Boy do I hate Mo Rocca. I mean, I just can't stand the guy! Whether it's a "CBS Sunday Morning" segment, an episode of "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!" or a 30-second Blackberry commercial, his presence always makes me want to change the channel. He's the type of guy you might have accidentally listened to as a teenager, back when you were too young to realize that most of the people who have jobs in creative fields are just older versions of the people you went to high school with.
One day during the Fall of 2008 I was riding an Amtrak train. I picked up the copy of Arrive magazine and saw Mo Rocca on the cover, looking befuddled and perplexed while wrapped up in an American flag. (Dammit. Get out of here Mo Rocca. Nobody likes your style!) The cover story, which featured additional photos of Mo Rocca, was about crazy presidential campaign stories throughout American history. This exact same theme had been done in Mental Floss magazine, not more than a month ago. I began browsing the piece, and discovered that Mo Rocca and the Mental Floss writer had used the exact same source material to research their respective articles. What luck! What a coincidence! Here was a case study to determine whether or not Mo Rocca, working with the same material, could fashion a better article than a no-name, non-celebrity writer at Mental Floss.
I read the article from start to finish.
It turns out....Mo Rocca's article was fucking terrible!
It wasn't funny. It wasn't informative. It wasn't entertaining. It wasn't intelligent. It wasn't insightful. It wasn't compassionate. It wasn't mildly pleasant. It wasn't the least bit inspiring. It didn't accurately portray the human condition. It didn't accurately portray the mind of a person doing hard research. It didn't accurately portray the mind of a person trying to write a good article. And it didn't accurately portray the mind of a person who gets offended when he reads lousy articles in Arrive magazine--because if Mo Rocca were such a person, he wouldn't have written this article.