in Austin and National Media 1. Independence Day. We love reading the West Austin News, but are a bit puzzled by an item in the January 18 edition tagging it "your only locally owned and operated newspaper." Oh, really? And when did the rest of us get bought out?
2. Noam Grunge. Who is the most current recording project of legendary pop-music producer Don Was? That would be 67-year-old M.I.T. linguistics professor (and media critic) Noam Chomsky, whose essays and lectures are being mixed with original music from top alternative acts. One track, featuring the music of X, is already completed. Was hopes to enlist R.E.M., Pearl Jam, and various others in the project, which may eventually result in a benefit album for Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting. Plans for a full-fledged tour have yet to be released.
3. Prurient Interests. The amount of press attention focused on Cindy Garcia, the erstwhile 10-year-old (err, make that 14) Houston girl allegedly impregnated by her 22-year-old boyfriend, once again reveals that the distinction between the mainstream media and supermarket tabloids is no more than a very thin line.
4. Howard's End. Hot Air, the new book about the state of broadcast journalism penned by Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz, includes these words of insight from shock-jock Howard Stern: "Penis out of my mouth is bad. But penis out of (Phil) Donahue's mouth is good. Donahue can say he's talking about penis because he wants to help people and I'm talking about penis because I want ratings. Bullshit! Donahue talks about penis in November because he wants big sweeps." How profound.
5. Bodies in Motion. The January 24 edition of The New York Times ran a six-paragraph story about Julie Campbell, who has announced her resignation from Sports Illustrated after 32 years of editing the magazine's ever-popular swimsuit issue. Curiously absent from that day's edition was any news on Hugh Hefner, Bob Guccione, or Larry Flynt.
6. The Man Who Would be King. Filling the "What I Would Do If I Was President" column in this month's issue of George is Dallas Cowboy owner Jerry Jones. You mean he's not already president? -- Hugh Forrest