Monday, March 28, 2005

More than just peeps

(OK this was supposed to be posted yesterday, but...)
One of my responsibilities this week was to write a Sunday feature on Easter--there was some tension in the newsroom about what my topic should be... Ultimately I went with this, looking at the different ways that people observe this springtime holiday nowadays. It was no great article, but the battling editors politely acquiesced.

I'm disappointed though because Easter is such a very rich holiday, with really spectacularly deep symbols--no matter which way you approach it. The traditional Christian approach focuses so heavily on the last supper, the crucifixion, the death, the despair and the tomb, before that joyous sunrise on Easter Sunday. And it seems to me that it is precisely that darker focus that really makes Easter such a fresh and dazzling holy day. There is something about Easter that no matter which way I approach it--literally or symbolically (voyueristically, decadently)--that makes my heart feel tight and exploding at once.

There is something too huge about Easter to be flippant and cutesy--and something too personal to quite be poetic.

Friday, March 25, 2005

A better seminar

I went to a writing seminar hosted by the California Newspapers Publishers Association in Redding this week. It turned into quite an adventure, actually (unplanned, of course, the hallmark of a true adventure), though the seminar itself wasn't quite groundbreaking. The leader tried to cover far too many topics, and ended up just giving us piles of handouts.

In the end, I wanted to give him some advice for other seminars, specifically: Show, don't tell. Be specific. Give examples. Be concise. (Gosh, isn't that the advice he was supposed to be giving us about writing?)

Anyways, then one of my co-workers passed this article about the National Gonzo Press Club and I realized that we had truly missed out on an opportunity for an even better seminar. Why not gonzo journalism?

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Female vs. Feminist

Ah, Ms. Coulter, my favorite columnist.

Her most recent column begins with "How many people have to die before the country stops humoring feminists?"

It's about the Atlanta courthouse shooting, and she argues that women shouldn't be law enforcement officers. Or at least, women should have to meet the same physical fitness standards as men in such positions. Coulter also points out that most articles and legal argument defending women cops vaguely refer to "other talents" without substantiating facts.

What gets me about Coulter is here is what appears to be a rather intelligent women who cuts down her own ideas and opinions to shrill drivel by throwing tasteless and unnecessary insults into otherwise rare and logical arguments. It's like a monkey reciting Shakespeare and pausing mid-soliloquy to throw its own feces.

In the article, she faces head-on an issue that other commentary on the Atlanta incident only hints at. And she may even be right, perhaps there does need to be more scrutiny of women law enforcement officers. If these female cops are doing things right, then they'll stand tall under the examination; if not, then maybe something needs to change.

But throughout the article, Coulter of course has to be demeaning. She writes that female officers use more fatal force "(e)specially when perps won't reveal where they bought a particularly darling pair of shoes" and she throws in several jabs at "female Harvard math professors."

Why can't we get the logical arguments without all the I'm-a-radical posturing?

Somewhere there's a cool-headed and forgiving feminist who reads Coulter's column and thinks, "Thank God we've come so far that now women can even be chauvinist pigs."

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

LIterary study of IM

See? Why didn't I think of this: Study finds Instant Messaging is surprisingly formal :-). I've always thought that IM seems like a strangely poetic form of casual conversation--concise, generally to the point, but with some panache.

And the article even addresses the issue of multi-tasking while IMing. My Dad can never quite understand why it takes several minutes to get a response in a conversation that he is intently focussed on, while my sister is doing her homework in the background... generational thing, for sure...

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