It's the most embarrassing feature in the Tennessean, which is somewhat akin to being the worst track on a Hoobastank album. Every few weeks or so, an assorted team of Tennessean reporters and editors congregate at local nightclubs, restaurants and other hotspots and offer capsule reviews of each place for the weekend section. It's a naked attempt to lure younger readers into the paperand if it's working, then the generation that gave us Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake is worse off than we thought.
In last week's edition, the Tennessean's self-titled "Drinking Team" reviewed the nearly 496 bars on Demonbreun Street's Music Roundabout for a story titled "Rowdy on Roundabout Row." But before we can proceed to the critical portion of the piece, we must learn that Brad "About You" Schmitt is now referred to as Brad "About Brew" Schmitt. Get it? Because he's drinking so much beer. Maybe even enough to make that funny.
Normally, being a sloppy, wayward drunk improves your writing. But somehow Tennessean writers turn into even bigger jackasses when they become inebriated. Tennessean drinking team member Bryan Mullen refers to the Roundabout as the "pound-about" becauseand this is an exact quote"he likes to walk up and down and pound beers." This is the stuff of fraternity newsletters, the apparent inspiration behind the Tennessean's new style of half-baked reviews.
We're not done recounting the lame puns. If we had to suffer through them, so do you. Writing about the Irish Pub Dan McGuinness, Tennessean health writer Sameh Fahmy notes that the outdoor patio makes this place "O'Mazing." That's really "O'Stupid." Sameh, you're a big "O'Loser." Somebody stop me.
Schmitt and his sidekick, the inimitable Phonethip Liu, also got in on the act. Describing the Tin Roof, to compliment the young, attractive crowd, they inexplicably write: "These people have some juice!" When an exclamation point does your heavy lifting, you're in trouble. About the place in general, they write, "It smells like wet feet." Given that Schmitt helped pen that description, the imagery is overwhelming.
In this never-ending series of hot-spot reviews, The Tennessean is clearly targeting those elusive younger readers who are shunning all publications these days (including ours) as if they were a James Garner film festival. I'm not sure how exactly to convince those elusive 18-29-year olds to read a paperif I did, I'd be a little further up the media food chain. But surely you don't reach younger readers by treating them like idiots. And you don't reach younger readers with a group of mostly thirty-something burnouts who think that including the word "hottie" in a story marks the final frontier of the cutting edge.
The Tennessean should just stick to its middle-America strengths and review chain restaurants in Cool Springs. That's one assignment its reporters would o'nail.
You can reach Matt O'Pulle at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call him at 844-9445.