Tom Shales, or someone claiming to be Tom Shales and doing an admirable job of aping the condescending, scandalized-by-filthy-language tone one would expect, comments on this post:
knew it was rather a weak column but I didn’t think I was committing a
capital crime. But when a columnist follows up a piece with a “what i
meant to say” defense, the column must be adjudged, alas, a flop. Even
so, in my solipsistic stupor I imagine it might help to say: I thought
I was complaining about, among other things, the ever-shrinking
attention span fostered by TV news and the way show-biz standards are
applied to “journalism”– two very old arguments but that’s part of the
point, that old bad habits die hard. I think the networks have largely
done a solid, conscientious job on this story, but some of the old
bugaboos are still around. As for “jejune ennui,” that was intended as
SELF-mockery. I wish the column had been better. I am saddened that
after 30 years of being derided as a “liberal,” I now find liberals my
harshest critics — sometimes as nastily hysterical as the far-right’s
Guys. We’re nasty. And hysterical. Just like the right wing! Both sides are just as bad! I guess that means you don’t have to pay attention. Don’t worry, everybody on the Internet is just crazy. Also, they wear pajamas and watch videos of cats flushing toilets.
Your past derision as a liberal doesn’t buy you into heaven, or anywhere else for that matter. I don’t give a damn what the wingnuts call you. In this case, I disagreed as strenuously as can be expressed with the lamenting, oh, what-can-we-possibly-do-in-the-face-of-our-diminishing-attention-spans attitude the column adopted.
The point I was making in response was that journalism’s standards are invented and applied by journalists, not, you know, unicorns or God or something, and therefore journalists can change them. So instead of implying that we’re all just helpless in the face of these cultural forces and whatnot, some advocacy, a proposed solution (mine, in case you lost it in the hysterical nastiness, was that reporters simply stay with the story and editors simply support them) or an outright statement in support of such change might go a ways toward repairing what you purport to find unacceptable.
It wasn’t a capital crime. It was just a column in the Washington Post, to which a girl with a web site responded. No need to be, you know, hysterical.