March 26, 2011

How can you write 3946 words on the topic "Why Is Bob Herbert Boring?"

Was that some kind of joke?


Almost Ali said...

I wouldn't know. In 17 years, he grabbed my undivided attention for three paragraphs.

Trooper York said...

If Mort was awake he would say that was racist.

Trooper York said...

If Bob Herbert was awake he would say that is racist.

vbspurs said...

'Cause some thing's just write themselves.

vbspurs said...

Oh God! I wrote an aberrant apostrophe S just like Illiterate Protest Teacher! KILL ME NOW!

AJ Lynch said...

BHerbert said:

As the most esteemed graduate of The Cut & Paste School of Journalism, I would like to thank the inventor of the fax machine for the work I produced in my early years, Al Gore, who invented the internet and gave us email, & the liberal think tanks who, throughout my long career, provided so much inspiration that my columns literally sprang from my fingers to the computer keyboard.

Without them, writing a column three days would have been very hard work.

edutcher said...

The joke is the idea that Bob Herbert "...'s genuinely right, or at least close enough that it'd be petty to look for exceptions. When the majority loses its bearings, Herbert sticks with the sane minority".

This guy hasn't seen the majority, much less the sane part of it, since 4th grade.

vbspurs said...

Oh God! I wrote an aberrant apostrophe S just like Illiterate Protest Teacher! KILL ME NOW!

Now, now. We all stray from the path of rectitude. The important part is to realize you have sinned and to seek forgiveness.

I'd give you five Hail Marys and an Act of Contrition, but I don't think you swing that way.

Sixty Grit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SteveR said...

I have to take a nap

rhhardin said...

Herbert has to get more into quips.

Lincolntf said...

I'd read a relatively harmless Bob Herbert column over the typical MoDo snarl or Krugman hair-puller any day of the week.
(I can't read Krugman at all anymore. Ever since the stimulus/bailout/Obamanomics ship sank he's been coming off as deeply unhinged.)

Kansas City said...

Well, it was a mostly interesting discussion of why Herbert was almost universally viewed as boring. I have probably read him less than five times in 17 years, and probably never though the entire column.

It prompted me to read his final column. About three paragraphs in, as I was becoming bored, he set forth the following line that, to me, showed why he is boring:

"Limitless greed, unrestrained corporate power and a ferocious addiction to foreign oil have led us to an era of perpetual war and economic decline."

Why would anyone want to read such sap?

ps His note at the bottom makes it sound like he was fired, but it seems almost impossible that the Time would fire a black columnist.

Julius said...

I could make a two-hour long video clip of me telling the world why Robert Wright was boring...

Could do it right here with my webcam. Wouldn't even need to budge.

About Bob Herbert: Nobody pays any attention to him because he's black. Leftists-- and especially New York Times leftists-- know not to take seriously the writings of a black man unless he's writing about the tribulations of race. Sometimes they'll make an exception if he's discussing the problems of oppression confronted by other groups that the liberals crusade for.

The Leftist rule: Black people should write about race. Let the educated elite write about other things.

From the end of the linked piece:

But I also think that the Times op-ed page could use more than just one writer on Herbert's beat.

In other words, he's suggesting another token black. The NYT would never go for it... unless maybe, just maybe, Cornell West would take the job.

Mr. D said...

Iowahawk summed up Herbert in one tweet. 19 years, 1 column.

Tully said...

Heh. Am I the only one who remembers the Automatic Bob Herbert?

John Lynch said...

I read that essay when it was first posted and I remember it very well. I think it's a good critique of what's true vs. what's interesting. The truth is often boring, just as the simple things are hard.

Herbert became a lot more relevant when he was a voice in the wilderness talking about the recession and its gutting of urban economies. There was a total news blackout about how the black middle and working class was being hammered by the economic collapse. Except for Herbert.

Good for him.

rhhardin said...

The truth is often boring, just as the simple things are hard.

"An interesting fact when you come right down to it is that simple people like complex things. But what amounts to an extraordinary coincidence is mediocre people liking firstrate things. The explanation can't be because complex things are simple. It must be because mediocre people are firstrate."

E E Cummings "Anno Domini 1940"

vbspurs said...

Edutcher wrote:

I'd give you five Hail Marys and an Act of Contrition, but I don't think you swing that way.

I do, I do! And I think an errant apostrophe S deserves a whole rosary, don't you think?

John Lynch said...

Just paraphrasing Murphy, who owns ee cummings any day.

Henry said...

The sad fact is that almost all columnists are boring. This fact is only reinforced by the idea that some columnist is worth reading because in some 1,000 columns he (or she) once or twice wrote something perspicacious.

Guess what. Style matters.

I'm not surprised that no one quotes Herbert. What shocks me is that anyone would quote any of the mainstream columnists, except to point out when they're dweebs (Brooks) or morons (Friedman).

Or, as T.A. Frank inadvertently admits, when they're gimlet-eyed bastards like Charles Krauthammer:

By contrast, I could easily name ten other columnists who seem to make it their mission to find new, untested forms of destruction to bring upon us. If you told me that, say, Charles Krauthammer's articles were ghostwritten by Skeletor, I doubt I'd blink.

See? That's interesting.

EDH said...

Maybe the article was intended as a drinking game?

Like the drinking game "Hi, Bob," where you take a shot every time a character in the Bob Newhart Show says "Hi, Bob."

In this game, you read T.A. Frank's article, and every time he writes Bob Herbert, you take a shot of booze, and by the time you're finished with the article, you're so smashed that you actually believe Bob Herbert is a great opinion writer.

EDH said...

Maybe it's a spoof on Monty Python's Big Red Book?

Why Accountancy Is Not Boring

By Mr. A. Putty, from Monty Python's Big Red Book

First let me say how very pleased I was to be asked on the 4th inst. to write an article on why accountancy is not boring. I feel very very strongly that there are many people who may think that accountancy is boring, but they would be wrong, for it is not at all boring, as I hope to show you in this article, which is, as I intimated earlier, a pleasure to write.
I think I can do little worse than begin this article by describing why accountancy is not boring as far as I am concerned, and then, perhaps, go on to a more general discussion of why accountancy as a whole is not boring. As soon as I awake in the morning it is not boring. I get up at 7.16, and my wife Irene, an ex-schoolteacher, gets up shortly afterwards at 7.22. Breakfast is far from boring and soon I am ready to leave the house. Irene, a keen Rotarian, hands me my briefcase and rolled umbrella at 7.53, and I leave the house seconds later. It is a short walk to Sutton station, but by no means a boring one. There is so much to see, including Mr Edgeworth, who also works at Robinson Partners. Mr Edgeworth is an extremely interesting man, and was in Uxbridge during the war. Then there is a train journey of 2 2 minutes to London Bridge, one of British Rail's main London terminal, where we accountants mingle for a moment with stockbrokers and other accountants from all walks of life. I think that many of the people to whom accountancy appears boring think that all accountants are the same. Nothing could be further from the truth. Some accountants are chartered, but very many others are certified. I am a certified accountant, as indeed is Mr Edgeworth, whom I told you about earlier. However, in the next office to mine is a Mr Manners, who is a chartered accountant, and, incidentally, a keen Rotarian. However, Mr Edgeworth and I get on extremely well with Mr Manners, despite the slight prestige superiority of his position. Mr Edgeworth, in fact, gets on with Mr Manners extremely well, and if there are two spaces at lunch it is more than likely he will sit with Mr Manners. So far, as you can see, accoun- tancy is not boring. During the morning there are a hundred and one things to do. A secretary may pop in with details of an urgent audit. This happened in 1967 and again last year. On the other hand, the phone may ring, or there may be details of a new superannuation scheme to mull over. The time flies by in this not at all boring way, and it is soon ,when there is only 1 hour to go before Mrs Jackson brings round the tea urn. Mrs Jackson is just one of the many people involved in accountancy who give the lie to those who say it is a boring profession. Even a solicitor or a surveyor would find Mrs Jackson a most interesting person. At 10.00am, having drunk an interesting cup of tea, I put my cup on the tray and then...( 18 pages deleted here - Ed .) .. and once the light is turned out by Irene, a very keen Rotarian, I am left to think about how extremely un-boring my day has been, being an accountant. Finally may I say how extremely grateful I am to your book for so generously allowing me so much space. (Sorry, Putey ! - Ed.)

vbspurs said...

( 18 pages deleted here - Ed .) .

LOL. See what I mean? (see other thread on British humour for clarification)

dick said...

The NYT already has his replacement as boring in place - Charles Blow.

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