Sunday, December 23, 2007

Dispatch from the Culture War Front

Stephen Colbert has won the Associated Press' annual editors' award for "Celebrity of the Year." He beat out J.K. Rowling and Al Gore for the honor of being named the person who "had the biggest impact on pop culture in 2007."

It's a dead certainty that Al Gore is relieved, although he probably did draw more votes than Brittney and Kynne Spears combined.

The news was announced in a globe-spanning dispatch by the AP's culture beat reporter, Jake Coyle. But guess who's quoted to explain that vote to the rest of the world? Pensacola's own Julio Diaz, editor of the Pensacola News Journal's Weekender magazine and Santa Claus fan.
"Colbert is more than an entertainer, he's a force of nature," said Diaz. "He's influenced the way we look at the news and even the way we speak. Whenever a major news story breaks, one of my first thoughts is what Colbert's spin on the story will be."
Now, the Florida Panhandle is just about as far as you can get from the center of the Cultural Universe. So you have to wonder: How it is that New York City's Jake Coyle turned to Pensacola, Florida's Julio Diaz for an explanation?

Could it be that whenever a major cultural happening occurs in America, one of Jake Coyle's first thoughts is, "I wonder what Julio Diaz is thinking about this?"


Anonymous said...

With the fragmentation of news organizations, the bulk of the AP staff may live in Century [scary thought, that].

Have a Merry Christmas, regardless.

Anonymous said...

To be completely honest, I've no idea why AP contacted me for comment other than the PNJ is a member paper and I happened to be one of the people that voted for Colbert. It was all done in e-mail and I didn't know they were definitely using the comment until the story moved on the wire.