Saturday, July 14, 2007

Late Night Shots, Backfence Bye-Bye, WaPo's "Porch Monkey" and Ratting Out Tourists

Some items of local interest from the past few weeks:

* The Return of Late Night Shots: I was just going to leave this one alone, but I'm seeing a spike of traffic to my Late Night Shots entry from last year. It's on the first page of search results for "late night shots", and the renewed interest is most likely due to the City Paper's feature story on them this week, which was picked up by Metafilter and god knows where else. (The City Paper's site was down for a while Friday, perhaps due to the increased traffic or maybe a denial-of-service attack -- who knows.)

If you hate over-privileged douchebags, the people who love to hate them, or both, check out the comments in the story.

* Backfence Gone: As had been announced, is no more. I'd had a semi-permanent listing in the local blogs section of the Reston version, as they'd pretty much stopped updating the featured blogs a while ago. Oh well.

* You Can't Reclaim Porch Monkey: A couple of weeks ago, the Post had a story about the resurgence of front porches, and how they get neighbors talking to each other.

It was a feelgood piece, which is why I was especially ambushed by the last paragraph:
"The porch sealed the deal for the couple -- she's a credit union retirement specialist, he's an Army translator -- because it strongly evoked her Midwestern childhood. 'I was a big-time porch monkey in St. Louis. Everyone was outside on the stoop until long after the streetlights came on.'"
I've never heard the term porch monkey used as anything but a racist slur against blacks. Regardless of whatever Clerks II has to say about it.

In an odd bit of timing, the Post's Howard Kurtz had specifically mentioned the phrase a few months earlier, in an item decrying the appearance of racial slurs in... comments.

Also, I guess it's one of those second-tier slurs, as it doesn't warrant "quotes" or the "PM-word" treatment.

* Throwing Tourists Under the Bus: I submitted the following item, which ran in Eavesdrop DC:
About 3pm, one tourist to another at the Folklife Festival:

"You're just looking for an excuse to take a picture of a black person."
True story, if slightly paraphrased, though it captured the spirit of the exchange.

One only hopes they were talking about the gospel or blues performers, say, and not a random DC resident.

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