June 8, 2008

"The Couch"? Is that a place where you can go swingin' on the flippity flop?

Glenn Reynolds writes:
IT MAY NOT HAVE BEEN ACCURATE, but it was smart! Allison Glock's New York Times piece on Knoxville contained this introduction: "KNOXVILLE is often called 'the couch' by the people who live there. It’s a place too unassuming to shout about but too comfortable to leave." That's a nice intro, but nobody in Knoxville can remember ever hearing it called "the couch." But thanks to that bit, Glock's story is the most-blogged item in the Times at the moment. My advice to travel writers -- always open your point with a minor error that's sure to get under local bloggers' skins, and watch your traffic and rankings soar!
Oh, if only we could have been blogging back in 1992, when the New York Times published the ludicrous "Grunge: A Success Story," by Rick Marin:

All subcultures speak in code; grunge is no exception. Megan Jasper, a 25-year-old sales representative at Caroline Records in Seattle, provided this lexicon of grunge speak, coming soon to a high school or mall near you:

WACK SLACKS: Old ripped jeans

FUZZ: Heavy wool sweaters

PLATS: Platform shoes

KICKERS: Heavy boots


BOUND-AND-HAGGED: Staying home on Friday or Saturday night

SCORE: Great



DISH: Desirable guy


LAMESTAIN: Uncool person

TOM-TOM CLUB: Uncool outsiders

ROCK ON: A happy goodbye
Of course, Megan Jasper was just horsing around — she made the whole thing up — and the New York Times fell for it. You'd think, after all the embarrassment, they'd be really careful about reporting slang.

CORRECTION: (Just when I'm pointing out mistakes!) I've corrected the spelling of Marin's name.


Trooper York said...

Journalists, dumb as rocks. And just as useful. If you’re building a wall. Otherwise, not so much.

Steven said...

Ann, didn't you suggest something like this once as a way to get law review citations? Make a semi-plausible argument for a semi-plausible thesis and watch the rest of the academy write articles explaining what's wrong with your paper?

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, good memory s. But I wouldn't recommend making factual errors or miscitations.

Freder Frederson said...

"minor error"? that's a major error. I lived in Knoxville for six months and couldn't get out of that hell on earth fast enough. The only redeeming value it has is the scenery is gorgeous. But if you go just a few miles further east or south it is even more beautiful.

The only worse place I can think of is Chattanooga.

knox said...

That's a nice intro, but nobody in Knoxville can remember ever hearing it called "the couch."

I've certainly never heard it called that; sometimes you hear that cliche: "it's a big small town" or "a small town disguised as a city" ... that sort of thing.

knox said...

It was a pretty decent article otherwise, IMO. Hit the main highlights.

Ralph L said...

gob nobbler = loser
nob gobbler = something else

George M. Spencer said...

Until a few years ago, the words "Jesus Is Lord Over Knoxville" emblazoned the side of a downtown warehouse. I mean painted in four-story high letters. Big. This message greeted all those who exited the interstate coming downtown.

Knoxville also has a designated "Preacher's Corner" on one of the main downtown street corners. (Or it used to.) Indeed, every day, men with Bibles come, and, sir, they do preach the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. And they do so loudly unto the heavens.

The scenery's great, the people are friendly, the taxes are low, and the hushpups are hot, but if anyone reading this is thinking about loading the Love Bus and moving to K-town, it's a fur piece from Madison, Wi., or Cambridge, Mass.

It is a law-and-order town, not unlike Erwin, Tennessee, whose sheriff hanged Mary, the elephant.

Unknown said...

Knoxville is on my list of bigot cities never to visit.

jeff said...

With a little luck, EVERY city is on DTL's list not to visit. I'm not sure if there is a city out there that isn't just a little bit bigoted towards assholes.