December 12, 2003
'Will Be Brilliant for Food'

Where have all the 'Content Gurus' gone? Remember those brilliant zeitgeist surfers of the late '90s, those brilliant writer-editor-whatevers who worked for dot-coms but couldn't write a line of code. Sure, their eyes glazed over whenever someone mentioned Javascript, but they had amazing pop culture knowledge and could name Jan Brady's imaginary boyfriend in an instant. They could also figure out the best way to turn a press release into a Web site with minimal effort. (Well, minimal effort on their part: ask a former Web site designer or developer about the Content Gurus if you have a high whining threshold.)

Times were tough for the content gurus after the dot-com collapse. How could magazines, TV networks, publishing companies, and newspapers absorb all that talent? And why would 'old media' want to hire the very same people who dissed them and made sport of them at ever turn? Clearly, the era of the content guru has passed.

Not so fast! Check out, the anti-drug public service Web site run by National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. I haven't seen a site so "rich" in "content" since "1998."

For those nostalgic for's Zombie College, has its own Flash animated serial called Summit High. Like streaming media? Check out the Anti-Drug Ads section. Miss the community areas of old sites—those bustlingly moderated democracies of the Web—there's the Share section where you can tell your own stories.

But my favorite area of by far is their Stoner Greeting Cards, which combines the The Modern Humorist's "Grating Cards" with a hectoring, Public Service Message tone. They're sort of insane ("Hey little brother, / I just wanted to say,/ I'm sorry I forgot to pick you up yesterday./ I was home, listening to music, and getting high/ (and boy, when you're baked, time does fly)." reads one), but they're also sort of great.

Maybe what I like about them is the imaginary "concept meeting" I can see in my mind: the erstwhile, much lower-paid Content Guru sitting with his designer and developer (whom he must know continue to be paid decently for their specialized expertise and their smaller—at least relatively smaller—egos), going through the motions of brainstorming. Content Guru is drinking a Starbucks coffee he bought himself, trying to explain the idea, maybe occasionally drawing a diagram on the white board. But he's just going through the motions. He's really wishing there could be some sort of Cyber Suds party this weekend. He's also thinking that Christmas is coming soon and that he hasn't seen a bonus since the dawn of the new millennium. Maybe his mom was right: he should've just stayed an assistant at that trade publishers: the other assistant he started with is now an associate editor, while Content Guru is freelance, paying COBRA from two jobs ago, and barely able to cover his credit card debt.

But the Dow did great yesterday, Content Guru thinks. Maybe he can burn a disk with these 'Stoner Greeting Cards' and some other stuff and be ready for the next boom. Content Guru looks out the window and thinks, Yeah, that'll be awesome. Until then, he can do work on this anti-drug site and go home every night and smoke weed with his roommates.

Posted in a Shallow fashion.

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Make our "team" part of your "team"
jean-paul tremblayJean-Paul Tremblay written-ed, directed and co-produced a bunch of so-called "comedy" and "video" content, is notoriously competitive, and nonetheless settles for bottom-tier tokenism. Repped by John Herndon at Grape Dope Entertainment. Thrill jockey!
matt haberMatt Haber has written for The New York Times, Esquire, and The New York Observer. He is not allergic to pet dander and can do "ethnic" accents if the part calls for it. He is repped by Candy Addams at Entertainment 4-Every-1. Feeling special?
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