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I just got off the phone with Metro Vancouver's managing editor Fernando Carneiro about this whole Pedobear thing. A few things about this:
  1. I remain stunned and amused that due to a careless bit of journalism in a small town newspaper half a planet away, something I did seven months ago as an off-handed visual critique of the 2010 mascots has garnered this much attention, and
  2. now that it has garnered all this attention, that the Metro is the first and only paper to have contacted me directly by any means at all.
Not that I actually like talking to the press, since, as this whole thing points out with abundant clarity, journalistic integrity and factual accuracy left the building some time around when the Sun Tower was the tallest building in the British Empire (that'd be an exaggeration to those of you out there that don't get sarcasm and hyperbole.)

It's actually been preferable to have the papers that have so far picked up on this just cutting and pasting from my blog. Cut-and-paste makes it a lot less likely for me to be misquoted as I have been in previous encounters with the media, and as I hope I won't be in tomorrow's Metro.

But let's be clear here, nonetheless. The intent of the image in question was as a visual critique. The minute I saw the mascots I noticed the unfortunate resemblance, and I'm not the only one (damn, though, it was hard weeding those out from all the posts related to Gazeta Olsztyńska's mistake!)

The irony is that I was basically pointing out how easy a mistake like this would be. Sometimes when you're right, you're right.

The other interesting thing about this has been watching how this has progressed:

Thursday: The Gazeta Olsztynska makes the mistake; some Internet-savvy Olsztyn locals see the mistake, LOL, and post some satirical demotivational posters.
Friday: I start getting comments, mostly from people in Poland, and I LOL.
Saturday: Other people are LOL-ing right along, and I remain amused, especially by those that are oblivious (that Spanish sports blog as since corrected their mistake, but the evidence remains in the comments - I should have got a screenshot.)
Saturday Evening: Now it is viral. A story about the mistake, with a link here, makes it to #2 on Digg. BoingBoing blogs it.
Sunday: Now things are starting to get stupid. And by things, I mean comments in my blog (which I screen.) But hey, maybe someone is dumb enough to send me money. Didn't work.
Monday: People go back to work and start seeing what happened over the weekend, and the Telegraph UK picks up the story; there is whole new audience.

Now, I'm kind of dreading tomorrow. When the Metro comes out it will end up in the hands of a whole raft of mouth-breathers that won't get it at all and some of them will end up here. You know the type: people who pick up the dailies like the Metro and just leave them on the Skytrain with their not-quite-empty Starbucks cup; people who have AOL accounts; people who don't know the difference between "your" and "you're" (but don't really need to because they write "UR" anyway); people who talk on their cell phone on the bus; people who have a cell phone and an iPod because they don't know they can get a phone that plays MP3s; and people who still think the Olympics are a good thing.

Comments

( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
bigdonthedj
Feb. 9th, 2010 07:03 am (UTC)
Cheers, man
I just want you to know that you are my hero...lol
I saw this before it hit Digg. I sent it to everyone I know. This is really a whirlwind of stupidity on the part of some lazy art thieves at a small newspaper. I hope this doesn't cause you any real trouble.
mbarrick
Feb. 9th, 2010 07:26 am (UTC)
Re: Cheers, man
Brilliant icon. I'm honoured.
dr_hitch
Feb. 9th, 2010 07:58 am (UTC)
Take A+ bro.
That was brilliant.
I believe this epic fail will help to fight mass of "people who...".
cheekydevil
Feb. 9th, 2010 09:24 am (UTC)
Annnd here's the Metro article already! Looks like they were pretty fair in displaying your quotes.
mbarrick
Feb. 9th, 2010 03:38 pm (UTC)
Colour Me Impressed
That *is* a pretty accurate article. And somehow I knew that "If Andy Warhol was alive..." quote would be in there as soon as it came out of my mouth.
(Anonymous)
Feb. 9th, 2010 10:15 am (UTC)
i lol'd
ur my hero!
(Anonymous)
Feb. 9th, 2010 10:47 am (UTC)
Agree.
Pedo bear is pretty much the only thing we aren't paying for.
(Anonymous)
Feb. 9th, 2010 02:18 pm (UTC)
Group hug
A big bear hug from the UK!
(Anonymous)
Feb. 9th, 2010 04:00 pm (UTC)
Re: Group hug
My lolocopter just landed after about half an hour of flying about the place. Now, where did I put that bear......
(Anonymous)
Feb. 9th, 2010 03:18 pm (UTC)
Metro Readers
Best. Description. Ever.
akuma_river
Feb. 9th, 2010 04:10 pm (UTC)
Tuesday: Made it to ontd_political.
_darkpixie_
Feb. 9th, 2010 05:31 pm (UTC)
I think I smell a CafePress Mousepad or mug coming my way!!!!
After all you "OWN" the image.
mbarrick
Feb. 9th, 2010 05:46 pm (UTC)
Actually, no, I don't. It's derivative work from copyrighted material. It's one thing to do something like this in the context of a critique, and quite another to go start selling merch. They'd come down on my just like they did with the "I'm Packing Bud" bumper sticker people back during the bid.
_darkpixie_
Feb. 9th, 2010 06:11 pm (UTC)
Bum-Hair.. would have been funny though
dream_king
Feb. 9th, 2010 06:22 pm (UTC)
I wanted a t-shirt with that on it and Michael gave me the same answer.
tnkgrl
Feb. 9th, 2010 05:46 pm (UTC)
You are such a bitter old man :)
mbarrick
Feb. 9th, 2010 05:48 pm (UTC)
LOL - yeah. I'm still trying to figure out at what point I made the segué from "angry young man."
dream_king
Feb. 9th, 2010 06:24 pm (UTC)
It was the point at which you started to hang out on your front porch with a shotgun yelling "You Bastards, Get the Hell off of My Property" to the neighbourhood children.

I am still waiting for my gun license so that I may join you.
dream_king
Feb. 9th, 2010 06:21 pm (UTC)
Hey Michael,

You are now up on Macleans.ca as a re-post from the Telegraph article, though your name is not actually mentioned.

http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/02/09/creepy-cuddly-olympics/
(Anonymous)
Feb. 9th, 2010 06:22 pm (UTC)
Grammar
If you're going to criticise people for not knowing the difference between "your" and "you're", I feel duty bound to point out your misuse of the apostrophe. They denote possession, not pluralisation. Hence it should be "MP3s" not "MP3's".

p.s. awesome 'shop.
mbarrick
Feb. 9th, 2010 07:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Grammar
Once upon a time, when abbreviations were still written with periods, the correct formation for pluralizing an abbreviation was with an apostrophe s (eg. "T.V.'s") as the apostrophe also denotes missing letters (eg. the poetic "e're") but I'll concede to the contemporary style and make the "correction."

Edited at 2010-02-09 07:09 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous)
Feb. 10th, 2010 02:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Grammar
That is the first time I've seen that explanation. I'd be genuinely interested in seeing some examples if you know of any.

This is not a troll.
mbarrick
Feb. 10th, 2010 04:41 pm (UTC)
Grammatical Archaeology
Sure. Here is a scan from the style guide in my 1970 edition of the "Webster's New World Dictionary, Second College Edition":


Not the example of "V.I.P.'s" in particular.

And here is an example from the 1997 edition of the "Webster's New World College Dictionary, Third Edition" where the periods have disappeared, but the use of the apostrophe to make a plural of an abbreviation remains as an option:



(Anonymous)
Feb. 12th, 2010 02:02 am (UTC)
Re: Grammatical Archaeology
Interesting, thank you.

You learn something new every day :-)

Did they drop the style guide in later editions?
mbarrick
Feb. 12th, 2010 04:44 am (UTC)
Re: Grammatical Archaeology
There's no style guide at all in the third edition. I suppose things were changing a little too quickly around 1997 as a lot of these recent changes have been driven by what's convenient for machine processing. For example, remember when names like MacLeod were always written with a superscript and Mc and Mac names were sorted *before* names beginning with Ma?
(Deleted comment)
mbarrick
Feb. 9th, 2010 08:24 pm (UTC)
Because you *need* to have thousands of hours of continuous listening queued up so you can listen to it all at once. :-p
(Deleted comment)
mbarrick
Feb. 10th, 2010 05:08 am (UTC)
LOL - fair enough :-)

I knew some of my audiophile friends would take issue with that crack. Maybe I should have picked on the iPod Nano specifically, since you can get MicroSD cards with just as much memory as those things.
ponedelnik
Feb. 11th, 2010 02:51 pm (UTC)
Congratulations. I am watching this whole unfold with sneaking glee. Hooray!
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )

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