Patterico's Pontifications

10/9/2006

Writer of Inane Newspaper Columns Decries Inane Blog Topics

Filed under: Buffoons,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 9:31 am

L.A. Times columnist Al Martinez today has the following charming description of bloggers:

. . . I have learned that, with some notable exceptions, blogs are largely the habitat of unemployed writers, enraged misanthropes, retired teachers, aging journalists and people who normally pass their time doodling or making obscene telephone calls.

I guess I could say with equal accuracy that newspaper columnists are, with some notable exceptions, people who get paid far too much money to write frivolous nonsense in a disdainful tone about things they know almost nothing about.

But, as we will see below, Al Martinez does more than that. He also writes columns about things he knows well — but which nobody else cares about.

Martinez continues his rant:

A blogger occupies a website from which comments emerge in various forms to clutter cyberspace with his or her opinions on politics, war, movies, sex, music, medicine, health, aerobics, food, marriage, animals … and, well, just about everything. No subject is too lofty or too inane for the blogger.

Martinez is hardly one to complain about others writing on inane topics. While Martinez occasionally writes about lofty subjects like war and America’s unpopularity, he has done his share of insipid columns — like the one about buying a puppy, and a particularly mundane piece about injuring his shin.

That last column is particularly banal. After explaining at length exactly how he injured his shin, Martinez goes for paragraphs about the details of his health care insurance, including what his co-payment is, and what procedures are not covered. We get to hear about his visitors at the hospital, and his interactions with the nurse. Here is the stirring conclusion of the column:

I am well cared for by this wonder of all women, but I am still not happy with my condition. I am generally miserable around the house — which isn’t too different from my usual conduct — but I am beginning to shower again and comb my hair a little. Tomorrow I’ll go back to brushing my teeth.

Thanks for sharing, Al.

Martinez’s anti-blogger rant continues:

The term [blog] is a short way of saying Web log and is thought to be the modern version of a person who keeps a diary, the difference being that a diarist rarely runs around shoving his words in everyone’s face. The computer allows one to do just that in a sense, to hurl messages at us whether we want them or not.

Right — because every time Al Martinez logs on to his computer, he does so at gunpoint. The armed man then angrily demands that Martinez log on to several blogs, so that bloggers’ opinions can be shoved in Martinez’s face, whether he likes it or not.

It makes me wonder what I would do if I were forced at gunpoint to read Martinez’s columns about puppies, reading a book, seeing a play, injuring his shin after the play, his grandson starting school, his insurance co-payments, and his showering and dental care habits.

I think I might take the bullet.

NYT Censors the Fact that the NYT Engaged in Censorship — in an Article About . . . Censorship

Filed under: General,Media Bias — Patterico @ 12:41 am

Tom Zeller writes in the New York Times:

LAST week, as YouTube continued its recent campaign to spit-shine its image and, perhaps, to look a little less ragtag to potential buyers (including Google, which was said to be eyeing the upstart in the $1.6 billion range), the company took a scrub bucket to some questionable political graffiti on its servers, including a video entry from the doyenne of right-wing blogs, Michelle Malkin.

That’s a nice, loaded way to describe YouTube’s actions, isn’t it? Although the article later acknowledges that the removal of Malkin’s video was unwise political censorship, the beginning suggests that YouTube was simply taking out the trash.

It’s a way of framing the issue that might appease Muslims. Which fits nicely with the rest of the article, as we shall see.

The article ironically notes:

Many, but not all, newspapers were frightened away from publication of the Muhammad cartoons. But the cartoons, and other images of Muhammad, can be found all over the Internet, as individual users decide for themselves whether or not they will abide by the Islamic restrictions on Muhammad imagery.

Yes, many newspapers were frightened to publish the Mohammed cartoons. But the article fails to note that one of the papers “frightened away from publication” was the New York Times — the very paper in which the article itself appears. As this FIRE article explained:

On February 7, Times editor Bill Keller told USA Today that publishing the Mohammed cartoons would be “perceived as a particularly deliberate insult” by Muslims, and that, moreover, not publishing them “feels like the right thing to do.”

To recap, as Rick Ellensburg might say: it’s an article about appeasing Muslims by censoring ideas — in a paper that appeased Muslims by censoring ideas. And, the article censors the fact that it appeased Muslims by censoring ideas.

Now that’s a strong anti-censorship stand!


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