July 1st, 2008
Many will have read the news that last Sunday Tyson Gay set a new record of 9.68 seconds in the U.S. Olympic track and field trials, although the victory was disqualified as a world-record because it was “wind-aided.”
The story making the blog rounds today is a hilarious footnote to his notable performance.
A posting by Amy Gahran at Poynter Online retells the story of OneNewsNow, a site run by the Christian American Family Association. The site’s automated filter substituted “Homosexual” for almost every occurrence of “Gay.”
This lead to some truly remarkable prose, including:
“Tyson Homosexual was a blur in blue, sprinting 100 meters faster than anyone ever has.
“His time of 9.68 seconds at the U.S. Olympic trials Sunday doesn’t count as a world record, because it was run with the help of a too-strong tailwind. Here’s what does matter: Homosexual qualified for his first Summer Games team and served notice he’s certainly someone to watch in Beijing.
“‘It means a lot to me,’ the 25-year-old Homosexual said. ‘I’m glad my body could do it, because now I know I have it in me.'”
And so this is one record for Tyson Gay that can’t be disqualified because it was wind-aided. It was aided by mere human phenomena.
Gahran provides her primary source for the story, the Sleuth blog on WashingtonPost.com, and admirably commends that blog’s author, Mary Ann Akers: “She includes a rundown of the bloggers who spotted and initially covered this story, with links to the relevant posts. This is not only the ethical thing to do (crediting the people who really broke the story, and sharing their insights) — it also makes the story much more interesting, by allowing readers to dig deeper.
“Plus, when you link to original blog posts, readers also get to see the conversation happening in the comments — which in this case are absolutely priceless.”
I’m not sure what the lesson is in all of this for the future of publishing: I’m happy to enjoy it just as is.