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Joel Stein: Climbing off the Clue Train


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January 03, 2007

Joel Stein: Climbing off the Clue Train

Stephen Baker

Lots of anger and derision surrounding Joel Stein's combative op-ed in the L.A. Times, in which he snubs readers' opinions. Edward Champion writes: "Adapt or Perish Mr. Stein. Op-ed columnists are a dime a dozen these days." Jeff Hess adds:

That?? OK with me, because I don?? read Stein?? columns; he doesn?? say anything of interest to me. So let him pound the keyboard in peace. Don?? email him. Don?? call him. Don?? stop him in the street. Let him be happy talking at you.

But you know what? It took a column like this to get Jeff Hess and many of the rest of us to read Joel Stein. He got our attention. I enjoyed the article, because while there's plenty of good conversation in blogs, there's also lots of empty and pious bleating about conversations. The conversation has grown at super speed into an article of faith, an orthodoxy. It's good to have someone give it a good kick--even if he's not going to benefit from or respond to our insightful, passionate and provocative responses.

09:29 AM

comments, mainstream media

Well, he doesn't get the point does he. The conversation that bloggers talk about is not done via email. Yes there is a lot of junk on the web, but there is a lot of good discussion as well. He has a point, but only just, since his focus is on the wrong medium. All he needs is a column with a comment box. That is if he has any interest in finding out how people interpret his writing.

Posted by: Deepak at January 3, 2007 12:45 PM

I enjoyed Stein's article. Not everything needs to be a conversation.

Posted by: PXLated at January 3, 2007 01:24 PM

Deepak,

Something about his article tells me that he won't be paying too much attention to the comment box, either. I think when it comes to distain for comments, he's platform agnostic.

Posted by: steve baker at January 3, 2007 04:44 PM

I think Stein's article is great! And by the way, I do get it! It is satire, and wonderfully written, while making solid points. The most important being that opionions are not born out of democracy, but in spite of it, and if they were democratic, we would be worse off for it.

Posted by: Lewis Green at January 4, 2007 08:47 AM

I agree with Lewis. If Swift had "A Modest Proposal" then Joel can have his "Modest Opinion."

Posted by: Glenn at January 4, 2007 10:18 PM

The article is indeed well written. Won't deny that at all. And if we didn't have opinions, what are we doing here. The part I find amusing though is the belief that the conversation has to be between him and the reader. What about something like what we are doing here? This is a discussion about his article and he's not involved. Doesn't have to be, but nothing should stop the readership from having one.

Posted by: Deepak at January 5, 2007 06:47 PM

Joel is keeping it real. Atleast he isn't fake like you!

Posted by: Adam Brody at April 23, 2007 07:41 PM


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