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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Bar Mitzvah Boy Paper

posted by on August 7 at 12:03 PM

I like to refer to the Seattle Times as a bar mitzvah boy paper.

With their pseudo highbrow language, attempts at writing stuffy editorials, and their self righteous “objectivity,” they think they’re coming on like adults.

Really, it’s a clumsy misread of adulthood. Unwittingly, they come across like 13-year-old boys in bar mitzvah suits; the fancy clothes actually highlight that they’re not really grown up. It’s cute.

It’s also annoying.

Take this thing with David Postman. The Seattle Times “Chief Political Reporter” scolded me yesterday for going with “In a Super Fucking Angry Email…” as a headline for a slog post.

(I had gotten my hands on a super fucking angry email from Port Commission Chair John Creighton.)

“Please excuse the (totally unnecessarily) profane headline on this Slog post,” Postman writes in his link to the post.

Postman’s so hung up on being stuffy about the whole thing (Dan whacks him for it better than I) that he unwittingly highlights some hilarious ironies that come in his attempt to lecture us on being a proper paper.

1.) Postman was forced to link our foul-mouthed newspaper because, like a newspaper’s supposed to, we actually had some news about the inner life of the port.

2.) The Seattle Times didn’t have the news, but judging from Postman’s post, it’s what they ended up reporting on anyway.

3.) The Creighton email was riddled with curse words, which A) is probably why the Seattle Times shied away from the news in print and B) which is why I used the headline I used.

RSS icon Comments


tired of the meta-info

Posted by daniel | August 7, 2007 12:07 PM

I can understand why Postman might want to note the swearing, but he didn't have to put it down as "totally unnecessary". THAT was unnecessary. (Sounds like he was just doing a CYA move, but maybe he really thinks it was unnecesary.)

I get the impression that other papers resent the Stranger's use of profanity in their work. For example, the Stranger can just say that something is fucked, when the other papers, due to policy, have to spend time figuring out how the say the same thing with the same impact without the helpful use of profanity. That's more work, hence the resentment.

Incidentally, there's a school of thought that says that using profanity in general is a lazy shortcut and I think there's a case for that, but I've rarely thought that the use of profanity in the Stranger was gratuitous. It usually used to make a point, as in this case.

Posted by well | August 7, 2007 12:21 PM

It drives me crazy when papers censor quotations. It's a quotation. Quote it!

Posted by Gloria | August 7, 2007 12:23 PM

Ha, bar mitzvah boy. But you, John Feet, remind me of a five-year-old on Christmas morning running around showing everyone their brand-new Christmas panties. Look at me, look at me! I'm a big boy now! I got noticed by a real newspaper!

Posted by Your Feit Stink | August 7, 2007 12:25 PM


god rest her.

Posted by adrian! | August 7, 2007 12:27 PM

Why do Feit and Savage always criticize their opponents for not being "grown up" or "adult"? Are they trying to convince us that they are embattled proponents of emotional maturity and sound reason? If so, it's not working.

Posted by wf | August 7, 2007 12:37 PM

the really interesting point you had, Josh, was that the Times is so backwards they don't break stories.

and they dare call themselves a local paper.

but the swearing doesn't help your argument, it hinders it. step away from the espresso ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 7, 2007 12:53 PM


not espresso ... candy!

Posted by Josh Feit | August 7, 2007 1:12 PM

Indeed, this media fight club schtick is getting old once again. What do you have to prove so much that you do so much picking at other outlets? You guys do a lot of good, solid reporting. Let it stand on its own. You guys get plenty of props from the PI & Times on their blogs it seems, which is all you can probably hope for. These tantrums don't help.
Don't act like the losers at the port commission, act like the adults that you are and they are clearly NOT.

Posted by calvin | August 7, 2007 1:18 PM

you stranger-ers sure do whine a lot...

i'm almost getting tired of reading all your profanity... you only use it when you're complaining or spouting hatred at others... it's become such hard work to go thru slog to find the entertaining and informative posts...

it makes me wonder if readers would buy you if you weren't free... i don't want to read profanity that bad...

so act like adults and focus on your content instead of these tired, whiny posts... peace...

Posted by tired teddy | August 7, 2007 2:17 PM

I don't know why everyone is complaining about the Stranger's navelgazing because that's what happens on blogs about 95% of the time. If people don't want to read about self-obsessed arguments that don't really affect the rest anyone outside of it one whit, they should avoid SLOG!

Until the folks at the Stranger ask us if SLOG is sounding whiny, let's keep our opinions to ourselves & continue to be amused by it.

Posted by ka-chunk | August 7, 2007 3:00 PM

I was surprised to see D. Parvaz in the PI use WTF recently in one of her columns.

WTF was her editor thinking?

Posted by elrider | August 7, 2007 4:03 PM

Josh, I find it interesting that the only time anyone at the Stranger whacks me for what I write about you is when I mention profanity. No one jumps to your defense when I find your reporting sloppy, unfair or inaccurate. I'm perplexed why the big, tough-talking, grownups at The Stranger are so sensitive about two parenthetical words in a post criticizing one word in your headline.

Posted by Postman | August 7, 2007 5:30 PM

Here's an example of how your reporting suffers from your excitement at dirty words. You say in this post: "3.) The Creighton email was riddled with curse words,"

Riddled? Hardly. It includes two "bullshits" by my count. Is that riddled? It is one swear word used twice. Does that constitute "fucking angry e-mail?" I don't think so. And I wouldn't think that someone who says all real grownups use swear words all the time would get so excited about two "bullshits" between adults and would hardly find that worthy of a headline so overblown.

Posted by Postman | August 7, 2007 5:43 PM

You've got to understand that, given the standards of discourse on the blogosphere, you do come across as a major-league pearl-clutcher.

Posted by Bison | August 7, 2007 6:03 PM

@14: Postman, that WAS a "fucking angry e-mail", especially by Seattle standards. It was amazing! Here's why:

Anyone who works in government (and yes, contrary to well, the Port's own belief, the Port is a government) knows that all of their email is disclosable. Which means all of us public sector types are hypersensitive about sending out emails, knowing they could be public any time. Thus, we write only the most non-offensive things in the briefest of ways. It's pretty ridiculous. You'll be having a frank, funny, verbal discussion with a co-worker, but their follow-up email will sound like it came from HAL 9000.

So what makes Creighton's email all the more amazing, aside from the fact that he full-on bitched out a grown man like he was his dog, is that the Port is so out-of-touch about its status as a public entity that he had no problem sending this bitchy email using his work account. Amazing! (I'd like to see what other loose-lipped emails are floating around there.) So, yes, it was a "fucking angry email".

As for the Stranger's blah-blahing about profanity, please stop using Dick Cheney's potty mouth as your standard-bearer. Remember, if Dick Cheney is doing it, it's a safe bet that it's bad.

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