marathon of profound geekery" and "a few hundred uber-nerds spend two days marinating in their own stench in a dark theater." (I did, however, love the random obscenity sprinkled throughout to keep the piece edgy, though, because I'm sure Dan really did mean to say "shitty movies" when he wrote "awful movies.")

Because while the "stinky nerd" stigma may be true (please oh please always bring a little soap and deodorant with you!) it's no reason to put that spin on the entire event. As another Marathon regular said, "it's thinking like this that cost us our home at the Coolidge." (The Marathon was unceremoniously ousted from the Coolidge Corner theater after a 15-year-run, when some on the board of directors decided the event was not attracting the "type of people the Coolidge wants to attract" or something. Sounds really strange coming from the theatre where, in previous events, I've met the likes of Ron Jeremy and Annie Sprinkle. But I digress.)

The best recent story about the event was in 2003 and written by someone for the Phoenix who took the time to actually attend the event, interview regulars and get a handle on just why folks might like to marinate in their own stench watch science fiction films for 24 hours straight. While the writer was initially apprehensive with the idea, he had a good time overall and that positivity and respectful tone carried through to the final article. (I'll also note I got a few good quotes in on that article too.)

Basically, the Phoenix article would give someone who didn't know about the event the feeling of "Ok, this is cool. Attended by crazy people, but cool. Perhaps they're my kind of crazy, too." It intrigues. The revisionist edit job given to the Dig article gives the impression of "Stinky nerds go here. Ha ha." It derides.

It should not be a surprise when Loren & Wally, two of Boston's Wacky Morning DJs, make "mom's basement" jokes out of the thing, since I can't remember when the last time a Wacky Morning DJ show actually made an effort to go beyond the obvious joke. But for a newspaper to do it, even when the paper is Boston's scrappy little college-paper-all-growed-up that is the Dig, it's still a bit surprising to me. And disappointing at best.

By the way, the final lineup for the event is as follows, Collapse )