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.