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We Didn’t Start the Fire

Most regular readers of the Commentator know that we lambast people, places, events, and organizations with great regularity. Generally speaking our vitriol is in jest or we use humor to ease the pill of “truth” that we’re trying to feed you (at least that’s how I see it).

It’s the reason that I joined the Commentator and what makes it a good read for me. 

However, this isn’t about the Commentator. This is about a “journalist” lambasting someone, and me wanting to showcase an example of that gone horribly, pretentiously wrong. 

Normally I like the online magazine, Slate.


This recent article though, is just…awkwardly terrible. Mostly, it’s the author’s hipster pretentiousness, but to really get at this man’s feeble cries in the night to be accepted by people, you only need this paragraph:

Therefore, I decided to make a serious effort to identify the consistent qualities across Joel’s “body of work” (it almost hurts to write that) that make it so meretricious, so fraudulent, so pitifully bad. And so, risking humiliation and embarrassment, I ventured to the Barnes & Noble music section and bought a four-disc set of B.J.’s “Greatest Hits,” one of which was a full disc of his musings about art and music. I must admit that I also bought a copy of an album I already had—Return of the Grievous Angel, covers of Gram Parsons songs by the likes of the Cowboy Junkies and Gillian Welch, whose “Hickory Wind” is just ravishing—so the cashier might think the B.J. box was merely a gift, maybe for someone with no musical taste. Yes, reader. I couldn’t bear the sneer, even for your benefit.

So glad that the cashier was there to validate your choices. God forbid she sneer at you, the world would end!

I realize that I’ve posted some whiny posts on here but this just strikes me as particularly bitchy with a side of moan.

Regardless of how you feel about Billy Joel and his music, there is no need to devolve one’self to please hipsters. Take a moment and imagine the rage that would build in this man if someone ripped apart his beloved Bob Dylan. Mmm, juicy. 

My point is that I feel that there’s no excuse to be this blindingly obtuse as a journalist, especially one who works for a respected publication. Yes, I realize that here on the Commentator blog there are articles similar to this in bad journalism, it doesn’t excuse this particular piece. 

I also realize that I somewhat reverse lambasted the author of this article, but there’s something very sad about his need for attention and love from readers that shines through this article in such a painfully obvious way. 

Also, since I used it so much: The word of the day is lambast.

  1. CJ Ciaramella says:

    The dude from Dartblog feels no shame about his Billy Joel love. I can’t help but like anything titled “I Rise to Defend Billy Joel.”

  2. Gsim says:

    OC founder Dane S. Claussen recently commented on this subject (the sad state of modern journalism).

    Here it is, in all of its out of context glory:

    “Second, you

  3. Olly says:

    Scott: “Bad journalism is bad journalism regardless of your training. It

  4. C.T. Behemoth says:

    Scott…sounds about right.

  5. I will officially be playing Billy Joel all day in the ASUO out of support for Captain Jack’s generational transcendence.

    Andrew Plambeck
    ASUO Communications Director

  6. Scott says:

    So we’re arguing that hipsters are like real-life zombies, minus the eating your face off part (although they do suck your soul out)?

    Burton: Bad journalism is bad journalism regardless of your training. It’s like when you see a bad play in a football game, you don’t need to be a player or coach to see that it was busted.

  7. Jake says:

    Sing “Piano Man” to them.

  8. C.T. Behemoth says:

    How do we kill something that….has no life?

  9. Betz says:

    Making fun of hipsters only makes them stronger.

  10. Burton says:

    Okay, so I checked out the article and got about two-and-a-half paragraphs in before closing the window. I guess it’s my (untrained) opinion that… there’s just no point to the article. The author came across as trying to create a little controversy but it was so uninteresting and transparent that it couldn’t hold my attention.

    However, not having had a minute of journalistic training, I’m probably not qualified to comment. (It’s never stopped me, I’m just saying.)

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