Gonna have to go to the irony machine house.

Why? To get a new one, because mine just self-destructed.

To wit: one John R. MacArthur, the publisher of Harper’s Magazine, ranting and raving about the evils of the Internet — on a blog. And he touts this as an advantage:

At some point you’ve got to turn off your computer or your iPad, but the mail and the brochures and printed matter just keep coming.

Uh-huh. And they just get junked without a second look. A few paragraphs before, Mr. MacArthur says “I wouldn’t bet against print,” while a few paragraphs later he laments the state of the “freelance writer and mid list author.” Funny how he doesn’t say anything about the state of, say, newspaper journalism — nothing about, for example, certain newspaper chains (CNHI and Gannett are the two that come to mind) forcing their employees essentially to take four weeks of unpaid vacation every year via furloughs, or the fact that daily copies of certain newspapers belonging to certain chains cost double what they did this time four years ago. Four years ago today a copy of the Houston Chronicle or the San Antonio Express-News would cost you 50 cents, where today it’ll set you back twice that. And I know the Beaumont Enterprise was charging at least 75 cents for a daily copy when I left Southeast Texas; not long after I left it went up to a buck, too. And all of this, I would bet, has at least as much to do with the economy in general as it does the changing business model.

But if you’ll read on, you’ll see the true genesis of MacArthur’s complaint:

But I’m still offended by the whole Internet pretension of universality, freedom, and democracy. An even more radical critic than I, Patrick de St. Exupery, insists that the Internet, whether paid or unpaid, doesn’t just reduce the value of writing; it destroys value. This may stem from a whole generation growing up never learning to distinguish between a blog and an edited, thought-out piece of writing.

In other words, “Who the hell do these people think they are, expressing their opinions? They’re not Authorized Journalists!”

Keep in mind, again, that MacArthur wrote this on a blog. So he himself is implying that what he wrote is indeed neither edited nor thought out. No doubt he’d say he’s an Authorized Journalist and thus can say these sorts of things on a blog or whatever platform he wishes to express himself, but he still comes off as quite the elitist ass. And of course scribblers like O. Ricardo Pimentel and Rick Casey, almost on a daily basis, put the lie to the claim that journalists write better-thought-out pieces than bloggers.

If this piece of writing is any indication, though, those of us who don’t read Harper’s aren’t missing a thing.

(h/t Tamara)


3 Responses to “Gonna have to go to the irony machine house.”

  1. BobG Says:

    Actually, some of the best stuff I’ve seen has been on blogs. Too many editorials just aren’t that good.

  2. Albatross Says:

    I do my best to think out what I write on my blogs. I know it doesn’t always show, but you should see my drafts! They suck much worse!

  3. AeroDillo Says:

    You know…it’s funny. You look at most any public action that draws criticism (writing an article, carrying a gun, creating some form of entertainment) you’ll notice the mile-long train of busybodies close at hand.

    It’s not that they’re AGAINST it, per se. They just think there should be some kind of strict Word-of-God qualification (press credentials, licensing and registration, MPAA movie ratings). Also, they should be the ones setting the standards. Because they only have the best interest of the public in mind, as opposed to all those mercenary types out there acting in their own self-interest.

    And because you (the public which they strive so tirelessly to protect) are too stupid to make your own decisions. But that’s an argument for another day.

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