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Patrick Crewdson - student, Auckland

Sunday, April 18, 2004

The fun is trying to guess when you play Guess Who

At Fighting Talk we're pretty brazen about self-publicity. As a twentysomething with very little gold and no pager, I consider it practically my duty to namedrop myself whenever possible. But when I do so, I'm open about it.

Guess where this is from:

Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings: "ham-fisted, shallow, bombastic, and laughably overrated," says one critic. "But don't get me wrong" ... more
The 'one critic' was Denis Dutton, in the Herald, the Press, The Austalian, and the LA Times. The quote above is from Arts & Letters Daily, a website edited by ... Denis Dutton.

Why the anonymity? Even if Dutton didn't write that particular intro (judging by who readers are invited to email links to, it was probably managing editor Tran Huu Dung), why introduce an article by the site's editor as being by 'one critic'? The inference I draw is that A&L Daily would like Dutton's column to have 'must-read' status, and whoever posted the link thought that identifying the author would undermine that by making it look like naked self-publicity. Which it is.

Of course, it's not a major transgression - but it is a little odd. Amusingly enough, another of Dutton's articles - World's Worst Editing Guide - is listed among A&L Daily's 'Classics'.

On an unrelated note, one young journalist seriously underestimated the sheer commerce of this weekend's Armageddon pulp culture expo. Virtually the entire Aotea Centre was for sale. Still, at least I managed to avoid the cliches TVNZ used in their Friday night news coverage. Early on they employed a "not the end of the world" gag, which is a lazy reference and also plainly wrong. I was prepared to forgive that though - it's a common mistake, even if it is the same joke they used last year - but then the reporter concluded with the truly, madly, deeply lamentable pun "Armageddon outta here". As a member of the key demographic, I was aghast.

Which brings me to Serial Killers - did you see it? (If not, you won't have understood, but that last seque turned clevely on the word 'demographic'.) It was genuinely funny. It's great to see old Lionel back on TV (in a show that isn't Spin Doctors), and even the usually wet Dean O'Gorman was put to good use as half of a hilarious conversation about the narrative-enhancing possibilities of a jeep. After one episode, they've got a fan in me.