With Friends like these, who needs critics?

I came across an article that really piqued my interest and bothered me, both as a journalist and an avid TV watcher.

The article, The Sexual Proclivities of Friends, was written by Mike D’Avria and aimed, I think, to discuss how disgusting and shocking it was that over the course of 10 years, six characters had 85 sexual partners between them.

I don’t know why this is shocking, many other series did it too. He sites Sex and the City as an example of one character who has many sexual conquests, but as I remember the series, it wasn’t just Samantha who jumped into the sack (or sac as he wrote it) with every man she saw.

But I digress.

Do these Friends sleep with too many people?

How did D’Avria come to his conclusions? By watching the series again? Of course not. Instead, he went through and read “every single outline, and look(ed) at the guest star cast list, for every episode aired in the ten seasons on NBC.”

He admits the number could be “way higher” (but not way lower) because of the way he collected his data (which the column header refers to as “important”).

(And in case you’re wondering, Chandler scored the lowest and Joey scored the highest.)

The first comment on the piece rips apart a number of the partners that D’Avria sites in it, pointing out that those people never had sex with any of the friends, they were in relationships — or just casually dating them. D’Avria responds to the comment, admits he didn’t rewatch the series “something that would take an extremely long time,” and even congratulates himself for admitting his mistakes saying, “I wanted to show how I got to my conclusion — wouldn’t it be nice if all journalists were as transparent in their reporting?”

Here’s the thing, if you’re going to do an analysis of something, you need to commit 110 per cent to that analysis. If that means renting the DVDs and spending a weekend watching over 200 episodes of Friends, you need to do that.

According to the article, Joey slept with 1.7 women a year over the 10 years we knew him. Oh, the horror.

And just what are D’Aviro’s qualifications to write such an article? He has a journalism degree. That’s it. And sure, there’s a lot of so-called “criticism” from self-proclaimed critics on the Internet these days, but really there should have been something more here. Like what, exactly, is D’Aviro criticizing, we never really get a thesis in the intro to his piece except, “Hey, remember that show Friends? Yeah, they had a lot of sex.” Uh, OK.

As an aside, my partner wonders what the next piece of D’Aviro’s will be. Perhaps the fact that Dexter kills more people than any other character on television before him? Oh the outrage.

If you’re going to try to your hand at criticism, you need to know what you’re criticizing and actually do the work involved to properly criticize your subject. Journalism is not just looking up stuff on the Internet, there’s offline work to be done as well.

This piece has almost inspired me to rewatch the series of Friends and do a proper analysis of their sexual conquests. Who’s in?

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52 in ’11: A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard

The project where I read a book a week this year. See more about my project here (and feel free to leave your book suggestions). You can read my other 52 in ’11 posts here.

Book 19: A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard
My rating: Hard to rate

I was hesitant to buy this book, especially after getting nightmares from just watching Jaycee Dugard’s interview with Diane Sawyer a couple of weeks ago.

I wanted to read it because, like everyone else who’s bought it, I was curious to hear about those 18 years Dugard was missing. How she survived, how she lived, etc. etc.

But there was stuff I didn’t want to know. I didn’t want to read about how she was victimized sexually. I didn’t want to know how she was treated. I didn’t want to read about a child losing her childhood.

And while parts of the book are hard to get through (and I freely admit I did have to skip a few paragraphs here and there), the book is fascinating.

It’s nothing like I expected it to be. While Dugard does go into a lot of detail, the focus of the book isn’t those 18 lost years. Sure, she talks about her abduction, and her early days with the Garridos, but she is rescued not two-thirds of the way through the book. She also puts her present-day reflections into the chapters about her abduction and hiding.

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52 in ’11: Animal Farm by George Orwell

The project where I read a book a week this year. See more about my project here (and feel free to leave your book suggestions). You can read my other 52 in ’11 posts here.

Book 18: Animal Farm by George Orwell
My rating: Great read

Look, I’m ashamed to admit it, too. I’ve never read Animal Farm. As long as we’re being honest, I’ve never read any George Orwell book (though I have a pretty good idea what most of them are about). I’ve also never read To Kill a Mockingbird.

Shocking, I know.

But that’s part of the reason I took on this challenge to read 52 books this year. Part of the deal I made with myself was to read the “classic” books I never got around to in high school or college.

After all, reading 52 books that are all fluffy in a year is easy, but reading ones that require you to use your brain and imagination make the challenge a little bit harder.

So while one can argue I picked up Animal Farm because it’s short and I’m, ahem, slightly behind my quota, I also picked up Animal Farm because I’ve never read it and I wanted to rectify that.

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52 in ’11: The War for Late Night by Bill Carter

The project where I read a book a week this year. See more about my project here (and feel free to leave your book suggestions). You can read my other 52 in ’11 posts here.
Book 17: The War for Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy by Bill Carter
My rating: Must read

As I remember hearing it, Bill Carter was already working on a follow up to his smash book The Late Shift (about the Jay Leno-David Letterman-Tonight Show disaster of 1993) when things really began to hit the fan last January.

I don’t doubt the tale. It made perfect sense for Carter to decide to follow up his first late-night television book with a second one — especially since everyone had known since 2004 that Leno would be leaving The Tonight Show in 2009 and passing it on to Conan O’Brien. Everything was done in such a nice, neat package there was no way things could explode like the last time.

Well things didn’t exactly explode like the last time. This time, things took an unexpected turn and, because of the Internet, it was played out online. Suddenly Carter’s follow up book got a lot more interesting.

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mrdirkadirka:
This is probably the saddest, yet well written pieces I’ve ever read. I hope to be able to produce something close to this caliber someday. Rocked me to the core. Long, but definitely worth the read. 

Amazing journalism. A must read piece.

mrdirkadirka:
This is probably the saddest, yet well written pieces I’ve ever read. I hope to be able to produce something close to this caliber someday. Rocked me to the core. Long, but definitely worth the read. 
&via=_sarahfoster&related=_sarahfoster">mrdirkadirka:
This is probably the saddest, yet well written pieces I’ve ever read. I hope to be able to produce something close to this caliber someday. Rocked me to the core. Long, but definitely worth the read. 
">mrdirkadirka:
This is probably the saddest, yet well written pieces I’ve ever read. I hope to be able to produce something close to this caliber someday. Rocked me to the core. Long, but definitely worth the read. 
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