The demon lived at Mach 1 October 14, 2007 2:49 PM   Subscribe

This is how it's done.

I just had to say I was pleasantly stunned at how this FPP works. I've read more than my share of front page posts and must admit to being rather jaded, but the poetic choice of words, and the attention-getting force behind the paragraph really work on a higher level than the usual fare. I'm not saying everything else has sucked before this one. I'm saying that most FPPs are from okay to good, and this one is exceptional.

It wasn't too brief. It wasn't too long-winded. The chosen subject matter is innately compelling. It informs the reader what to expect from the links, but it also entertains as it does so. It does everything a FPP should do and then some. I wish there were an award that could be given for when a MeFite raises the bar on one's expectations. We are not worthy, fandango_matt, you beautiful bastard.

If ever I make a FPP again, if not for a brief second, I know I'll find myself thinking of this post and wondering, does mine measure up against that at all? The answer will probably be no.

Please feel free to disagree with me, using examples of front page posts in the Blue that in your opinion far exceed this one. Then I can argue with you and you can argue with me. It'll be fun! =)
posted by ZachsMind to MetaFilter-Related at 2:49 PM (94 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Not to take away anything from what was a good post, but the text of that FPP comes directly from The Right Stuff, which I was slightly surprised not to see referenced but it's not a big deal.
posted by adrianhon at 2:59 PM on October 14, 2007


Yeah, mad props to fandango_matt for transcribing the prologue to The Right Stuff.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:59 PM on October 14, 2007


It was referenced, obliquely you might say, and I say artfully, but it broke the sound barrier over ZachsMind's head, obvs.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:00 PM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is this the point in the thread where someone posts a lengthy portion of a lengthier work, verbatim, into the thread? I like it when people do that sometimes.
posted by Kwantsar at 3:02 PM on October 14, 2007


Oh for Pete's sake. CHOICE OF WORDS. I'm not saying he wrote it. I'm saying it works.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:02 PM on October 14, 2007


Ah, you're right, the final YouTube link was from the movie.
posted by adrianhon at 3:02 PM on October 14, 2007


Hey, I'm not saying it didn't work, I'm saying that it's worth knowing where the actual text came from. If it's so poetic - and it is - why not mention the source?
posted by adrianhon at 3:03 PM on October 14, 2007


Color me even more jaded now! If someone could take a passage from Mark Twain and use it as a compelling and useful FPP I'd be even more impressed. Sheesh. There's no pleasing you people.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:06 PM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Lifting the text of your FPP from someone else isn't cool if you don't give credit.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 3:07 PM on October 14, 2007


It's cool if it works. I thought everyone knew. If he'd hit people over the head with the source, it woulda ruined the effect.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:12 PM on October 14, 2007


It'd be like quoting the Gettysburg Address with patriotic music underneath it and then halfway through going, "oh by the way Abe Lincoln wrote this I'm just repeating it."
posted by ZachsMind at 3:13 PM on October 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


I think the attribution was sufficent, but alternately he might have put the whole thing in quotes to hint at its provenance. And sorry, ZM, but that style of FPP does happen all the time, so I'm not floored by that aspect of it. Great post, of course. The anniversary aspect surprised me pleasantly.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:15 PM on October 14, 2007


Hitting people over the head with the source doesn't ruin the effect, it gives credit where credit is due.

It's a great FPP, BTW, fandango_matt, and the quoted material is golden. But it isn't original, and a disclaimer that says as much would be welcome.
posted by misha at 3:17 PM on October 14, 2007


The quote is hardly as well-known as the Gettysburg address, and no-one was suggesting that attribution be placed directly into the middle of the post. When I saw it, I thought, hey, that's a cool post about something I'm interested in. You will note that I did not jump into the thread and say 'WTF this is stolen!'.

The only reason why I thought to mention it now is because you wrote this post praising it as the best FPP ever, mostly on the strength of its wording, inadvertently making it seem as if the poster wrote the words. If someone wrote an FPP that lifted directly from a poem or story, I would love to know who actually wrote it, if only to read more.
posted by adrianhon at 3:22 PM on October 14, 2007


So, who can tell us whether it was written by Wolfe or Kaufman?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:24 PM on October 14, 2007


It is interesting that, on a website full of people who fancy themselves good writers, that when someone lifts, wholesale, a paragraph from a very skilled and celebrated writer, it immediately draws attention for its excellence.

A gentle reminder that old media, the world where writings are vetted for excellence and edited by professionals, hasn't been eclipsed, for pure quality, by user-generated stuff.
posted by jayder at 3:31 PM on October 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


lol
posted by blacklite at 3:37 PM on October 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


All of my comments are written by Lincoln.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:42 PM on October 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


*sigh*

I figured everyone knew it was from Right Stuff. I apologize that I didn't mention that in my FPP, but again, I feel that would have been distracting, as this argument is derailing from the original point. Not only was it a quote, it's a quote that serves the requirements of a good FPP. You couldn't do this with dialogue from It's A Wonderful Life or a poem by Emily Dickinson.

Negativland, Beck, countless rap artists, the list goes on, utilize material that they didn't build themselves out of wholecloth to create new art. They take pieces that were intended for other purposes and use them for entirely different purposes, thus making the old new again. Fangango Matt did the same thing with a MeFi post, and you're telling me that's not impressive?
posted by ZachsMind at 3:54 PM on October 14, 2007


I didn't know the source of the quote and I am glad someone mentioned it. Why are you taking so much umbrage?

[insert hushed reverence]
posted by Falconetti at 3:57 PM on October 14, 2007


All of my comments are written by Lincoln.

Four comments and two hundred and fifty seconds ago...
posted by y2karl at 3:59 PM on October 14, 2007


Philip Kaufman wrote it. I've read the book and seen the movie several times, and I didn't remember it being from the book. Thanks to the miracle of Amazon's Search Inside technology, I think this is as close as Wolfe got:
Mel Apt died just a few minutes after he set his world speed record, the victim of a demon that was waiting especially for rocket ships reaching speeds of Mach 2 or more in the thin air up around 70,000 feet: instability in the yaw or roll axis...followed by an uncontrollable tumble.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:59 PM on October 14, 2007


A gentle reminder that old media, the world where writings are vetted for excellence and edited by professionals, hasn't been eclipsed, for pure quality, by user-generated stuff.

And it wouldn't even be a contest if those vetting and editing weren't doing such a piss-poor job so much of the time. All writing can benefit from the contribution of a good editor, but bad editors are part of what makes 'user-generated stuff' necessary.
posted by wendell at 4:07 PM on October 14, 2007



I figured everyone knew it was from Right Stuff. I apologize that I didn't mention that in my FPP, but again, I feel that would have been distracting


Shenanigans!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:07 PM on October 14, 2007


I tried and failed to find a cite for the bloke who objected to the Stockton to Darlington railway on the grounds that steam trains would travel at such astounding speeds passengers' chests would collapse from the strain. Alas, to no avail.
posted by Abiezer at 4:12 PM on October 14, 2007


I see two random brief youtube clips about breaking the sound barrier, some photos of Chuck Yeager, and another youtube clip from a major motion picture, all framed by a passage lifted from a best-selling novel.

Neat? Yes. Entertaining and informative? Sure. Exceptional, impressive, and worthy of its own positive MeTa callout? IMHO, not really.
posted by googly at 4:32 PM on October 14, 2007


This is how it's done? 4 extremely similar old youtube clips, and a filched piece of text.

Color me supersonically meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh.
posted by lalochezia at 5:06 PM on October 14, 2007


Hey ZachsMind, you got any Beemans?
posted by Poolio at 5:20 PM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


I apologize that I didn't mention that in my FPP

Minor pedantic aside: using "FPP" for posts to the front page of any site other than the blue, while logically reasonable, jars somewhat.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:20 PM on October 14, 2007


Color me supersonically meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh.

Shouldn't that be: meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh
posted by felix betachat at 5:22 PM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


hmm. apparently the "big" tag works on preview but not on post. there's me with the wrong stuff.
posted by felix betachat at 5:23 PM on October 14, 2007


Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday, at twelve o'clock at night. It was remarked that the clock began to strike, and I began to cry, simultaneously.
posted by BeerFilter at 5:27 PM on October 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


That's how it's done, BeerFilter! BEST OF THE WEB!!
posted by puke & cry at 5:34 PM on October 14, 2007


The post was beautifully written. I skipped over it earlier today because it was all youtube links and I don't usually go for those unless their content is clearly spelled out. Based on Zach's praises I clicked a few. They are ho hum to me because I already know the story so well, but that does not take anything away from how well written the post was.
posted by caddis at 5:39 PM on October 14, 2007


Caddis: "Based on Zach's praises I clicked a few..."

Oh I totally agree the linkage was ho hum...

I didn't even click the links, cuz where I was at the time I first saw the post, youtube is *ahem* mildly frowned upon. I just thought the post itself was eye-catching and a great choice of words. It was riveting, and yet conveyed what to expect from the links.

Okay fine. I stand corrected. Fandango Matt's post was atrocious and a stain on the reputation of MeFitednessishness everywhere for everybody for all time. Please delete this thread and leave me in my shame.

yer all a buncha meanie beanies. =P

*wanders off to throw himself at oncoming traffic*
posted by ZachsMind at 5:59 PM on October 14, 2007


metatalk, the ultimate buzzkill.
posted by gwint at 6:01 PM on October 14, 2007


Okay fine. I stand corrected. Fandango Matt's post was atrocious and a stain on the reputation of MeFitednessishness everywhere for everybody for all time. Please delete this thread and leave me in my shame. ;)

No, it was a good post and all the naysayers can go suck eggs.
posted by caddis at 6:10 PM on October 14, 2007


So it was well-written but the links were ho-hum? So what you're saying is that you really like Philip Kaufman.
posted by puke & cry at 6:14 PM on October 14, 2007


I thought about a Giants post, but the links I found were fee-fi-fo-fum.
Shall I fuck off now?
posted by Abiezer at 6:16 PM on October 14, 2007


I tried and failed to find a cite for the bloke who objected to the Stockton to Darlington railway on the grounds that steam trains would travel at such astounding speeds passengers' chests would collapse from the strain.

The way I heard it, they built fences around the railway, because that level of speed would cause brain damage and they didn't want onlookers to be distressed by the sight of a trainload of drooling mental cases hurling along at 35 miles an hour.

Of course, I heard that from Alan Davies on Qi, so it's probably almost entirely rubbish.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:25 PM on October 14, 2007


It's pretty much a hardwired rule of Metafilter: if you say that you like X, many many people will come along to say that X is crap.
posted by dhruva at 6:31 PM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Negativland, Beck, countless rap artists, the list goes on, utilize material that they didn't build themselves out of wholecloth to create new art.

Heh. Your FPP was good, but art it ain't. Quite honestly, I thought the language of it was a little out of place for MetaFilter, and am gratified to learn you lifted it from Tom Wolfe. Perhaps putting the text in italics would present a happy medium.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:32 PM on October 14, 2007


it's probably almost entirely rubbish
Let's not have such minor quibbles stand in the way of a good story.
posted by Abiezer at 6:34 PM on October 14, 2007


You've got the right stuff. Baby.
posted by Kwine at 6:36 PM on October 14, 2007


Oh, that's crap, dhruva.

Wait, I—dammit!
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:38 PM on October 14, 2007


heh.
posted by dhruva at 6:40 PM on October 14, 2007


*must read thread comments.

Now I see why it was well written; it was stolen. Oh well.
posted by caddis at 6:48 PM on October 14, 2007


Minor pedantic aside: using "FPP" for posts to the front page of any site other than the blue, while logically reasonable, jars somewhat is bad and wrong and makes you a bad wrong person.
posted by gleuschk at 6:59 PM on October 14, 2007


Philip Kaufman has a movie due out next year focusing on Richard Feynman's part in the investigation into the Challenger disaster. Feynman will be played by David Strathairn.
posted by Poolio at 7:10 PM on October 14, 2007


All of my comments are written by Lincoln.

How very Continental of you.
posted by jonmc at 7:12 PM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: There's no pleasing you people.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:16 PM on October 14, 2007


What I learned from this thread:
posted by Camofrog at 7:26 PM on October 14, 2007


Thanks for the compliments, everyone! As I mentioned in the FPP, The last link should have been this.
posted by fandango_matt at 7:35 PM on October 14, 2007


Everything's good and everything's funny, except for the stuff that's bad and wrong.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:37 PM on October 14, 2007


MetaFilter: Your X sucks Y, and you're a Z.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:11 PM on October 14, 2007


-I figured everyone knew it was from Right Stuff.-

That assumption - 'I figured everyone knew...'- is characteristic of many an audience-restricting front page post, ironically.
posted by peacay at 8:37 PM on October 14, 2007


I also figure everyone knows when Penn staples a playing card to Teller's forehead with a pneumatic powered staple gun, it's not really magic, but that's plainly a foolish assumption, because Penn still has to repeatedly remind his audience just in case that none of their gags are real. It's all just for show, and meanwhile Teller's acting faint with blood spurting out of his head.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:51 PM on October 14, 2007


...it's fake blood actually. Just in case you didn't know.

*thud*

Oh, stop pretending Teller.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:54 PM on October 14, 2007


I think you're reaching now, ZachsMind. Actually, your comment about Penn and Teller doesn't seem to have anything to do with the topic at hand. Sounds like you're just grabbing at straws to justify your initial position. I wouldn't worry about it though, everyone has their own definitions of what's good and what's not.
posted by puke & cry at 9:18 PM on October 14, 2007


Philip Kaufman has a movie due out next year focusing on Richard Feynman's part in the investigation into the Challenger disaster. Feynman will be played by David Strathairn.
It's a perfect storm of awesomeness.

am gratified to learn you lifted it from Tom Wolfe
I wonder, not for the first time, if my comments are in invisible ink.

Your X sucks Y, and you're a Z.
A review of the latest Coldplay album?

posted by kirkaracha at 9:28 PM on October 14, 2007


The more ZachsMind posts, the more I'm convinced that he had no idea it was from The Right Stuff and he's trying to cover his assumption. It's pretty amusing though.

FWIW, I had no idea it was from The Right Stuff.
posted by spec80 at 10:45 PM on October 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


*fandango_matt
posted by Cranberry at 11:00 PM on October 14, 2007


The more ZachsMind posts, the more I'm convinced that he had no idea it was from The Right Stuff...

* picture of O RLY! owl *

Yes, I'm sure you're right. When he says "the poetic choice of words, and the attention-getting force behind the paragraph really work on a higher level than the usual fare," he's praising fandango_matt as author of the words.

There's no shame in not having seen or read The Right Stuff, ZachsMind, and it would have been funnier to admit you didn't know and then say the Yeager post was, after all, just a stolen quote and a collection of crap links.
posted by pracowity at 1:30 AM on October 15, 2007


Yeah, ZachsMind, you're kind of outing yourself as a total nutbar. You may as well just confess.

On the other hand, what the hell criteria were you judging it by, anyway? You didn't even click the links? So it was some nice words? Pretty words do not a post make.
posted by blacklite at 3:10 AM on October 15, 2007


In regards to my comment above:

-"Alan Davies" should be "Alan Davis".
-"Hurling" should be "hurtling".

It was late/I was tired.

posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:24 AM on October 15, 2007


Oh no wait, it is Alan Davies. And hurling could be technically correct, though hurtling was what I was aiming for.

It is early/I am tired.

posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:27 AM on October 15, 2007


The best part of this is that Zach's post basically says "I think this is ace, if you disagree why not show us some FPPs you thought were ace?" I came in here hoping for 66 (at the time) examples of great FPPs. Instead it's just everyone pointing out that Zach's favourite band sucks. It's like a perfect summary of Mefi in just one thread.
posted by markr at 5:03 AM on October 15, 2007


i was talking to this guy who was like "i like beans on a plate" and i was like "no wai whatever bean-fancier get the hell outta my log cabin!" and he was like "can't a guy give some ups around here without you being all in his face?! and i said;

"no, for this is metafilter, and if you post something and I click on it, you OWE ME A DEBT STRONGER THAN BLOOD that must be repaid with content sufficient for the precious minutes I could have spent otherwise wasting time on the internet! God help you if you express an opinion, for stating ANY opinion at all is a violent act that must be reprimanded equally violently!"

and he said "woah, i was just trying to tell you something was cool"

and i was like "that's not what this place is for AT ALL!"

that guy was such a jerk.
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 5:24 AM on October 15, 2007


Instead it's just everyone pointing out that Zach's favourite band sucks.

To be fair, his favorite band did turn out to be Beatlemania.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 5:53 AM on October 15, 2007 [5 favorites]


Agree that Fandango Matt should have used quotation marks in the FPP at least, or credited in an early comment in the thread. Agree that ZachsMind (along with others in the thread) seem to not have realized it was a quotation until it was too late.

Think that everyone who is going the direction of "MetaFilter is juth too thenthitive!!!! You're all bean-overthinking cotton-headed ninnymuggins!!!" should re-read Zach's own words:

"[Blah de blah, best of web, amazingly written, blah de blah] Please feel free to disagree with me, using examples of front page posts in the Blue that in your opinion far exceed this one. Then I can argue with you and you can argue with me. It'll be fun!"


He got exactly the discussion he came here looking for; it just happened to be on an FPP that was improperly attributed and a subsequent call-out that was misplaced. Why, exactly, does that make us buzzkillers?

You people have gone soft.
posted by pineapple at 6:16 AM on October 15, 2007


This is how it's done.

I just have to say I was pleasantly stunned at how this MeTa thread works. I've read more than my share of posts to the grey and must admit to being rather jaded, but the poetic choice of words, and the attention-getting force behind the paragraph really work on a higher level than the usual fare. I'm not saying everything else has sucked before this one. I'm saying that most MeTa posts are from okay to good, and this one is exceptional.

By the way, I ripped this text off here.
posted by breezeway at 6:40 AM on October 15, 2007

=)

Negativland, Beck, countless rap artists, the list goes on, utilize material that they didn't build themselves out of wholecloth to create new art. They take pieces that were intended for other purposes and use them for entirely different purposes, thus making the old new again. Fangango Matt did the same thing with a MeFi post, and you're telling me that's not impressive?

=P
Big ups, big ups
posted by prostyle at 7:12 AM on October 15, 2007


The more ZachsMind posts, the more I'm convinced that he had no idea it was from The Right Stuff

Yeah, that's pretty clear. And it boggles my mind that he thinks a post is great even though he doesn't care about the links. Do you have any idea what MeFi is about, ZM?
posted by languagehat at 7:14 AM on October 15, 2007


fandango_matt quoted Right Stuff
ZachsMind said "yo, that shit is tough!"
Though it's most likely wrong
Zach said "knew all along!"
But the Mefi crew called ZachsMind's bluff
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:22 AM on October 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


lol
posted by blacklite at 5:37 PM on October 14


Hey I wrote that! Time to lawyer up, pardner.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:26 AM on October 15, 2007


I've had my eye on ZM for BS before. Not everything can be fixed by yammering about it more.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:34 AM on October 15, 2007


Ya know, now that you guys have pointed it out, I have never seen myself and Captain Obvious in the same room at the same time... *strokes chin*
posted by spec80 at 9:06 AM on October 15, 2007


There was a demon that lived on the web. They said whoever challenged him would die. Their keyboard would freeze up, their egos would buffet wildly, and they would disintegrate. The demon lived at Metafilter.com on the net, seventy four point fifty three point sixty eight point one hundred thirty, where the clueless could no longer move out of the way. He lived behind a barrier of snark through which they said no man could ever pass. They called it MetaTalk
posted by blue_beetle at 9:09 AM on October 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


Ok, ok, Zachsmind stands revealed as overly excitable, or something. Yeesh. Let's move on.
posted by mediareport at 9:29 AM on October 15, 2007


In defense of ZM, I've known him since MetaFilter existed only on granite slabs and our comments had to be posted using a hammer and chisel. This post is similar to some of the ones I've wanted to post when a particular item tickles my fancy or seems to rise above the rest. I'd never knock enthusiasm and I believe that this post was nothing more and nothing less.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:35 AM on October 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


kirkaracha, your invisible ink problem may be a result of this.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:54 AM on October 15, 2007


Ok, ok, Zachsmind stands revealed as overly excitable, or something. Yeesh. Let's move on.

I'd never knock enthusiasm and I believe that this post was nothing more and nothing less.

Personally, I heartily agree with these statements, but I think a lot of folks here are really just giving ZM a little friendly ribbing for what they see as him trying to cover his tracks on the author of the FPP (fandango_matt or Tom Wolfe). I don't see where it's a viscious pile on or anything, and I'd add that I've seen ZM himself gleefully join in on at least one pretty merciless pile on in the past...

Taste of. One's own medicine. All that.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:53 PM on October 15, 2007


Taste of. One's own medicine. All that.

Form of. Big ups.
posted by blacklite at 7:12 PM on October 15, 2007


Do you have any idea what MeFi is about, ZM?

'hat, are you currently being paid fifty cents an hour to edit a Polish restaurant menu into an epic three-volume fantasy entitled 'Lair of the White Sausages', or are you naturally just a swollendicker meaner than I wish you were?

#1122543 UU - Ultimately Unanswerable - see Jack Littleman's 'Telling a Linebacker He Chews too Loudly' for further analysis.
posted by Opus Dark at 4:38 AM on October 16, 2007


Then I can argue with you and you can argue with me. It'll be fun! I'll get really frustrated!
posted by i_cola at 5:37 AM on October 16, 2007


Whatever, dudes. I saw the post and recognized the quote immediately. It made me happy to be reminded of one of my favoritest films evar. Thanks, ZachsMind!
posted by whuppy at 6:53 AM on October 16, 2007


I got a favorite and a "ftw" for this reframing of one of vacapinta's links as a semi-obscure pop culture reference. Does that count?
posted by flabdablet at 7:42 AM on October 16, 2007


Opus Dark: Yeah, I may have been a trifle harsh. Let me rephrase: ZM, you might want to take a minute to think about what MeFi is about. Hint: it's not post format.
posted by languagehat at 9:39 AM on October 16, 2007


flapjax: "I don't see where it's a viscious pile on or anything...

Me neither. And that's precisely where my outrage starts.

The lack of viscous pile-ons here lately has been appalling. I'm left sitting here all alone holding my unopened bottle of grapeseed oil, seething with embarrassment.
posted by koeselitz at 10:36 AM on October 16, 2007


THERMAL BREAKDOWN! THERMAL BREAKDOWN! NEED VISCOSITY, STAT!
posted by breezeway at 10:48 AM on October 16, 2007


*oils up languagehat, unrolls the Slip-N-Slide*
posted by fandango_matt at 2:12 PM on October 16, 2007


Whee!
posted by languagehat at 2:28 PM on October 16, 2007


lolz this thread.
posted by pokermonk at 4:58 PM on October 16, 2007


ZM? More like BM!
posted by ulotrichous at 5:15 PM on October 16, 2007


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