Monday, September 10, 2007

I Don't Know How Spotty Does It

In honor of the vacationing pooch, I will, for one day, brave the Strib and read the unreadable: Katherine Kersten. Since I do not normally read this screeching nag, I cannot relay to you a sense of relative quality vis a vis her previous scribblings. However, after reading her most recent column, this doesn't seem to be much of an issue; her writing does great violence to standards of decency, logic, and professionalism that even a five year old can (and should) understand as being inherently desirable.

Here is a summary of her article:
1- Some soldiers don't respect/understand/value freedom until they deploy to a country that doesn't have it.

2- One exception to this rule is some guy who told me a personal anecdote about how he got really upset in high school when one of his teachers brought in a series of speakers who disagreed with him.

3- He later got upset in college when he couldn't tell some jokes. I assure you that this incident was reported on but I will not give you any further details. What I will tell you is that Powerline sued his school.

4- He has since fought against the "elimination of bias" requirement because lawyers are not biased and because he is black (Ed note: Ms. Kersten's argument, not mine.)

5- Now he's in Iraq.

6- The end.
It is almost pointless to continue to point out just how inept and worthless Ms Kersten is as a columnist. Her column contains no argument or meaning. It is a series of lazy ideological talking points strung together in a weak attempt to elicit an emotional response from her target audience. Please understand that I'm not making any sort of political or ideological argument here. I'm making no judgments about Major Swanson or his beliefs. Ms. Kersten should not be writing at the Strib because she is a terrible writer and her columns make no sense. You really don't need to crack open her beliefs to understand this simple point. (Her column makes about as much sense as a Michael Moore movie [and for the same appeal-to-ideological-emotion reasons]).

The other interesting thing about her article is that when I googled "Peter Swanson University Minnesota" I got this:
I came to admire Peter at the time and my admiration has only grown over the years. After law school Peter entered the Army JAG Corps, where he served five years overseas in Bosnia, I think, and at home as a part-time JAG recruiter. At work he is a model colleague. Within the legal profession he is a tireless opponent of the reigning orthodoxies.

Peter's Army service came between the two Iraq wars. He has now answered the call for a return to duty. He will be serving in Iraq for an additional hitch of a year or so. At the moment he is stationed in Texas preparing for his duty in Baghdad. We offer him our respectful salute.

UPDATE: Peter writes: "Thanks for the post. The reaction has been very touching and encouraging. I will post some photos when I get my blog approved. I am trying to encourage my buddies to put their thoughts in 250-500 word blog posts. So far no luck. There are many interesting stories here." He also reminds me: "I spent five years on active duty, stationed in Kansas and Washington State. Six months of that time, I was in Hungary and Bosnia."

Which reminded me of this:
[Conservative Reverb] Here in the blogosphere, Spotty means. Why yes, there is. Katherine Kersten’s Thursday column in the Star Tribune, titled Gratitude, not anger, comes from Astrodome, sounded suspiciously familiar to Spotty. He decided to sniff it out.

What Spot found is evidence of the right wing echo chamber at work, and echoes that percolated up from the winger blogs almost directly into Katie’s column. Before we get into that though, let Spotty describe the column.
In that interesting post, Spotty finds that one of Ms. Kersten's columns is pretty much a cheap rewrite of an earlier post on Peter Swanson's blog, SwanBlog (I think this is the same Peter Swanson; even if it isn't, it doesn't diminish my following point.) The woman seems to be rehashing blog posts as Metro columns. (It should be noted that the original posts are much more interesting and heartfelt.) Powerline admits as much in one of their recent posts (italics are mine):
Kathy's profile follows up on our own "Salute to Major Swanson" last month.
It's nice to know that a major daily newspaper can help supplement a blog that hates it. What do Katie's editors think about her moonlighting effforts? (We know how Powerline feels: Surprise!!! They luv the "excellent profile.")

Finally, the humor of Ms. Kersten's writings should always be recognized. In her current opus she honestly (and seriously) advocates a quasi-argument that, at the very least, says that fighting the "assembled armies of political correctness" and/or Islamic fundamentalists is a desirable and proper way to appreciate the value of American freedom.

That's all I can handle for now. Hopefully, she won't have another column during Spotty's absence and I will be spared from having to read both the Strib and Ms. Kersten twice during the same week.

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