The tale of how Philippines are killing each other over karaoke versions of “My Way” was so plain weird it was darkly funny. The kind of story you stop to read, greedily, even in the middle of a road. The kind which, like the tabloid headlines scanned in the supermarket lineup, you talk about it over a beer. Almost as much fun, really, as a black humour urban legend.
Maybe that was the problem: it was a tabloid yarn. And maybe because this one was in the venerable New York Times, Alterman felt obliged to shoot it down.