October 03, 2007

A Slightly Revamped Nick Coleman Column

I thought I'd take a different approach to my usual Nick Coleman bashing with his COLUMN TODAY. Rather than tearing it apart, paragraph by paragraph, I thought I'd re-write it a bit.

Nick Coleman: 'A Columnist That's Never Been Relevant' is a sad joke 3 decades later

In 1973, I imagined myself on the cover of TIME magazine, showing off a northern pike above the words "The Good Writer in Minnesota." The story's headline as I imagined it would have been, "A Columnist That Works."

Today, that headline would stink as much as the fish, but not as much as my writing and logic, the stench of which could melt iron.

Next September, I'll be trying to hoist myself into the spotlight again, for the Republican National Convention, at which time I'll write several meandering, pointlessly outraged diatribes about God knows what, and I'll be able to expect the Star-Tribune to dutifully print my mind farts with little or no editing. If my writing remains true to "sky is falling" form, the headlines may be about "A newspaper That Is Falling Down."

My writing, and this newspaper, are in a state of disgrace.

The Star-Tribune is in free fall, failing to perform some of journalism's most basic duties and failing the citizens who pay for, and expect, news and information that's well-written, well-edited, objective and politically neutral.

We have too little of that.

Instead, we have a nimrod like me writing under the auspices of a "metro columnist," but who, incredibly, still has his job year after year after year despite writing drivel spanning the globe that has precious little to do with "metro" anything. Seriously, I can get away with ANYTHING and expect it to run.

My name is Mr. Nick Coleman, and the only reason why my boss, the Star-Tribune, hasn't replaced me with a professional and sent me on an urgent unemployment tour of the "Failed Writers Compound" in Hennepin County is that my brother is the mayor of St. Paul, my father is a former state senator and my wife has some pull in the local newspaper biz; that, and I'm older than the hills and refuse to recognize my own irrelevance. The Star-Tribune thinks my weak political connections will hopefully pay off somehow, which is laughable, but cute, so I'll be able to write here for as long as I suck air from those more worthy.

They won't send me packing, even though it may very well go a long way towards saving the newspaper.

Already worth over half a billion dollars less than it was worth just a decade ago, the Star-Tribune continues to employ me for reasons beyond most normal readers' understanding. Personally, I suspect it's because my cranky, flawed, borderline-libelous writing tends to get a reaction out of people that the newspaper figures makes money somehow. I don't know about that; I'm just happy to have a megaphone without oversight.

If I had a good track record, it might be worth the risk. But my tracks end at men's room (I never could lay claim to adequate bowel control). Let's take a look at a brief list of Star-Tribune troubles:

• In December of 2006, the newspaper was sold for $530 million, down from $1.2 billion when it was sold in 1998.

• Since that time, the paper has flailed around trying to remain relevant somehow, determined to act as a national and international player on the mass media chess board, without realizing it was a low value pawn the whole time.

• While I've spent the better part of the last few years railing against bloggers, about the most entertaining aspect of the Star-Tribune right now is a blog, BUZZ.MN.

• Those frickin' assholes at http://ramblingrhodes.mu.nu and http://koolaidreport.blogspot.com just won't leave me the hell alone!

What does it mean to you? Here's one example of how the rubber hits the anus:

Over the years, I've gotten away with outright lying to you, my column readers, without ever having to issue a retractment, or even apologize. Like, for example, that one time, when I wrote a lengthy piece about how President Bush flipped off the press corps? Didn't happen. It was a thumbs' up filmed at an odd angle.

And that's just one example. I've pulled that kind of shit countless times. I've repeatedly abused my position as the Star-Tribune's "metro columnist." Like, I'm talking REGULARLY. And, here's the kicker: I get PAID to do it. I won't float any numbers around, but let's just say you'd be utterly shocked if I told you how much I make. Granted, given the abyssmal quality of my writing, a dollar a year would be too much. Of course, I have such a raging ego, I'd gladly take the opportunity to write my columns for free. Hell, I'd pay the newspaper if I were allowed to continue to poorly pen outright lies. You can't put a dollar amount on that kind of power.

The bottom line is that the Star-Tribune and it's editorial board are complete and utter fools, manning a ship that has long since beached itself on the rocky shores of Minnesota DFL idealogy and talking points. And while most everyone with a functioning brain recognize the shipwreck for what it is, those of us at the Star-Tribune are aloft in the crow's nest, confident the horizon is within our grasp. I'll stop now, since, as is typical for me, I've taken an analogy well beyond its lifespan.

I'll just go back to talking about the bridge collapse, a topic that I positively can't let go of. I mean, seriously, I dream about the bridge collapse at night. I've even started masturbating to it.

That leaves us two questions for the newspaper that doesn't work: 1) What was I writing about again? And, 2) Why am I still here?

Posted by Ryan at October 3, 2007 09:34 AM | TrackBack

Do you think Laura and Nick will sit at the dinner table tonight and multifisk this ThunderJournal post?

Posted by: LearnedFoot at October 3, 2007 02:57 PM

I doubt it, but I'm going to pretend they actually will, because that thought amuses me.

Posted by: Ryan at October 3, 2007 03:25 PM
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