Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Who's still writing to those Q&A Columns?

It's probably one of the tragedies of our electronic age that the art of letter writing is becoming antiquated, ushered toward extinction by terms like snail mail. Who wants to wait days for a missive to reach its destination when a message can be there in seconds?

That is a shame, but I'm a bit perplexed when I pick up magazines and see people are still writing in to letters columns to get bits of trivia resolved.

"Who was that guy that played the cousin of Charlie Sheen's girlfriend on the April 25 episode of..."

Pardon the pseudo-expletive but how frakin' dim are these people? Have they never heard of imdb.com? I mean you can even build their search into Firefox's address bar. You don't have to write a letter to Matt at TV Guide and wait weeks for a half-assed answer.

This week's "Ask Matt" really prompted this. Someone asks if Rick Schroder didn't play Jack Bauer's daughter's boyfriend in Season 2 of 24.

No, Rick Schroder's role as an asshole on this season of 24 is his first on the show, TV Guide answers: You, gentle reader--I'm paraphrasing--must be thinking of James Badge Dale who played Kim's boyfriend in season 2.

Actually, this is just a supposition, but I bet the reader was confusing seasons as well as former child stars. See I watch 24 just like I watch Lost--they're the only two I watch "live" unless Christine is in a mood for House--and I happen to know that C. Thomas Howell played Jack's daughter's boyfriend in a guest shot last season.

Don't you think that's something someone's a little more likely to confuse, Ponyboy vs. the kid from Silver Spoons?

I could be wrong, but you'd think TV Guide could have thrown that in.


Stewart Sternberg (half of L.P. Styles) said...

I have a belief that people who ask these kinds of questions, especially when the answers are so easily accessible, are looking for something else. It's contact they need. Sure, they could just check imdb, but to send something out there and to know someone cares enough to respond, well that makes it special.

Charles Gramlich said...

Stewart might be right. They may want to see their name in print, or something. Or maybe they don't have internet yet. There are still some folks who don't.

Sidney said...

Well, I was thinking given the high acceptance of the web and the probable demographic of people who send in questions to entertainment magazines that there was a good bit of intersection there, but yeah, some people don't have the web at home or work and may wonder about movie or TV trivia nontheless.

Lucas Pederson said...

Folks are strange, plain and simple. Folks are strange. I agree with Stewart. If people see their name in print they can turn to their fmaily memebers and say, smiling, "See, I'm in the magazine!" These star wanna bes are more than a little iiritating and I understand your pain. Great post!

Sidney said...

Thanks, Lucas. Once in a while I kick into curmudgeon mode and yeah, Stewart makes a good point.

Speaking of name in print, there's a weekly ethics column in NY Times Magazine and I'm amazed people put their names on some of those questions where the often are admitting wrong doing.

Stewart's assessment is probably accurate in those cases also. The old: "I don't care how you mention my name, just mention my name."

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