Monday, May 07, 2007

The Bleat of Boredom

Conservatives do a lot of complaining about the "liberal media." Yet, when the Minneapolis Star Tribune decided to have columnist, James Lileks become a reporter, they complain. Hugh Hewitt whines, "Imagine The New Yorker asking E.B. White to manage the restaurant listings. Envision the Los Angeles Times dropping Jim Murray from Sports and sending him to cover county governemnt. Think about the San Francisco Chronicle assigning Herb Caen to the police blotter. It is that level stupid. (BTW: The Chron is still using Herb's stuff --it is the byline business.)"

I never cared much for Lileks and his self-absorbed prattle, but Hewitt, Glenn Reynolds and a few others seem to think that he is brilliant. Hewitt suggests that Time, the Wall Street Journal or some other big media institution is going to grab Lileks. I'm guessing, that since he doesn't seem to interested in being a reporter, that he will go to Pajamas.

UPDATE: Rod Dreher weighs in on the Lileks controversy and calls it the "world's stupidest newspaper decision." I have infinitely more respect for Dreher's views than I do for Hewitt's so I went back and read a few of his newspaper columns (my previous experience reading Lileks was with his blog) and they are lame. 300 words squibs about buying sunglasses and flavored taco shells:
Every so often we confront an innovation so blindingly, screamingly obvious that everyone else in the industry smites their forehead and shouts BUT OF COURSE. I'm not talking about minor tweaks to product lines, such as Pop-Tarts with printed pictures. (The first batch has Barbie illustrations, but they'll add more, I'm sure; by 2017 we will probably have video displayed on Pop-Tarts, so you can watch a cartoon while you eat it.) I'm talking about a new product I spied at the grocery store:

Nacho Taco Shells.

You read that correctly. Nacho Taco Shells. They have a BOLD Nacho taste, in case you're wondering whether they were using those timid, socially awkward nacho particles that have difficulty asserting themselves.

As short as his columns are, I find it difficult to read one all the way through. This is the great genius whose talent would be wasted as a reporter?


Pauli said...

Well, anything is possible. Dreher and Hewitt are both right. Lileks is a comic genius. Very irritating and annoying also, but so are all the greats from Chaplin to that Borat guy.

Anonymous said...

See, though, turning Lileks into a reporter is a waste of his talent, I think. I agree with Hewitt in that he's hilarious, although you have to get his dry sense of humor. I think enough people DO to see that turning him into a reporter isn't going to work.

Dave Barry also agrees with Hewitt here - basically saying that turning Lileks into a reporter is like the Miami Heat telling Dewayne Wade to stop playing basketball and start keeping stats instead, which I think is a brilliant reading of the situation. Sure, Wade could keep stats, but if you are sane, why would you WANT him too?

Jesse said...

Saying James Lileks has a dry sense of humor is like saying Milton
Berle has a dry sense of humor.

andre kenji said...

What the hell is Lileks? It is something to eat?

David said...

I live in Minneapolis and I could never understand either why the Strib ran his column. But every so often, I'd run into someone who was just wild about James Lileks. Then, I'd back up and run into them again.

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