Ken Jennings


July 26, 2006

In the Internet age, satire is not what closes on a Saturday night. Satire is what closes a website on a Tuesday morning.

We took Dylan to the zoo today…



While we were waiting in the admissions line, the girl behind me stage-whispers to her mom, “Mom, that totally looks like Ken Jennings!”

You have to understand that, for whatever reason, I am never recognized in Seattle. Everywhere else in America, yelled at in the street. In Seattle, nothing, even at the height of Jeopardy!-mania. Why do you think we moved here?

So I wasn’t going to out myself to Zoo Girl, either, but the very next thing she said was, “I was reading his blog last night. It was pretty funny.” Zoo Girl was suddenly my best friend.

If nothing else, it was a welcome change from the ALL-CAPS hate mail from crotchety AOL users that has been flooding in ever since yesterday’s sterling investigative journalism by News Corp and the AP. (For the rest of the story behind the AP’s bizarre misreporting, see this Huffington Post piece of a few hours ago. I’m sorry if you have ideological grounds for not wanting to follow a link to HuffPo, but that’s what you get when it was the Post and Fox News that first bobbled the story. If The New York Times had been the @#$%-ups, I’m sure I’d be sending you to Michelle Malkin right now.)

But when you get past my hours of email-deleting last night, not all the news is bad. had 573,000 pageviews yesterday, up just slightly from last Tuesday’s, um, 1,800. I assume many of those people actually read the original blog article and called off the hounds. Four thousand new signups for the trivia mailing list. Some Brainiac pre-orders, looks like. An outpouring of on-line support and snickering from bloggers, who love it when those dead-tree fogies in the “MSM” screw something up. So, in the end, we probably gained quite a few new readers.

A few people have asked what Jeopardy! or Random House thought about the whole thing. I haven’t heard from Jeopardy! and can’t imagine that I will. They’re very kid-gloves and need-to-know with contestants and ex-contestants alike. I did e-mail them a quick loyalty oath, avowing that I had no grudge against the show and am bewildered by the whole kerfuffle. As for Random House, my editor’s only response to the New York Post story was, “Would it killed them to have mentioned the book?” Yeah!

My favorite response came from my father-in-law, who forwarded me a study showing that the brain’s ability to detect sarcasm and irony doesn’t develop until age six, and in 25% of the population, never develops!

Fine, but did they all have to email me on the same day?

And that’s all I’m ever going to say about that. Hopefully, by tomorrow, our traffic will be down to something sane, and I’ll be able to open the message boards again and actually post something interesting.

Posted by Ken at 8:06 pm