Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Slimming Down and Dumbing Down

By Paul

In case you missed it, CBS News was caught slenderizing Katie Couric in a magazine piece. Take a look. The real Katie (left) and the photo-shopped Katie (right).

Now, I don't want to pick on the perky-but-trying-to-be-grave CBS anchor-lady, but here's how she opened her broadcast a few days ago when storms were battering Oregon and Washington:

"We begin tonight in the upper left-hand corner of the country..."


"Upper left-hand corner?"

Does CBS think we're too stupid to understand the word "northwest?" Now, I know most high school students couldn't find Spain on a map if they had Penelope Cruz helping them. But c'mon, CBS. The median age of your viewers is 60. Your advertisers know this and hawk the oldsters Prilosec, Viagra and Cialis. It's not necessary to dumb down the news for them, Katie. They actually learned geography in school, along with conjugating vebs, punctuation, and basic grammar.

And speaking of dumbing down...


"You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test."


"Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream."


"Will the highways on the Internet become more few?"

But that's enough from W.


"Solomon vs. Lord" was just published in Japan, and I'm startled to learn that Steve Solomon (a) smokes and (b) wears a wedding band, and (c) has a manly jaw.

The Japanese publisher released the book with two separate covers, one with a Solomon photo and one picturing Victoria Lord.

Whether we're writing or reading, we all draw our own pictures of the characters. How many times have you gone to the movies and been disappointed (or shocked) by the casting? (Does anyone remember Elliot Gould playing Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe?)

I have my own mental images of Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord. I'm certain that's not my Steve on the cover, but the Victoria photo is pretty close.



  1. Paul, I think Steve looks just fine. The cigarette? Okay, maybe not, but I don't think that's a wedding ring he's wearing. It looks like a Dick Tracy secret decoder ring to me. Congrats on the Japanese publication of your book!

  2. "You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test."

    You give a child a book and he'll have something to stick in his backpack. Teach a child to read and someday he'll be able to buy your books...

    I don't know, just doesn't have that same "teach a man to fish" kind of ring to it, does it?

    Who knew that Idiot began with a W?

    And if I may for just a moment quote Ted Koppell on The Daily Show: "We know that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and we had the receipts to prove it."

    Mark Terry

  3. I'm with Patty on that being a Dick Tracy secret decoder ring--probably with wi-fi and voicemail. I wonder if wedding rings are worn on the left hand in Japan? I Googled but couldn't figure it out. How cool to have Japanese editions, too! Congrats!!

    I wonder if they'll track which version of the cover sells the greater number of copies? That would be an interesting stat to know...

  4. Paul,

    Congratulations on the Japanese versions of your book!

    Yep, I think it's a decoder ring too. Or a secret camera/email thingie - they make them that small in Japan and probably didn't want the Steve in the photo to be embarrassingly behind the times.

    Mark, you're a trick. Your comment tickled my funny bone. Didn't you know: W announced that we're going back to the Moon because that's where W thinks the Iraqi's stashed the missing WMDs.


  5. No, no, no. Everyone knows that the WMD's were smuggled out to Syria and Iran. Tsk. Tsk.

    Yes, I'd comment on the eerie resemblance of Victoria Lord to a certain mother-in-law photo, but my mind is playing tricks on me as to exactly whose mother-in-law that was...and I certainly wouldn't want to start any wild accusations flying between the wonderful authors here. :)

    It's really time for some chicken soup.

  6. Even if they don't quite match your imaginings, those covers are pretty darn cool! I hope someday I can see my titles in Japanese. :)