Amateur hour.

I don’t know if any of you had a chance to read J.C.’s rant yesterday, on his blog, about the public self-scourging news executives are given to these days. In particular, this passage set him off:

Tom Rosenstiel and others pointed out [that] those journalists and news organizations that don’t drop the pose of lecturer and learn how to genuinely engage the audience will be lost.

The pose of lecturer!? Perhaps you’re confusing that with, uh, reporting the news.

We’ve all known one of those people who’s inclined to be apologetic — takes all the blame, defers all credit to others, calls herself no great beauty, calls himself only half-bright. And sooner or later, we all discover there’s a very fine line between self-effacement and cringing, just as there’s one between bold confidence and Donald Trump. I think John found it in the news executives who fret over “lecture-based journalism.” I can’t remember where I first heard that expression, of “old” reporting as a lecture and “new” reporting as a conversation, but it was a few years ago, and I think it was from none other than Jimmy Lileks, who only took a few more years to allow comments on his own blog. Heh. Indeed.

But that’s not important. The idea is that somehow journalists aren’t really journalists until they engage readers in “the conversation” and stop “lecturing.” Well, OK. I mean, I get it. But I think, in getting it, too many editors and publishers are forgetting about professionalism.

I swear, I don’t think for even a minute that I’m a screenwriter, but of late I’ve been in a screenwriting state of mind, and have rediscovered John August’s fine, fine screenwriting blog. Yesterday he had an item about a startup company called Scripped, prompted by an interview with one of its founders, who seemed to be saying that the problem with screenwriting today is that the people who do it make too much money, and the way to fix this “problem” is to make free screenwriting software available to all, and open it up to real-time “collaboration” with other users who fancy themselves the next Richard LaGravenese. Sunil Rajaraman says:

Two problems are solved with web-based screenwriting software. The first is collaboration. Many of the scripts of the films we see in movie theaters have undergone dozens of rewrites before they make it to the screen. For example, for the original of Good Will Hunting, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck put the screenplay together with more anecdotal stories about South Boston and friends they grew up with. Characters were eliminated from the screenplay and it underwent a very detailed rewriting process. Who knows how many writers had their hands on that screenplay before it was made — and it eventually won an Oscar. Collaboration is made easier with web-based software…. That goes for people collaborating across different locations. Let’s say you are working with writers in China or India and you are here in the U.S. Scripped makes it easier to share drafts, track real-time changes and so forth.

The second problem online software solves is access to writers. If you give the software away for free — it is very cheap to provide the software — you can attract all sorts of talent that would have otherwise not been interested in screenwriting. All of a sudden, they are looking for free screenwriting software on Google. A plethora of options are available. By creating access to more writers, the software becomes a mechanism to aggregate talent.

I don’t know much about screenwriting. I took two university classes, wrote one feature-length screenplay for one class and rewrote it for the other. I’ve written four short scripts for which no one will ever give me an Oscar. I’m at work on another feature-length piece, which faces the usual overwhelming odds of even being read, much less produced. I’ve never earned a dime from it. It’s strictly a hobby that I do to give me and my friends something to goof around with. But if everything I know can be carried in a very small basket, I must know more than Sunil Rajamaran, who apparently raised venture capital based on the idea that the cost of screenwriting software is somehow a major discouragement to people who might otherwise be inclined to try it. I paid $49 for my copy of Final Draft, the industry-standard software. Granted, that was at steep university discount, with further markdowns for a coming new version, but even today, full retail is only $200. Apple’s word processor, Pages, contains a screenplay template and, as August points out, you can write a script on anything from MS Word to a typewriter.

What’s more, August further points out, the “Good Will Hunting” story is untrue, and even if it were, what’s the revelation? That many people get their hands on a script under consideration? You don’t say. Writing is rewriting? Stop the presses. It’s not uncommon for a script headed for production to be rewritten a dozen times or more. I learned this from reading the New Yorker, not as a secret handed down by the faculty mandarins at the University of Michigan. Sometimes a rewrite improves a script; other times it ruins it. My rewrite professor liked to pass out early drafts of “The Truman Show,” when the story was set in New York City and Truman was a greasy creep who jerked off in public. By the time the cameras rolled, it was set in Seaside, Florida, and starred Jim Carrey as a sunny charmer. Hooray for Hollywood.

But this idea, that collaborating with other Scripped users in China or India is the key to your successful career, touches on something else I found through August’s site, and wraps up with what the news executives are saying, too — the difference between professional and amateur. August posts the text of a lecture he gave three years ago on the subject. It’s long, but it’s worth reading, because he makes a powerful distinction between the two, to wit:

When we say “professional,” I think what we’re really talking about is “professionalism,” which is this whole bundle of expectations about how a person is supposed to act.

Exactly. It’s not about whether you get paid. It’s about whether to take your work seriously enough to hold yourself to a certain set of standards. He points out the key difference between people who care enough to give a crap and those who don’t, in this passage:

When would you choose to be an amateur? Well, probably the moments in which you obviously suck, either because you don’t know what you’re doing, or you’re just not very good at it. Or at least in the moments when people are criticizing you. You’d say, “Hey, what do you expect? I’m only an amateur.”

You’re basically saying, “Don’t judge me.”

And here’s where this indirect proof falls apart: People will always judge you. You can’t control that. You can’t control what scale they’re going to judge you on, or which criteria are most important.

Exactly. For years, journalists who have been following the top “citizen journalists” have noted this difference. Say one screws up, gets pinned to the wall on a mistake or undisclosed conflict or whatever. Sooner or later, they try to wriggle out by throwing up their hands and saying, “Hey, I don’t get paid for this. I’m just a blogger.” They essentially undercut their own status, while at the same time asserting their right to be both outsiders and insiders. Read my reporting, but don’t hold it to your bullshit MSM standards, because I’m an amateur. They can assert whatever they want. But a professional shouldn’t do that. (I say this fully aware that I’ve done it myself.)

So I guess I’d join with J.C. in telling the news executives of the world to stop worrying so much about changing the lecture to a conversation, and just do your damn jobs. Take pride in them. Man up. Listen to feedback, consider it carefully, but stop cowering under it.

I’ve gone on way, way too long on this. This piece could use a rewrite, I see now. But I have to take a shower and get some work done. If you’ve come this far, how about a punchline?

Don’t judge me. I’m an amateur.

Posted at 11:07 am in Media, Movies |

39 responses to “Amateur hour.”

  1. jcburns said on December 8, 2009 at 11:34 am

    Turned on CNN this morning for ten minutes, just to see if the old, news-reporting CNN I know and love had magically reassembled itself. No, turns out…no. It’s still a land where every death is “horrifying”, every snowstorm is a “staggering blizzard,” and every public utterance from D.C. is discussed in the future-fortunetelling-tense if they’ve been able to get their hands on the remarks: “Obama will say [this], he won’t be saying [that]. Then the Republicans will challenge him on [this] and declare [the other thing.]” Damn these news blitherers and their time machines.

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  2. jcburns said on December 8, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Oh, and one more thing. Maybe college professors should universally give up “the pose of lecturing” and just engage their students in a lively conversation. Find out from them what they want to learn and how they want to learn it. And deliver that and no more. (Note to self: create CNN/FOX graphics sound effects package for college professors, so their powerpoints will “woosh” in and out with the energy that today’s edu-sumers demand.)

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  3. Peter said on December 8, 2009 at 11:48 am

    Nancy, you may know more than Sunil, but it’s obvious Sunil knows more than your typical venture capitalist.

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  4. paddyo' said on December 8, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Bravo, Nance — you nailed it, the “standards” problem I have with the semi-ignorant, I-get-my-news-from-the-Internet crowd who think anything they read there is “news” and that anyone can “do” it, especially if they’re not the hated “MSM.”

    As a former career ink-stained wretch, I lament not the loss of printed-paper news media, but the loss of the PROFESSIONALS employed by newspapers (and, even, by some broadcast stations/networks).

    This is of a piece with Jeff B’s pithy comment yesterday about choking to death on news trivia. The infrastructure of newsgathering is shrinking at the very same time that boneheads at or near the top of too many news organizations push for more “conversation” and think blogs and fan sites for the pop-froth of our infotainmentalist lives are The Answer. They ain’t The Answer . . . they might be The Epitaph.

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  5. John said on December 8, 2009 at 11:52 am


    What is the source for the jingle about bayberry candles? (Bayberry candles when burned to the socket…) I can’t find a definitive answer.

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  6. ROgirl said on December 8, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    I think this notion of turning from “professionals” and relying on the “wisdom” of amateurs goes beyond the newspaper business, i.e., reality television, politics. I couldn’t help but think about She Who Must Not Be Named (I mean Sarah Palin), the amateur politician who can’t make up her mind about whether she wants to be taken seriously as a politician or would rather fall back on her just folks amateur status when subject to questions, challenges, fact-checking, etc.

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  7. Bob said on December 8, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    We spent some time a week ago with friends from Ann Arbor, which may be the most significant American city without a newspaper. They brought a preview of the future when blogs and amateur reporters attain their sovereignty. In a sentence: “We can’t find out anything about crime or city government, but Michigan football coverage is better than ever.”

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  8. Jeff Borden said on December 8, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    Like Nancy, I am not a big fan of looking at the news business years ago through rose-colored glasses. There were some great reporters, yes, but there were also plenty of terrible drunkards, cruel reporters who reveled in screwing people, editors who sought to use the paper’s resources to attack things they did not like, publishers who enjoyed showing their neighbors how powerful they were by pushing stories about their pet causes ranging from zoos to no-tell motels they saw on their drive in from the suburbs, casual sexism, racism, homophobia.

    But there was very much a courage of conviction. Newsrooms fully expected to anger people with hard-hitting coverage, not just the powerful, but many readers,too. It went with the territory. It was not encouraged, per se, but it was expected.

    News organizations today are far more terrified of losing readers, viewers and listeners, so they constantly poll readers about what they want to see or hear. And guess what? They love stories about cute puppies. Analysis of health care reform or the Afghanistan situation, forget it.

    I’ve no doubt most Americans would rather hear about the latest details on Tiger Woods than the unrest in Iran, but it used to be the responsibility of the news organization to decide what was important. Like a doctor prescribing a painful regimen of rehab, these decisions were not always welcomed enthusiastically or happily by readers, but editors took their responsibilities seriously.

    I’m tired of news organizations pandering to their public in the guise of having a “conversation” or a “dialogue.” Be accurate. Be fair. Be thorough. And then print or broadcast the &^%$% story.

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  9. Sue said on December 8, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Off topic, but not really:
    I watched the Today Show this morning as the anchor noted that a female at Tiger Woods’ home was transported to the hospital under “advanced life support”, as footage showed a woman without so much as an oxygen mask being slowly moved into the ER by a couple of very calm attendants.

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  10. coozledad said on December 8, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    I wish we had some reporters down here, and a paper that would publish them. There’s a bunch of assholes busting a gut trying to line up some stimulus money for a rural internet service boondoggle. Fortunately they don’t have the technical resources or the political clout to go up against the company who’ll eventually wind up with the job. Still, it would be fun to find out who’s putting them up to it, and what kind of chump change they’re in it for. It seems pretty obvious to me they picked up a bunch of property during the boom, and they’re desperate to unload it as cell tower sites, because even a virtual absence of local taxes doesn’t make people want to live in a county infamous for its flat earth stupidity, the perpetual infucking of its ruling criminal class, and the loutish behavior of its maladaptive caries-ridden white trash. But that’s just a hunch. The truth is probably uglier.
    At least now I know why they were spending their asses off to try and get a county commissioner’s seat. They expected a big payback.

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  11. kayak woman said on December 8, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    I don’t know much about journalism but I do experience life in Ann Arbor without a daily local newspaper (we do get one twice a week). I went downtown a couple weeks ago for the first time in months (yes, I live under a rock) and headed for the “library lot”, where I have been parking for more than 30 years. Except I couldn’t park there because it was totally torn up. They’re building an underground parking structure there. Who knew? I probably would have if I was still getting a daily newspaper.

    The online version? Hmmm. Recently, on a non-newspaper day, I searched for and found a current news item. The next day I tried to locate the same article. No luck. I am an on-line banking application designer. I do not know it all but I am pretty good at beating up on disorganized websites. Could not find it anywhere.

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  12. Jeff Borden said on December 8, 2009 at 12:54 pm


    The problems with the news business are not limited to the big cities. The newspaper my father spent decades building into a solid small daily has slashed staff to the point where they don’t even bother to cover city council or county commissioner meetings because they are broadcast on the local cable access channel. Circulation has plunged by thousands, of course, which means the advertising rates fall in proportion, which presages more cuts in an endless cycle. But hey! They have a great sports section.

    No wonder the New York Times can get away with enormous home delivery costs. If you want to stay informed on national and international events, it and/or the Wall Street Journal are mandatory purchases. And I live in Chicago, where the Times is available at home. It’s much harder for those in the hinterlands to stay abreast of important stories.

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  13. Rana said on December 8, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    jcburns – you kid, but every now and then some twit who thinks of education as “edu-tainment” tries to get one of those sorts of proposals into the recommendations for professional teaching standards. I’m all for interesting, well-crafted lecture-discussions, but I am not paid well enough to be a dancing monkey – and have more dignity than that, to boot.

    I somewhat get the gist of the conversation-not-lecture complaint, but as a long-time professor (and thus someone who knows lecturing), I have to say that conversations only really work if all participants are at the same level of engagement and knowledge. If there’s an interest or information imbalance, then it’s really a lecture in disguise, but without the pedagogical advantages.

    I think, Nancy, that you’ve nailed it with the “I’m an amateur” excuse – no one wants to be the stuffy know-it-all droning away at an audience of the bored, but if you’re the expert in the room, pretending to be “just folks” is another form of arrogance, hidden in the guise of self-deprecation. Making your readers beg you for your pearls of wisdom and calling that a “conversation” is snottiness of a high order, as is waiting for them to make mistakes out of ignorance and using that as an excuse to trot out your expertise.

    Just admit you do, in fact, know more, and explain it so that they can participate as equals. After that, then you can have a real conversation.

    (Apologies for the rant – this is a sore spot with me. I’m tired of both over-cocky experts and people who refuse to admit to having expertise as if this false modesty is virtuous, instead of smugly coy.)

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  14. Jeff Borden said on December 8, 2009 at 1:29 pm


    I’ve never understood our national antipathy toward elites. When I go to the dentist, the doctor, the lawyer, the mechanic, the contractor, you are damned right I want an elitist taking care of my business. This goes to infinity with regards to our president. There is a fine line between smugness and certitude, but I much prefer being lectured by a scientist about climate change than no-nothing rubes like James Imhofe of Oklahoma, but it’s Imhofe who gets the headlines.

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  15. brian stouder said on December 8, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    It’s tempting to think that, in the widest view, our nation has born at a time when most of “We, the people” were illiterate and ignornant; and that newspapers and the postal system spread knowledge – along with a HUGE dose of fear-mongering and so on – across the nation; and that nowadays literacy is commonplace, and material to read is infinite enough that lots of people simply burrow into their comfort zone and stop there.

    By way of saying, it would be interesting to compare what people generally “knew” in 1855, with what people generally knew in 1955; and finally with what people generally “know” in 2009.

    My bet is that the real anomaly would be 1955, as we had come through a cataclysmic word-wide war, and we had a generation of no-bullshit reporters and editors and so on; whereas in 2009 we have the incomprehensible World Wide Web, and no end of bullshit-peddlers.

    We, the People, always seem to find our own level (like water leaking through the roof)

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  16. Julie Robinson said on December 8, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    The resources are out there, but they need to be diverted from celebrity gossip. If we want that to happen we need to stop tuning in.

    Here’s a more pleasant diversion, if you’re in the FW PBS market: a Straight No Chaser concert tonight at 10. These guys, all from IU, sing together with only their voices as instruments and create some amazing overtones. Lots of Christmas music, and as a bouns, they all wear their pants at the waist.

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  17. Rana said on December 8, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Actually, Brian, we’ve long been a well-newspapered nation – back in the early national period (1820s) there were more newspapers in the United States than anywhere else in the world. In the New England areas, literacy was also very high (among women as well as men) because of the Protestant insistence on being able to read the Bible, and in other areas, public reading of newspapers was common. There was also a much greater culture of political engagement – the sort of massive turn-outs to hear candidates give stump speeches that were common then are pretty rare these days – let alone that sort of turn-out with aggressive crowd interaction with the speakers (who gave as good as they got). I don’t want to romanticize that period, but to point out that early Americans valued information and being informed (about not just local events, but international as well), so any subsequent disinterest can’t be located then.

    As for the elite issue – all of the founding fathers and most of the early presidents were elected because of their expertise, and many, Washington most notably, were elitists of a high order (not simply elites – which all of them were, save maybe Franklin – but also elitists). The fact that suffrage wasn’t universal, but limited to men of property is a pretty clear clue there. It wasn’t until Jackson that the idea of a “have a beer with” candidate emerged – and even Jackson wasn’t the backwoods bootstrapper he emphasized in his campaign at that point, but a wealthy slave-owner.

    That said, Americans have never enjoyed being passive audiences for harangues, and too many experts over the years have behaved as if lack of knowledge is the same thing as being stupid. That, among many things, is a reason I don’t bring up my doctorate in polite company – I don’t enjoy all the defensive and passive-aggressive cracks it tends to provoke. (That, and most of my friends have one too, so it’s not like it makes me a special snowflake or anything.)

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  18. LAMary said on December 8, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    I have an explanation of the advance life support question, Sue. Altough it can mean that someone has assistance breathing during transport, it can also, depending on the lingo used by the local fire department and paramedics, mean that someone was transported by paramedics rather than EMTs (emergency medical technicians). Paramedics can do more medical procedures than EMTs, so their presence can indicate life support issues, but not necessarily. They have the equipment and training for advanced life support while EMTs don’t.

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  19. alex said on December 8, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    I’ve never under­stood our national antipa­thy toward elites.

    Jeff, I’ve never understood it as a national antipathy, but as an Appalachian/southern thing. It’s a culture that rejects authority of any sort and has done so since before it migrated to America in colonial times.

    Brian, I’m not so sure that people were better informed by the media in 1955. The MSM were fearful of Senator McCarthy and as remiss in their duty then as they were during the early part of Dubya’s reign.

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  20. Jen said on December 8, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    I thought of this sort of thing when I watched the Today show this morning and they said they had BIG BREAKING NEWS!!!!! I was all geared up for them to say that we found bin Laden or something, but no. There was a freaking med run to Tiger Woods’ house. Ugh. Who gives a crap?

    I’m all for some fluffy infotainment – heck, I write a blog for our newspaper company’s Web site about celebrity/entertainment news and gossip – but there needs to be a line about what is news that actually matters and what is fluffy crap of no consequence.

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  21. Jeff Borden said on December 8, 2009 at 3:01 pm


    That’s an excellent assessment. I spent enough time living in North Carolina to see it in action time and again.

    One of the more intriguing things these days, however, is how many well-educated conservatives play to this meme. William Kristol is the Harvard-educated son of conservative intellectuals, but he was a major proponent of She Who Will Not Be Named. Ann Coulter has degrees from Cornell and Michigan Law School, but she embraces the know-nothings and presents herself as woman of the masses, too, sneering at liberals who won’t shop at Wal-Mart, as if she has ever stepped over the threshold herself.

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  22. Sue said on December 8, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    LAMary: yes, but I’ll bet that’s not why it was being repeated so breathlessly on NBC and CNN, even for heaven’s sake at ESPN. It also wasn’t being explained as such, probably because all those crack reporters hadn’t bothered to ask what it meant beyond omglifesupport!. Kind of my point, actually.

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  23. nancy said on December 8, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    That’s nothing. Rod Dreher jumped on the blonde-woman-taken-out-of-Tiger’s-house story in his customary knee-jerk fashion:

    So, if this is Elin Nordegren, and if she has tried to hurt herself over her husband’s serial adulteries, her terrible pain made public is more just condemnation than any words anybody could muster at the golf champion’s expense. He had the world — fame, fortune, worldwide admiration, a wife and children — and he blew it on extramarital affairs with floozies. I never could have imagined writing words like this about Tiger Woods (Tiger Woods!), but he is a contemptible human being.

    At the bottom: UPDATE: It’s his mother-in-law.


    What a wonderful little word is “if.”

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  24. Jeff Borden said on December 8, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Emily Litella is alive and well inside Rod Dreher.

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  25. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 8, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    Rana beat me to it re: faculty and “conversation,” this is also a regular theme in museum/nature center exhibit design debates, and has curators/naturalists in the usual defensive postures. Don’t lecture, have a conversation.

    As is so often the case, the answer lies somewhere in the vast middle distance. A conversation is something, but not everything, and lecturing is surely passe, but has to happen sometimes. I can get away with “authoritative storytelling,” which usually gets me both audiences . . . for preaching, the quest for relevance has noodled into an odd pinch for sermonizing, where we say nothing with certainty, and have not much worth saying. You can do dialogue sermons, and preaching needs to be relevant to context, but content is content.

    So many newspapers, going back before the gaping maw of Craigslist and Google ate Commodore Decker, stopped printing much news, and they still aren’t. The best detailed, authoritative coverage in many county seat papers and even major urban dailies is in the Sports section, where attitude and tone that suits the audience still has to weave around: what was the score? Who won, who lost, and why? Statehouse coverage comes a close second, where it still gets paid for; local politics tends to be softball profiles and sideswipes and trendspotters masquerading as hardhitting coverage.

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  26. A. Riley said on December 8, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you for speaking up for professionalism. It seems to be as uncommon as common sense.

    Somewhere along the line I picked up the idea that a professional makes her deadlines, finishes her work, and treats her colleagues with respect. (And boundaries!) The place I’ve been working at recently went through a wave of layoffs, and alas, I was one of the lucky duckies. Bummer, dude, but the magazine was on deadline so I dried my eyes and finished my projects, showed people how to do what I do, forwarded the phone & the e-mail, and in general, behaved in an adult fashion, you know?

    Well, you would have thought no one in the place had ever seen such a thing before. I was astonished. I wanted to say, People, this is how you’re *supposed* to act at work. Honest to God, what does that say about the staff in general that they’re so surprised when someone acts like a pro?

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  27. brian stouder said on December 8, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    Speaking of the mis-appropriation of (or the effigy of) Tiger Woods

    December 08, 2009
    Tiger, Barack, and the Law of Transitivity
    By Lisa Schiffren

    I scrolled to the end, and wasn’t surprised:

    Ultimately, Woods is an exceptional golfer with a character problem. Barack Obama, by contrast, is not an exceptional, or even particularly competent, leader. But because so many politicians, interest groups and factions have an interest in his continued presence, no one is ready to reveal the man behind the curtain just yet. But many voters from both the center and the far left who believed in the Obama magic are increasingly dismayed by watching the human god fall to earth. This is a major problem because, as Shafer notes, the impulse of the betrayed is to tear their fallen deities to shreds.

    So speaking of ‘the man behind the curtain’, it looks like the wicked witches of the right have loosed their flying monkeys; Fly!! Fly!! Tiger is black and so is Obama! How long can it possibly be before Barry wraps the limo into the gates at the White House?!

    (btw – Alex, on reflection I agree with your point regarding the 1950’s press inaction. I guess the press our generation venerates is the one that [somewhat tardily] spent lots of shoe leather going after the Vietnam war and that day’s power structure, headed by President Nixon)

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  28. brian stouder said on December 8, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    Rana – agreed that people were quite interested in public affairs in 19th century America; although my question is what did people know, as opposed to firmly believe; or, how fact-based were the people then, compared to now?

    People read, but was what they read worth reading? To paraphrase William Buckley, I’m incined to think you could trust randomly chosen current-events bloggers in 2009, over and above an average newspaper from 1855. (now resisting the urge to quote a few passages from southern newspaper editorials from 1860, which made my toes curl)

    I think blow-hards and demagogues of that day were cruder, and harder to nail down and refute – especially since the partisan press simply ommited (or mangled, or lied outright) about what politicians and others said (positively and negatively)

    btw – eastern political crowds were much less likely to answer back a speaker, whereas hecklers were expected (if not encouraged!) by western politicians

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  29. Jeff Borden said on December 8, 2009 at 5:26 pm


    I’ll wait for the estimable Lisa Schiffren –isn’t she yet another National Review hack??– to note that Tiger Woods also is a Marxist Muslim unable to produce a birth certificate guaranteeing he was born in the U.S.

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  30. Bruce Fields said on December 8, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    kayak woman: a search for “library lot” on gets several articles. (At this point mainly about proposals for what to build on top of the new structure.) That must have been in their print version too. The same search on the (online-only) also turns up coverage.

    I’m worried about the local news situation too, but it’s not *totally* gone….

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  31. Jolene said on December 8, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    If you’re put off by the AmSpec essay linking Tiger Woods and Obama, check out the comments that follow it. Despite having lived through the election and everything that’s happened since, I still find it hard to believe the level of distortion, paranoia, and just plain craziness triggered by Barark Obama.

    When I look at him, I see an even-tempered, intelligent man who is struggling with enormous problems against obdurate obstructionists on the right, whiners on the left, and senatorial prima donnas in the middle. I see someone who is trying–in word and deed–to acknowledge that we share the planet with other people whose co-operation we need to confront extremism and save the earth. I see someone who is looking at the facts regarding the costs and performance of our systems for healthcare, education, and transportation and trying to improve them.

    They look at him and see, well, read those comments. It makes me ill, really, to think that there are people who see the world this way. It seems so unjustified.

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  32. LAMary said on December 8, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    From the comments on the Schiffren crap:

    “Eight or more selfish, self centered opportunist women are to blame…if it wasn’t for women (which, I am) there wouldn’t be adultery…if women didn’t entertain relationships with other men’s husbands we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    If females were really softhearted beings who identify closely with the feelings of others, the Jaime Grubbs of the world would tell men like Tiger to take his number one wood and tee off to another green.

    Just for the record women, 56% of whom voted for Obama, put the President with the Colgate smile into the White House — and now we, can all together, like Charles Krauthammers says, are forced to watch Obama and Tigers “wax wings” melt as one lies, cheats and philanders on his wife and the other does the same thing to a nation.”

    Wow. This gal blames women for a lot. For one thing, they steal other men’s husbands. For another, they are too stupid to vote.

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  33. kayak woman said on December 8, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    Bruce: I wasn’t searching for library lot articles. I bet there are some of those. I was walking at 0-dark-30 on the west side on Black Friday morning and there were sirens everywhere and I was thinking there were accidents everywhere. I checked out to find out what was going on. The next day, I tried to look for the article again and the search terms I tried (“black ice”, etc.) didn’t turn anything up that wasn’t a year old. The archives were useless. I was thinking that there could be some kind of navigational elements that would connect directly to maybe about a week’s worth of news.

    I know there are other on-line news services around here. You’re right that I should spend more time checking them out and I admit that I am sort of a grump about this. I have had a decades-old habit of coming home from work or whatever and reading a newspaper. It’s odd that I have been just about 24/7 plugged in to the internet since the late 1990s but haven’t embraced on-line news.

    My beloved A2 cousin has been bugging me about the A2 Chronicle for years. I will explore that more. Thanks for the nudge!

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  34. alex said on December 8, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    LA Mary—

    Lisa Schiffren is missing the boat if she blames women for adultery. It should be duly noted that fair percentage of the blame belongs to fags (and the conservative social norms that force them to marry).

    Clearly men are to blame for the majority of it.

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  35. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 8, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    American Thinker seems to be a couple of editors short of a masthead. That “essay” should never have been printed. Y’all like to whack on Jonah Goldberg, but he’d never publish something that stupid — something called self-editing, the essential first step in professionalism in any field. I think NY State Senator Savino has nicely laid out why marriage is in jeopardy in America, and it isn’t due to women in the workforce or gays, married to the opposite sex or otherwise.

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  36. beb said on December 8, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    Even before my local newspaper decided against home delivery I despaired of the rag because too often while reading some article therein I would be left with the feeling that 3 or 4 or more of the 5Ws of journalism had been left out. I’m not sure whether the problem is a lack of professionalism of reporters or management determined to “converse” with their market.

    The idea of collaborative, world-wide web screenplay writing strikes me as someone looking to fleece a bunch of venture capitalists. Spend millions of dollars to write this software, spend millions more to give it away for free and then….”profits”? More to the point when it comes to writing the more hands in the pot the worst the outcome.

    I’m reminded of skit early in Mel Brooks’ History of the World, Part 1, about the world’s first art critic — the guy pees on the others cave drawings. At the time I thought this was vulgar, disgusting and a bit unfair to critics but in the years since I’ve come to see that the role of the Producer is like that of Brooks’ art critic. No screenplay is finished until the producer has had time to piss on it.

    I’ve never seen The Truman Show though I have a vague idea of the plot. The thought that originally Truman was to be some kind of low-life public wanker seemed to me as a more credible concept than that he was some happy-go-lucky guy. Judging by my daughters current diet of “Supernanny,” “Intervention” and “Hoarders,” I could see a reality show that secretly followed around some bum as he slowly drinks his way into oblivion. It would be a more real show and, I think, a more interesting show.

    I’ve come to believe that the more writers are listed on a movie’s credits the more bland and incoherent it will be. It’s the old story of too many cooks spoiling the broth.

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  37. brian stouder said on December 9, 2009 at 8:17 am

    And – further to this concept of amateur hour versus professionalism, we might add a distinction between those who are capable of simulation and those who are capable of craftsmanship. I read an article on this subject, that pointed to a bit on Conan O’Brien’s show, wherein he challenged Serena Williams to a tennis match, and then – with cameras rolling – defeated her! The tennis game took place within the never-never land of a Wii game system, though; and despite all Conan’s and Serena’s (seemingly important, and similar) physical gyrations as they played the game – still, the end result was independent of Serena’s thousands of hours of craftsmanship; but it was good for laughs and chuckles all around

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  38. John said on December 9, 2009 at 8:20 am

    gap­ing maw of Craigslist and Google ate Com­modore Decker

    Sir…there is no fourth planet.

    Don’t you think I KNOW that?

    Jeff, I loved William Windom!

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  39. coozledad said on December 9, 2009 at 8:47 am

    Nice piece on The Dirtbombs:

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