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Frabjous day

The downstairs bathroom is finished, four and a half months after Contractor #1 began the job. There have been days during the interval when I would have settled for a chamber pot and a washbasin, but the result is quite nice.

Kathleen says that Stage 2, the renovation of the upstairs bathroom, must be put off for some time, which is just as well, because, who knows, I might die before it comes to that.

 

Touchy, touchy

Investigative Voice has discovered the post in which I criticized an article for its hyperbole and cliche. You’re more than welcome to examine the response yourself, but a summary is that Investigative Voice does not take well to criticism and retains its unfortunate predilection for white-on-black reversed type.

 

Still at a high pitch

Over at the City Paper, Edward Ericson Jr. has an article about Denise Whiting, Cafe Hon, and the hontroversy—no, I’m not going back into it. It’s an excellent piece, clear, balanced, fair. But writing dispassionately about Ms. Whiting is a mug’s game, which you will see immediately upon examining the comments. I recommend them; they are a hoot.

The outrage with which people talk about Ms. Whiting is so blatantly disproportionate to the circumstances that the comments quickly come to sound like Daffy Duck spluttering about Bugs Bunny. A reader begins to wonder after a time what responsibility Denise Whiting has for global warming, violence in Darfur, the Ravens’ loss to the Steelers, and the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby.

 

Fine dining

My son has made reservations for us this Sunday evening at Volt in Frederick so that we can mark one of those round-number events in the coming week. I plan to try, at a minimum, the smoked ice cubes in the Manhattan that Laura Vozzella wrote about last week and will report back to you, even though this isn’t dining@large, on the rest of the meal.

 

 

Posted by John McIntyre at 11:02 AM | | Comments (19)
        

Comments

Oh, here's the link to the Vozzella story:

http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/dining/bs-fo-culinary-smoking-gun-20110119,0,718644.story

I read the Investigative Voice link you provided, and now see that they are one of those blogs that masquerade's as actual journalism. We have those in my neck of the woods too, "reporting" on local government institutions. They are really nothing more than someone with internet access and an opinion, not trained journalists. What they don't understand is that they should bill themselves accordingly and not confuse themselves with the real thing.

I certainly don't fault them for not adhering to proper journalistic standards, since they are not proper journalists. If they want to pepper their screed with outdoor voice writing, they are welcome to do so. On occasion I may stumble upon such blogs, but I tend not to return. Apparently they appeal to some, but they're just not my cup of tea.

Tim

I actually like IV because they have published some decent articles that dig into areas of the city that occasionally fall through the news hole of bigger media organizations. However, the vast majority of their work is rough around the edges and could use a few more rounds of edits.

The super-high contrast white on black text needs to go; the site is painful to read regardless of the content.

Ah, Mr. McIntyre, your protracted belittlingly of the many citizens who take issue with Ms. Whiting and her trademarking and commercializing of "hon" continues to disappoint me.

First off, I am confounded that a journalist with a special affinity for the majesty of language is not gladdened to see his fellows bestirred to debate and even action over a word and the nuances of its use. I see your life's work validated in this, and yet you arch an eyebrow with bemusement and condescend to equate good people with cartoon characters.

Next, you disparage said citizens' values and experiences, in essence asserting that their concern about the exploitation of their culture and/or their history with Ms. Whiting is somehow not worth their being worked up over. Finally, you speculate that they may well be unbalanced or inferior thinkers likely to begin blaming Ms. Whiting for all manor of unrelated ills.

That "paragraph factory" you work for is so much more. In this matter we see the power of the press to inform readers, help them frame opinions, and spur them to action.

Really, sir, I think you do a disservice to The Sun and to your profession by labeling this controversy "ridiculous" and not thinking more deeply about what is unfolding here.

What Andrea said.

Andrea, we are talking about the owner of a restaurant who also sells tchotchkes. Who has been subjected to a barrage of vituperation remarkable both for extremity and silliness, some of it aimed at destroying her business. (As one of the few sane observers commented, it isn't much of a boycott if you never went there in the first place.)

I certainly don't mean to suppress people's constitutional right to make asses of themselves in public, and no one is obliged to take my suggestion that it's time to get a grip. But neither am I inclined to pick up a pitchfork and torch to join them.

Prof. McIntyre, I am not inclined to pick up a pitchfork or torch under any circumstances, as it is just not my style, but I do believe that Ms. Whiting has been her own worse enemy. That much seems indisputable (especially when you consider that she is evidently surrounded by advisors when she gives an interview now).

I wish it were easier for people to see that refusing to join in the chorus baying for Denise Whiting's blood does not automatically make someone a partisan for Ms. Whiting.

I don't believe that I have been baying for anyone's blood (I'm more of a pussycat, personally). I think the conversation can be considerably more nuanced than that.

No, no, not you, Dahlink. I've been referring back to the rabid comments on the City Paper story.

Please listen to the ruckus more carefully, Mr. McIntyre. It's polythematic and you're missing the main melody.

This is about far more than "a restaurant owner selling tchotchkes." And to reduce all of the commentary to "extremity and silliness" and "braying for blood" is, oh I don't know, like someone who favors symphonies saying hiphop is just vulgar noise.

I don't disagree that there has been a measure of meanspiritness and unproductivity present (on all sides). But that is really a secondary motif at best.

Tune in: a significantly large group of citizens has been striving for long weeks to articulate concerns related to community, cultural identity, socio-economic divides, neighborhood history, power disparities,commercialization, profitmaking,and stereotyping.

It is plain wrong to use your broad typestrokes to reduce their voices to a "baying chorus." When a whole bunch of people are motivated to start researching trademark law(!), maintain Facebook pages, produce counter-merchandise, and organize protests their perspective deserves some respectful attention.

You seem to view an awful lot of Baltimore folk as benighted villagers incapable of forming worthy opinions, whose effort to raise their voices can be distainfully dismissed as pitchfork waving.

Again, I ask that you listen. Something amazing is resounding through town.

Please listen to the ruckus more carefully, Mr. McIntyre. It's polythematic and you're missing the main melody.

This is about far more than "a restaurant owner selling tchotchkes." And to reduce all of the commentary to "extremity and silliness" and "braying for blood" is, oh I don't know, like someone who favors symphonies saying hiphop is just vulgar noise.

I don't disagree that there has been a measure of meanspiritness and unproductivity present (on all sides). But that is really a secondary motif at best.

Tune in: a significantly large group of citizens has been striving for long weeks to articulate concerns related to community, cultural identity, socio-economic divides, neighborhood history, power disparities,commercialization, profitmaking,and stereotyping.

It is plain wrong to use your broad typestrokes to reduce their voices to a "baying chorus." When a whole bunch of people are motivated to start researching trademark law(!), maintain Facebook pages, produce counter-merchandise, and organize protests their perspective deserves some respectful attention.

You seem to view an awful lot of Baltimore folk as benighted villagers incapable of forming worthy opinions, whose effort to raise their voices can be distainfully dismissed as pitchfork waving.

Again, I ask that you listen. Something amazing is resounding through town.

Hiphop IS just vulgar noise.Even without comparing it to symphonic music. I neither know nor care about all this "Hon" stuff, but there is a commercial for something that plays on "Hon" and it's pretty funny.

Thanks for the clarification, Professor! I feel better now.

You made more sense when you stuck to writing about pancakes.

This whole "HON"troversy has totally "JUMPED THE SHARK." It is time for us Baltimorons to start looking to something or someone else to bash. I agree with completely Mr Mcintyre . Time to move on, and your rapier wit Mr Goldfarb is why I don't visit your website anymore, which I used to love BTW. Selling many Mugs???

It's cute that you jump all over those who think Ms. Whiting is a horrible person and business owner for their comments, but you have no comment about the most vile comments of all in the City Paper story: the ones that came from Denise's employee/friend: Debbie Pepper Howard.


Michael C: Let me simply quote a former Procurator of Judea: What I have written, I have written. JEM

It's a shame that Michael C and Andrea bring up rational points that are ignored by this post's imperious author. It appears logical and reasonable discourse are not encouraged here.

Moses Hinshaw, what do you mean by the phrase "not encouraged"? Mr McIntyre has his say, the commenters have their say, and everyone gets to read what everyone else says.
How does that not encourage logical and reasonable discourse? It sure seems like an example of open discussion to me.

Is it because a failure to be persuaded is a sign of illogic and unreasonableness? I'm not sure how that follows. This page does not lend itself to debate, just an airing of opinions.

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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at john.mcintyre@baltsun.com.
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