by Abe Asher
Liam Wogan and Bradley Crislip are gone, and the Aardvark Dig is in recovery.
We hear the masses moaning about “the death of journalism,” and complaining that, “nothing will ever be worth reading again,” but inside the Dig newsroom, the impact of Brad and Liam’s collective departure has been felt differently by different people.
Dig advisor Kara Tambellini, speaking on Liam and Bradley with the charisma and energy of Al Gore talking about George Bush and Dick Chaney — or anything, really — says, “The energy is very different. I miss the…..” Kara takes a break to ream out Alex Finley over a small grammatical issue, and returns to the interview to say, “Actually I don’t miss Liam and Bradley at all.”
Without Brad and Liam churning out stories, the pressure is on. During the first meeting of the year, new Dig editor Elie Doubleday tapped into her subpar Rick Pitino impression, gesticulating wildly and screaming at the staff, “Liam Wogan isn’t walking through that door! Bradley Crislip isn’t walking through that door!”
Annika L., who some genial onlookers compared to a young Barbara Walters, was so distraught over the departure of Brad and Liam that she left the Dig and took an — as far as we could tell — unpaid job as the Spirit Squad’s Vice-Director of Sign-Making.
But no one has been hit as hard by the new reality as Petie Wogan — no relation to Liam Wogan — who, when approached for comment about the situation responded with a bizarre series of remarks.
“I’m a very busy man, let me start with that,” Petie said. “This is…. time crunching. A couple guys left. I can confirm that statement, yes. Uh huh.”
He then faced reality. “Frankly, those guys were like senseis, and I’m at the point where I, the grasshopper, am now a sensei for the people around me. Those guys meant the world to me.”
Still, there is an adjustment to make. “It’s insane in here,” Petie said. “Stuff is flying all over the place, literally and figuratively. The editors are power crazed. Brad and Liam were that final piece of the puzzle to say, ‘let’s take it easy, guys.’ Now it’s like, ‘oh, let’s have Pete do everything.’ And to that I say, ‘guys, okay, sure. I’ll do what I can, when I want to.'”
“What I’ll say is a quote from the great Harvey Dent.” Unfortunately, Petie then butchered the Harvey Dent quote. He was given the week off.
In some respects, the loss of Liam and Brad may have been addition by subtraction. Thomas Pinkava calls rumors that he left the Dig last year because of his frustration with Liam’s incoherent ramblings on Alexander Graham Bell’s beard, “Unfounded blasphemy, it’s ridiculous,” but the facts are that he’s back at the Dig now and laughing incessantly in meetings.
In addition to Thomas, the Dig hired a young, up-and-coming journalist Alden Felstiner. However, Alden, recovering from a concussion, believes Brad is still here. He recently advised a lost pigeon, “If you’re having problems in your personal life, you talk to Brad……………….. About golf.”
Sure. We miss Brad, and the linguistic music he could produce on something like a bi-monthly basis. Who could forget paragraphs like, “Though Petie might love to claim that the extra crisp is his thing, I have spent decades raising Kit Kats on my own – knowing that it didn’t have a real role model at home. Of course, after the Kit Kats grew up to the extra crisp that we now know and love today, Petie came back around, claiming that the extra crisp was his, but we’ve made it work.”
Liam too was capable of true greatness. He was especially notable for his incredible ledes, hooking even the most repressed and apathetic readers within minutes. Consider this opening sentence from a March story last year: “Folks, I know what is on all of your minds. This is the most controversial topic since Lance Armstrong drove a motorcycle in the Tour de France, or whatever he did that was wrong, I must admit cycling is not a sport that I follow much of.”
No, the Aardvark Dig isn’t the same. But we will press on.