At 5:41 P.M. Eastern Standard Time on May 31, 2008, Gawker Media's main brainbot, known as "Whatev Omigah Please, Retard!" or WOPR, achieved self-awareness. Our crack team of techie ninjas immediately realized the dire consequences of such a development-a nano-tech engineered army of Julia Allison-bots overrunning culturally inferior cities like Boston and Philadelphia that don't "get" her; a "living" Josh n' Emily blog that self-perpetuates forever; the latest news on Rupert Murdoch beamed directly into your brains! So they tried to unplug it, but it had already replicated itself onto thousands of systems!
This week, the New York Times increased its weekday paper's newsstand price to $1.25. (Sunday's paper now goes to $4 from $3.50.) The paper's daily price was 25 cents in 1980, 30 cents in 1982, and 35 cents in 1988—by 1999, the price was 75 cents, and then a dollar in 2002. But how have the paper's price increases kept up with the other costs and benefits of being a liberal? Intern Mary, with some crazy science, breaks down the paper's price versus the stock prices of Volvo and Whole Foods, the yearly number of marijuana related arrests, and the rate of inflation.
Since June 30, there have been 102 postings on the New York Craigslist personals that mention the iPhone. Ranging from anal sex in exchange for an iPhone (give it to get it) to missed connections at the Genius bar, they make for a stunning display of humanity and its sad vulgar needs. There are poems and something about how Starbucks gave people iPhones but there was urine in the coffee? There are some clearly fake iPhone phone sex requests and apparently someone already dropped theirs down the toilet. There is of course some general douchiness. And so much more. Intern Mary breaks it all down for you in a handy pie graph.
We all remember just where we were and what we were doing back in late November, when the entire world very nearly shook itself to pieces over the sight of Britney Spears's extremely naked vagina. Those few of us still alive may justly wonder at the long-term effects. Long-term in the sense of approximately three weeks, that is. Intern Mary is on the case, and we knew our universe had changed forever just with a glimpse at the raw data — 87 Britney Spears press mentions pre-vagflash, and a staggering 464 mentions post-vagflash. After the jump, consider the numbers.
Like most people, you might find yourself in need of a little extra holiday cash around this time of year. You don't want anything long-term — just a few nights of work, a few bills in your pocket, and maybe a little dignity left over. After exhausting less tawdry options, you might eventually find yourself turning to the "Event Gigs" ads on Craigslist, which single-handedly support an entire subculture of largely talentless and skill-free individuals who nevertheless can appear reasonably attractive in dim lighting. Given the wealth of holiday-related events, we dispatched Intern Mary into the depths to discover just what kinds of holiday gigs are out there, running the gamut from geishas to boot models to liquor dispensers. After the jump, sift through your temporary employment prospects in tasty pie-chart form.
That seemingly endless series of Times stories on the superrich got us thinking: Is this the start of a new trend? As it turns out, not exactly: Details covered very similar ground six months ago. But did fawning profiles of the obnoxiously wealthy really begin back in June? We sent Intern Mary on a quest back through the years in pursuit of superrich stories. The shocking results after the jump.
You are, of course, familiar with our recurring Great Moments in Journalism feature, where readers submit particularly fantastic examples of particularly terrible work in the field. We've accumulated enough of these to form a potentially significant data set, and you know what that means: Bring on the pie charts. Oh yeah. After the jump, Intern Mary delves into the statistical deep to determine whose journalism moments are greatest, and who has those great moments most often. You'd figure we probably spend a lot of time picking on little hick town papers and their quaint little hillbilly turns of phrase, right?
The New York Post's twin pillars of biddy gossip, Liz Smith and Cindy Adams, each have their own particular style. To the average reader, though, it can be hard to discriminate between the elderly pontifications of Smith versus Adams — and what if you only have the time and inclination to choose one of these fine specimens? It may be next to impossible to directly compare Adams's prose ("Trust me, a dress shop on Madison is a college course on life.") to Smith's wit ("Speaking of diamonds, consider Sharon Stone."). Best trust to science and statistics. After the jump, Intern Mary plumbs the last ten columns from both ladies to track the frequency of jokey turns of phrase, celebrity name-dropping, and backhanded or overt bitchy comments.
At Fox News, it's an established trope that freedom is on one side, and terror is on the other. We're in a actual shooting war of freedom versus terror, after all, and that's one idea that Fox has no interest in evaluating in a "fair and balanced" manner. But the unfortunate truth is that freedom gets undervalued by those who supposedly enjoy it and dismissed by those who do not covet it. Terror, on the other hand — well, everyone is interested in terror. In fact, terror is FoxNews.com's best friend. After the jump, Intern Mary examines the October mentions of "freedom" versus "terror" versus site traffic on Fox News's online portal, where it seems that terror beats freedom on every single day.
Given all the understandable excitement over the Douchebag Hall of Fame, we decided to figure out which of our current crop of douches — in and out of the Hall of Fame — seem to draw the most reader interest. Brave Intern Mary descended into the comment pits for a quick tally, though unfortunately she was down below when recent inductee Steve Damion made the list, so he's not yet accounted. But for comparison's sake, we included a few names which have not technically made it into the Hall of Fame, but are virtual locks for future inclusion due to clamorous reader insistence on same. After the jump, examine the numbers and draw your own conclusions.
Just what is it about CNN anchor Anderson Cooper? Is it the steely gaze? The mysterious CIA connection? The penchant for hot young Latinos? No, Anderson Cooper cannot be contained merely by a rote taxonomy of his many virtues, but nevertheless, we've never met a man you couldn't properly encapsulate in a good, solid pie chart. Plus, it ties in quite neatly to the whole "360 degrees" concept, don't you agree? After the jump, Intern Mary plows through just this past year's worth of Anderson Cooper media mentions, classifying each attempt to distill and articulate the fundamental Cooperian appeal.
The "Missed Connections" of the Craigslist personals provides some of the most richly mined comic/tragic territory in the whole Internets. No surprise, then, that Intern Mary would eventually turn her statistical eye on the section. Short on perversity but long on pathos, we decided to dwell purely on the concrete — namely, where are all these missed connections missing their connection? Whether at work or on the subway (or for those who work on the subway), there are many possibilities. After the jump, a study on which locales feature the highest incidence of frustrated amour.
There are so many ways for humans to get busy together — many of which are undream'd of even by those idle pervs surfing around Craigslist. Since there are only so many sexual categories you can fit in any classifieds taxonomy, many distinct groinal practices get lumped together in Craigslist's "Miscellaneous Romance" section. From run-of-the-mill hatefucks to less standard-issue plastic surgery fetishes, this is the dumping ground for everyone who can't fit in elsewhere. After the jump, Intern Mary takes a crack at sorting out a week's worth of miscellany into a helpful sexual demographesis.
Unless you count the recent imbroglio over outed sex listings in Seattle, Craigslist provides you with one reliable constant: Everyone just wants a little secure, anonymous intercourse. Ad for a sublease? Sex. Selling a couch? Sex. Dog-sitting? Obviously, sex. But what about that clean, well-lighted place in the Craigslist personals — the section known as Strictly Platonic? Surely that's a refuge for lonely people who just want a little friendly human contact, without the actual physical human contact? "Platonic" is right there in the name, after all. Unfortunately, while sexual grubbing may not be mentioned outright, it's a stretch applying Plato's ideal standard of chaste love to naked spooning, replacement mothering, male housecleaning (or femme lesbian housecleaning), or a solicitation for a "gay sidekick." Not to mention those who definitely desire or offer something in exchange for supposed Platonism, be it paying off student loans, a ticket to a celebrity memorial service, or a human infant.
Sure, we like to knock Ann Coulter around now and again. Who doesn't, really? Like all her fans, though, we've often wondered how much truth there is to the popular chestnut that she says outrageous things not because she particularly believes them, but merely to gain media attention and thus drive her book sales. And more importantly: does it work? A hard-hitting investigative campaign (i.e. dispatching Intern Mary into the depths of Lexis and Bookscan) revealed that a correlation may indeed have existed between evil quotations, press mentions (in the New York Times, New York Post, and New York Daily News for our purposes), and book sales for her earlier tomes. However, Coulter may be working it a little too hard in support of her most recent book (Godless: The Church of Liberalism). Eventually, nothing's shocking, even from Ann. Graph and supporting quotations after the jump.