Do you get tired of older people offering sweeping generalizations regarding our generation? I sure do. I’m sick of hearing that we’re all lazy (really, I can’t think of a single friend I would regard as “lazy”) and that our music is crap (sure, Top 40 radio is mostly awful, but try digging a little deeper).
Today, my disgust is directed at a man named James Sunshine, apparently a former editor at The Providence Journal, who wrote a letter to The New York Times’ public editor, Clark Hoyt. In the letter, written in response to Hoyt’s May 30 column, a crotchety Mr. Sunshine bristles at the idea of a “blog”:
Your column left mostly unanswered several questions that really should be addressed before we go much further into the swamp of online “journalism.” It dealt with the standards of blogs, as though we all agreed on what a blog is and is not. I spent 45 years at The Providence Journal, and I still do not understand them. Nor do I like them.
Is a blog merely the private thoughts of the blogger, who has been given the privilege of saying what he happens to think at the moment without a qualified editor passing judgment on it for accuracy, taste, appropriateness and so on?
Or is a blog a short news story published online? Your column suggests that it is, and that it is edited by an editor like anything else approved for publication in the paper and must meet Times standards. If that is the case, why call it a blog (whatever that is supposed to mean)? Why not call it a news story? Must everything we do be a matter of clever marketing?
I think we would all benefit if we just dropped the word “blog” and went back to simply putting out the newspaper, which we used to know how to do.
So. Mr. Sunshine, you don’t like something that you don’t understand? That’s the very definition of ignorance — way to torpedo your argument from the outset! And that you “spent 45 years at The Providence Journal” is a false qualifier — it doesn’t mean you should understand blogs any more than you should understand what a “meme” is.