“If someone looks like he hasn’t bathed or been outdoors in weeks, he’s probably a blogger.”
– Variety editor Peter Bart, dripping contempt for bloggers and internet writers in his December 17th Back Lot column
On December 31st, I ran a piece about Zyzzyx Road, a very crummy-looking thriller starring Tom Sizemore and Katherine Heigl. What made the movie notable is that when it came out in February it played one theater in Dallas for six days and earned a grand total of 30 bucks.
It’s a slow time for news, and the Zyzzyx Road thing is funny, so other sites began picking it up. Cinematical, Defamer and the Onion AV Club, along with many blogs, ran the story – and all of them credited the story back to CHUD. It wasn’t deep investigative reporting (in fact, my friend Brian Collins told me about it – and he’s credited in my original story!), but it started here on CHUD.
Earlier today Variety also picked up the story. Writer Dade Hayes wrote a piece titled “’Zyzzyx’ earns lowest all-time box office: Domestic cume for ‘Road’ is $30 ‘Road’ to B.O. ignominy,” which tells the Zyzzyx Road story… without mentioning where it came from. And Haye’s piece has an oddly familiar moment.
Devin: “[T]hese people helped the Tom Sizemore and Katherine Heigl-starring movie Zyzzyx Road reach an astonishing 30 dollars at the domestic box office.
That’s not a typo.”
Dade: “But even the year’s biggest bombs surpassed the curiously titled "Zyzzyxx Road," whose domestic cume reached just $30. That’s no typo.”
Oh, Dade. I’ve been accused of cutting and pasting my stories from Variety, but I always give credit!
I put that quote from Peter Bart at the top of the article to showcase the way he, and many of the others in the print business, think of sites like CHUD and the people who write for them. They don’t take us seriously – until it’s time to steal our material and not give us proper credit. You can’t copyright the information that Zyzzyx Road made 30 bucks, but there is basic decency, honor and ethics which would say that you give credit where credit is due.
Bart, listen – invite me on your show and we’ll call it even. I TiVo it every week, and I guarantee I have better TV presence than you do – just check out my appearances on G4’s Filter. Plus, you can edit it to make me look like an asshole. We’ll argue new media versus old media and Guber and I can gang up on you. And I’ll even bathe.
Thanks to Scott Weinberg for the heads up (my emails to him are bouncing). If you carried the original Zyzzyx Road story, carry this one too! Don’t let Variety get away with ripping off the internet.