March 27, 2009

DN Staff Ed - Obama's Oops

I co-wrote the staff ed with Mark the other day. He'd spend a couple of hours working on it and then brought it to me at about 300 words. He'd been having some trouble and wasn't quite sure what to say, and we needed filler. I had reassured him, if there was one thing I was good at, it was being verbose. I figured if he could lay down the points I could expand on them. We sat down together with me at keyboard and twenty minutes later had a 500 word staff ed. I read through his work, made a couple of edits, came to the end and then my fingers started flying without pause for three straight paragraphs.

"Wow, you weren't kidding!" he told me. "This is impressive to watch."

I deflected, reassuring him that once he'd been in college for ten years, he'd be able to do the same. We published the staff ed and yet I remain unsettled. You see, my contribution that evening, for whatever reason, came out in the form of some very snarky and sarcastic comments, low blows for sure. I fear I am very guilty of the unpardonable sin of Bullshit.

As my architecture theory professor, Rumiko, explained Harry Frankfurt point in On Bullshit, Bullshit is worse than a lie. The liar knows the truth, whereas the Bullshitter doesn't care about the truth, they are only speaking in order to get someone else to listen.

"Too harsh?" I asked Mark when I saw back to look at my work. He shook his head, but I wonder if I'd just unwittingly scared the pants off him with my skill at vitriol. (I guess high school was good for something. Who knew?) So I did my job and published the staff ed, but now I'm left wonder. Where is Right Speech when your job is to represent someone else's opinion (the ed board's)? Do you throw all-in or do you let your personal opinions of what is fair or not color the subject? With the staff ed, I lately find myself throwing all-in, and I worry that this is a byproduct of the fact that my name isn't attached. I can be as evil as I want because, hey, it's not my opinion, right?

Obama’s talk show slip brings weakness to light

I'm thinking this is a problem.

PS - Everything from "One thing we love about our celebrities..." is mine to worry over.

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