Look, what follows is really not appropriate. But it’s hard to clear the mind and hit the Friday LIRR without finally saying something.
There is one person in America telling the Tribune-owned Los Angeles Times to be more boring, and his name is Clay Risen. Mr. Risen—who penned an op-ed this week which insanely took the LA Times to task over the crazy LA Times magazine profile of Joe Francis—is a killjoy moralist douchebag.
Okay, he could be worse. He could be Nicolas Lemann, who pleaded poor and then cut the budget of CJR Daily without ever attempting to put advertising on that site, thereby losing two staffers, and who recently penned a horrid and barely readable piece in the New Yorker saying that online presences needed more reporters and reporting. See? Man, it doesn’t get much wronger than that.
(Anyway, back to that “appropriate” thing. This writer has been a sometime freelancer for the LA Times and is also (historically) a contributor to The Morning News, where Mr. Risen’s op-ed appeared. Also: once spent a weekend in Sag Harbor with Mr. Risen. It’s not like we made out or nothing! And he’s a really nice guy! Liked him. ‘Nuff disclaimed?)
Clay Risen used to be at The New Republic, and is now an editor at Democracy, which is apparently the last place in America that will still publish Jedediah Purdy. Remember him? (No? Read Random House’s PR blurbs. To Mr. Purdy’s credit, the young thinkin’-fella has gotten more concrete these days than his old ramblings on the dangers of irony.)
At TNR, Mr. Risen wrote about energy costs and gas; regulations for nanotechnology; the rebuilding of New Orleans. He also wrote something with one of the best deck-headlines ever: “Will the business-method-patent frenzy hurt the economy?”
I DUNNO! WILL IT? Wait, what now?
Which is to say, Clay Risen is a smarty. He has also hardly ever written about an actual human being in his life. The last time he did a ride-along profile of a party monster was exactly never, right after the last time a profile subject pinned him to a car. (Hell, that’s never even happened to Vanessa Grigoriadis.) The last time he ventured into murky journalistic territory was probably the last time his great-aunt had shares in a company that was on a diffrent floor of a building with some other company he was mentioning in a footnote.
To have him come down and tell the LA Times reporter Claire Hoffman about journalistic ethics is like Heidi Klum telling Donald Trump how to run a TV show, like an Episcopal priest telling Michiko Kakutani how to review books, like Nicolas Lemann telling bloggers how to blog, like pizza telling pigs how to make themselves into pepperoni. That’s right: it makes about as much sense as a one-way street. Man, even Mickey Kaus thought this op-ed was twitty.