Friday, September 17, 2010

Courtland Milloy: D.C.'s Very Own Tea-Partier

By now, we all know how much I admire Sally Quinn, and her amazing ability to hang onto a job despite her utter lack of talent. Well, kids, there's a new contender in town for Washington's Worst Journalist:

Courtland Milloy

He was previously known for filling up the news hole with the reasons women wear wrap dresses (so we can show our bits), or discussing his annual "blood fast" (whatever the heck that is). Sometimes, he even says it's fine when 80 kids brawl on the Metro, because at least nobody was carrying a gun. Yesterday, he sank to new levels. In Milloy's world, once you hit the bottom of the taste barrel, it's time to grab a shovel and see how tacky things look in China.

Read this. I'll wait. Then I'll start ranting, hopefully a mite more coherently than Mr. Milloy did.

First, I'd like to point out that the original title was "Ding dong, Fenty's Gone." Classy.

But let's take a page from Vincent Gray, and let's start healing and uniting and joining hands and buying the world a Coke. Let's get past Milloy's sore winner bleating, the flights of fancy, and the writing that reads more like a 13-year-old girl's journal entry. ("Adrian pushed my cafeteria tray out of my hands and then Michelle laughed at me! Mom says they're jus jellus. I'll show them tomorrow in study hall!")

Let's try to discuss his essay on its merits.

Lordy. What merits?

The argument: Adrian Fenty is a mean bad man because he didn't show proper deference to little old ladies, because he fired city employees (who occasionally happened to be black women), and because he just wasn't a nice enough guy.

Also, if you voted for Fenty, you're pretty much a racist.

Mr. Milloy, we get it. You really, really don't like white people. And you hate Facebook and Twitter, and wish the clock would stop and we wouldn't have to use those newfangled things called tellyphones. And white people who use "social media" (quotation marks courtesy of Mr. Milloy) are "myopic little twits."

Of course, if you object to his inflammatory rhetoric, it doesn't matter who you voted for. You're a racist, too! You're saying "You blacks, always playing the race card." (Milloy's words.) You also want to return to a "plantation-style" of government. Oh, and Fenty is a "fascist," which makes you a sympathizer if you voted for him. Personally, I can't picture myself as Scarlett O'Hara Butler Mussolini, but I do think it would make for a nifty Halloween costume.

Does anyone else get shades of Glenn Beck/Sarah Palin when they read this? A throaty sing-song of, "Only those who agree with me are the true patriots, so let's all demonize the enemy and shake our tiny fists at the heavens"? Just me? Ok.

I was an undecided voter right up until I walked into the booth, but in the end, I voted for Fenty. If that makes me a honky interloper and a "myopic twit," so be it. This city is my home, I love it here, and I'm not going to listen to anyone who tells me I don't belong because I enjoy the occasional cappuccino and think bike sharing is sort of neat.

I voted for Fenty because the city's school system is criminally inept, and it's been shortchanging kids for generation after generation. The best D.C. jobs are held by suburban imports because the locals don't get the required training, which excaberates poverty and hopelessness. We need real schools where kids can learn.

Michelle Rhee managed to get a new contract with the Washington Teachers' Union, a body mostly known for stonewalling, advocating tirelessly for the downtrodden and incompetent, and egregious financial scandals. Tenure for life after two years of service? Not any more. I'm forever grateful. That alone gets my vote. And if the WTU endorses and campaigns for you, like it did with Gray? You better believe I'm voting for the other guy.

I'm willing to give Gray a chance. I'm all for healing and progress and scooping up those who have been left behind. What I'm against is the likes of Courtland Milloy, "responsible journalists" who gloat and excaberate tensions just for the sake of settling scores and slinging metaphorical monkey poo.

In the comments, tell me if I'm a racist. Or run a find-replace and republish Milloy's essay swapping the words "white" and "black," if you need to further understand what an offensive piece of schlock it truly is.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

The Vuvuzelas of the Blogverse, or, Tell Me Your Peeves

I'll admit to being a persnickety, peevish old crank. I'll also admit to being a bit of a blowhard when it comes to, well, all sorts of things. And I'll admit I'm not perfect, or even merely extraordinary.

Enough disclaimers for you? Ok, then, let's rant n' roll. In particular, let's rant about Annoying and Grody Internet Stuff That Makes Me Bonkers. The vuvuzelas of the blogverse, so to speak. Here's my personal top ten blogverse and internet peeves:

1. Any variation of "nom nom nom." Eating noises, are, frankly, gross (I personally can't abide the sound of crunching or slurping). So why on Earth are we imitating those noises? What's next, literary interpretations of fart sounds? (Please, no.)

2. "I peed my pants," to indicate merriment. Beyond trite. And I really don't want to picture a bunch of incontinent people whizzing onto their laptops.

3. "I threw up in my mouth a little," to indicate disgust. Gross. And even more trite than wetting yourself.

4. "I just spat [hipster liquid] on my keyboard," to indicate amusement. Why are you still typing? Shouldn't you get up and get a rag or something?

5. "Nosh." Yes, I know it's Yiddish. You know what else it is? An annoying word.

6. Any variation of "Squeeeee!" or "Eeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!" Yes, I've used the latter. But that was to indicate that I was recently engaged, not that Miller High Life was on sale at Giant or that lavender was my new favorite color. It's annoyingly cutesy, like the Vera Bradley handbag of the blogverse.

7. Not really a word or phrase, but excessive quotes of any of the following: Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Family Guy, or, well, really, if I could get a one-hour break from Always Sunny references, I'll lump any number of other TV references.

8. Gchat transcripts as blog posts. Really. We know you have friends. Simply posting a transcript comes across as "Look how funny and awesome my friend @hotstuffblogger is! Eeeee and squeee!" It's also lazy - either ask your funny friend to do a guest post, or at least condense the transcript.

9. LOLcat speak. It's kind of cute when kittens and lizards do it. You're a grownup. Write like one. (Unless your blog is intended for an audience of kittens and lizards, because well, that's awesome and makes you really cutting-edge).

10. People who self-righteously complain in list format like persnickety and peevish weirdos. Like, uh, me.

In the comments, get it all out. Tell me your peeves. It'll feel good. Or try to tick me off.
Also, welcome back to Lemmonex.