Thursday, January 14, 2010

Let Us Now Insult Worthless Men

Let's parse the flaming pile of dogshit editorial from today's Northwestern, shall we?

The editorial begins with what has to be one of the most oblivious ledes in the distinguished annals of local opinion journalism. So load your Glock with 12 rounds of Retarded, point that piece right at your dome and prepare to have your mind blown with a shitload of Stupid:
There is a well known and honored principle in management that recommends, "Praise in public, criticize in private."
Ahhh, folksy wisdom! The mother's milk of sage advice! The high octane jet fuel of the funny car that is common sense! Why bother getting that master's degree in management when there are clever phrases that fit snugly on a bumper sticker, right?

Moving on:
The rationale is that employees will perform better and learn from their mistakes if flaws are discussed with them behind closed doors. It makes sense. No one likes to have his or her shortcomings pounced on in front of colleagues or other supervisors. Further, it is a matter of common courtesy, an act of civil supervision, if you will.
Yes! That's what the cute little catch phrase mentioned in paragraph 1 means! Thank you for explaining that! I am, after all, exceedingly stupid and require such concepts to be elucidated, hopefully sooner rather than later as my attention span is also quite insignificant!

Now comes the best part:
It is a principle that Oshkosh Common Council member Bob Poeschl would do well to study.
Here's where the needle should scratch off the record in the mind of any alert reader. To a student of logic, this is what is called a paradox: the NW is advising Poeschl to do something, but in so doing is simultaneously ignoring the very advice they are giving!

Most people know this phenomenon by a different phrase: hypocrisy.

I know, it's enough to make one's head spin ... or explode. Choose your reaction accordingly.

I expect the NW to critique and scrutinize public officials. That's what newspapers do. But newspapers are, by their very nature, forms of mass communication. They operate in public. When they criticize people, they do so in public, not private.

This exposes the fundamental flaw in this morning's waste of broadsheet real estate: the utter lack of self-awareness that the NW editorial page is part of the public discussion. If it is going to critique the nature of that discussion it has an obligation to lead that critique by example. Logically consistencies are a good start.

It's late and I have suddenly lost my inclination to piss and moan about this nonsense any further, so let me just finish by making two points:

1.) I actually agree with the substance of the editorial. Tuesday could only charitably be considered as nothing close to a remotely acceptable performance on Poeschl's part -- but instead of questioning his ability to carry out his duties as a council member, I put down the paper sympathizing with him. The snotty and self-serving tone of the editorial, clearly written by someone who is nothing more than too clever by half completely undermined any substantive points addressed in the piece.

2.) The only thing more cynical, arrogant and condescending than the text of the piece itself are the additionally defensive, oblivious and asinine comments left by the two members of the NW's editorial staff in response to readers' remarks.

Get over yourselves. Oshkosh deserves much better.

1 comment:

Grant said...

To a student of logic, this is what is called a paradox: the NW is advising Poeschl to something, but in so doing is simultaneously ignoring the very advice they are giving!

Awesome. As a student of rhetoric will tell you, it's all about the performative, yo. Like when HBO "warns" you about all the sex and violence you're about to witness.