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January 28, 2009 | DAVID SARNO
In his new book, "Snark," David Denby dons a lab coat and rubber gloves and plays taxonomist with the kind of odious and repellent writing the Web has come to produce in such volume. Denby, who is a film critic for the New Yorker, makes a point that many online readers might readily agree with: There's a lot of writing out there that's pointlessly mean, cheap, empty and thoughtless -- and it's getting old. But the book goes further, suggesting that snarky bloggers, journalists and commenters have become a kind of intellectual scourge that's "ruining our conversation" -- and it's this more damning claim that deserves scrutiny.
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ENTERTAINMENT
March 25, 2009 | DAVID SARNO
Leo Laporte became a Twitter quitter last year. The host of one of Silicon Valley's most popular podcasts was none too excited that of all the names in the world, the burgeoning message service had picked one that was piercingly close to home. The online broadcasting network that Laporte owns and runs out of his house in Petaluma is called TwiT.tv, after the company's flagship show, "This Week in Tech." The rise of Twitter has long been a favorite topic of conversation on TWiT, and with an audience of around 150,000, Laporte found himself in a strange pickle: The more he talked about Twitter on his show, the more followers he accrued -- and the more publicity he gave his brand rival.
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NEWS
June 26, 2008
Web Scout: In some copies of Tuesday's Calendar section, the Web Scout column misspelled the last name of YouTube personality Lucas Cruikshank's business manager, James Dolin, as Dolan.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 14, 2009 | DAVID SARNO
Here's a funny question: Did you pay to read this? It's funny because it has two obvious and opposite answers. If you're at your kitchen table holding The Times' Calendar section, then of course you paid. On the other hand, if you're reading this on your home computer or office workstation, then of course you didn't pay. Everyone knows reading news online is free. It's so rigidly free, in fact, that most newspapers (including this one) that have tried to charge for their content have found such efforts to be a bit like pulling the sword from the stone.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 4, 2008 | DAVID SARNO
Those Times readers more accustomed to the soothing, unhurried feel of this column in newsprint may have yet to discover that we here at Web Scout headquarters also maintain an eponymous blog. Our online incarnation is a lean, mean potpourri of news, culture and cat videos from across the World Wide Web, and these last few days have been particularly oddity-filled ones online. Though I'd like to say our most widely read Web Scout blog entry was the meditation on Net neutrality or the breaking coverage of an online security breach at telecommunications giant Comcast, the numbers tell a different story.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 12, 2008 | DAVID SARNO, Sarno is a Times staff writer.
Magic Johnson went on Larry King last Wednesday evening. King asked him what he thought of the election. "Oh man. Last night I cried like a baby, Larry." Magic? Crying? Is Mercury in retrograde or something? Then Will Smith went on Oprah. "Did you cry?" Oprah asked. "Did you cry? Did you cry?" (She had cried in front of millions during President-elect Obama's election night speech, so presumably she wanted to know if Smith, an action hero, was in the Crybaby Club.) He was. And then there was Jesse Jackson.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 1, 2008 | David Sarno and Mario Russo, Times Staff Writers
Over the last half-decade, enterprising Web auteurs have created -- and we're ballparking, but this feels right -- hundreds of original Internet TV series. There are production companies that churn them out, websites that warehouse them, and vast armies of amateurs who own a camera and aren't afraid to use it. But from that crowded landscape of Web TV shows, who among us can name more than, we don't know, two? Even the standouts -- "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog," "Pink," "You Suck at Photoshop" -- fade quick: When an entire season of a Web show adds up to fewer minutes than one episode of "True Blood," the chance to make a lasting impression is fleeting indeed.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 30, 2008 | DAVID SARNO
We already know this is the year of the first "YouTube election," where the most reliable place to find the latest footage everyone was talking about was no longer CNN, Fox News or the broadcast networks but rather from one of 10 dozen websites that undoubtedly already had the clip parsed, posted and ready for inhalation. The Web has become a political junkie's cornucopia, overflowing with excerpts of every kind. If you're like me, you yearn for the good old days, when October meant being bombarded with a small number of expensive political advertisements -- the ones that just told us what to believe already, so we didn't have to waste time figuring it out. But all is not lost.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 11, 2008 | DAVID SARNO
On some bright, parched morning back in the Old West, folks must have heard grumbling as a boy nailed a list of new town laws to the wall of the saloon. And when they saw the sheriff and his fresh-faced deputies looking on with a satisfied grin, that's probably when they knew the West wasn't going to be so wild anymore. A similar scene has been playing out digitally at YouTube, the Internet's video town square. In addition to its long-standing campaign to crack down on illegally copied material, in September the site outlawed videos depicting drug abuse and last week tightened its guidelines further to restrict profanity and sexually suggestive content.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 11, 2008 | DAVID SARNO
On some bright, parched morning back in the Old West, folks must have heard grumbling as a boy nailed a list of new town laws to the wall of the saloon. And when they saw the sheriff and his fresh-faced deputies looking on with a satisfied grin, that's probably when they knew the West wasn't going to be so wild anymore. A similar scene has been playing out digitally at YouTube, the Internet's video town square. In addition to its long-standing campaign to crack down on illegally copied material, in September the site outlawed videos depicting drug abuse and last week tightened its guidelines further to restrict profanity and sexually suggestive content.
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