BY AMY Z. QUINN Like time, news waits for no man. Keeping up with the funny papers has always been an all-day job, even in the pre-Internets era. These days, however, it’s a two-man job. That’s right, these days you need someone to do your reading for you, or risk falling hopelessly behind and, as a result, increasing your chances of dying lonely and somewhat bitter. That’s why every week, PAPERBOY does your alt-weekly reading for you. We pore over those time-consuming cover stories and give you the takeaway, suss out the cover art, warn you off the ink-wasters and steer you towards the gooey center. Why? Because we love you!
ON THE COVERS
CITY PAPER: This week’s cover, “How We Work,” is an interesting, if not altogether weighty, look at the ways in which Philadelphians ply their trades, whether feeding bats on the post-graveyard shift at the Philadelphia Zoo or — even creepier — practicing corporate law. Our favorite? A peek inside the kitchen at David’s Mai Lah Wah, from whence many a late-night, soak-up-the-booze plate of dumplings has sprung. Truth be told we’ve always been kinda scared of the dude, but as he says, “you get used to it.”
OK, so packages like this aren’t going to win anybody a Pulitzer, but they do serve a good purpose by getting reporters into the florist’s shop, or on the dock with the longshoremen, or in front of the fryers in Chinatown at 2 in the morning, any of which is ultimately better than in the office. Now, somebody fetch me a spring roll.
PHILADELPHIA WEEKLY: A look at the single best source of man-on-the-street interviews in town, the Metro, once the step-child of the city’s race for daily newspaper’s readers, and now the little paper that could. Includes a quote from former staffer Chris Baud, an old friend and (and former co-worker) of mine, who hung in at the Metro until things got ridiculous.
When editorial decisions started coming out of New York, frustrated Philadelphia staffers started leaving the paper. “New York felt we had too many crime stories, and that ongoing violence wasn’t really a big story in Philadelphia,” says Chris Baud, who did stints as news, entertainment and
sports editor during his three years at the Metro. “It’s hard to imagine what could be more important to Philadelphia readers than the chronicling of its horrific crime problem.”
Agreed. And while we like the idea of a young, energetic newspaper staffed by young, energetic reporters and editors, the type who “get it,” whatever that means, quotes like “We have news in the paper so readers can do well in quizzo” give us pause, even if it was supposed to be a joke and made by the entertainment editor. So now, after suffering the same ups and downs as just about every other print media outlet in business, rumors are swirling that Philly’s Metro might be for sale. Though nobody should be holding their breath waiting for a buyout offer from 400 N. Broad St.
INSIDE THE BOOK
CP: Why don’t we “get” molecular gastronomy? Is it because we believe a fresh tomato, redolent of earth and sunshine, is always going to be better than a tomato foam, even if the foam in question is the prettiest pink color. Or is it because in college, we had a freaky boyfriend named Ted who was into making special-effects and used sodium alginate to make horrific, rubbery masks — not caviar? Either way, we like the fact that Philly’s foodies are finding practical uses for what seems (to many) just another way to play with food. Faking one’s way through the Olympic table-tennis trials; Bruce Schimmel wonders how willing the new mayor is to right the last mayor’s wrongs.
PW: Feeding the homeless on MLK Day; defending Kate Nash (though we’re not sure why, especially after Sasha Frere-Jones dismantled her in last week’s New Yorker, but whatevs!). True story: This past Monday, I sat next to a duo in a Queen Village coffee shop. They were both Mexican and the guy was was visiting his sister, who lives here now. The highlight of the conversation was listening to him read last week’s “Ask A Mexican” to her, in Spanish. He thought it was hilarious, she was nonplussed, the whole thing was bizarre.
WINNER: You, dear reader. You are the winner.