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Good Idea!

At least one of Jack Shafer's readers is doing some smart, innovative thinking about the media. I, too, think that Matthew Yglesias would be an ideal replacement for Bill Safire. Why, I was on the phone with Arik just the other day, and he was telling me the same thing. "Don't you think," the Prime Minster asked, "that it would be more useful to have a liberal columnists in my corner?" And I, for one, am happy to be a pawn of any and all well-placed sources who want to talk to me.

December 14, 2004 | Permalink

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Comments

You're in Arik's "corner"???

Posted by: Al | Dec 14, 2004 10:31:26 PM

Well I would be if he pulled strings to get me a New York Times column....

Posted by: Matthew Yglesias | Dec 14, 2004 10:41:38 PM

"I, too, think that Matthew Yglesias would be an ideal replacement for Bill Safire."

Your grammar needs improvement first.

Buy a copy of Strunk & White, learn how to channel Dick Nixon's ghost, and the job is yours.

Posted by: Petey | Dec 14, 2004 11:20:09 PM

Matthew...You need more directness (clarity....less words. Take a self-editing course.) and more outrage to replace Safire as a columnist. You have all the ideas, approaches and writing gifts.

It's so strange...Republicans come across as firm and as strong leaders because they speak with authority...yet their words are usually nonsensical, even stupid. Democrats speak in soft, intellectual tones and fancy, long words, and they come across as weak and wishy-washy. Yet their words are insightful and wise....exactly what our country needs.

A bit more outrage. I'll send you my Chicago Manual of Style and my Elements of Style. :)

Posted by: Debi | Dec 14, 2004 11:30:46 PM

Speaking of style, I think Debi means you should use *fewer* words.

Posted by: BW | Dec 14, 2004 11:55:58 PM

BW....Exactly. Fewer words. Better economy of words. I recommend "Edit Yourself" by Bruce Ross-Larson for your bookshelf, Matthew. It's certainly on mine.

Posted by: Debi | Dec 15, 2004 12:11:23 AM

Also, you should become maliciously nasty and shamelessly dishonest.

And pick up the habit of making pompous, stupid remarks about Writing, while failing ever to write a single thing that anyone would ever want want to read ten years later (unless they're looking for evidence against a corrupt and disfunctional press.)

Seriously, I nominate Josh M. Marshall, but I think that that's totally unrealistic in the world of today, even though Josh is a pretty right-wing Democrat.

Posted by: John Emerson | Dec 15, 2004 12:35:58 AM

Just keep repeating to yourself that Mohammed Atta met with the Iraqi intel guy in Prague that April and you'll do fine. Although I agree that your chances at getting On Language in the deal are pretty poor.

Posted by: Ruth | Dec 15, 2004 12:41:36 AM

You know, if there is one thing the New York Times lacks, its the persepctive of an Ivy league upper-middle class New York Jew.

Posted by: Rob | Dec 15, 2004 1:46:06 AM

"Seriously, I nominate Josh M. Marshall, but I think that that's totally unrealistic in the world of today, even though Josh is a pretty right-wing Democrat."

JMM is a "pretty right-wing Democrat"?

I'd say your understanding of the American political spectrum is pretty skewed, John Emerson.

Posted by: Petey | Dec 15, 2004 2:28:26 AM

Arik: "Heh, that would make Tom Friedman go meshugana."

Posted by: sofia | Dec 15, 2004 3:38:47 AM

Arik wants you exactly where you are now. Should the plans change you will be notified thru the usual channels; remember: when you wristwatch beeps twice contact your cell-leader immediately.

As usual, should you or any member of your group be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions.

Ta-da-ta-da-ta-da...

Posted by: abb1 | Dec 15, 2004 3:55:22 AM

Matt, your Internet readers want you on TV. I'm thinking you'd be a good host for CNN's Crossfire.

Seriously, why does ANYBODY have to replace Bill Safire. They have plenty of columnists at the NY Times. And plent of guest contributors. I don't understand why the blogosphere is obsessed with the Times' OpEd page, especially David Brooks, Tom Friedman, and Paul Krugman (and people used to care about Maureen Dowd.) There are other newspapers, other opinion columnists, other sources of commentary.

Posted by: Anita Hendersen | Dec 15, 2004 8:33:40 AM

I think the Safire space should be used instead for a "comments" section, where the Times would publish comments by readers on the Columnists' posts, er, I mean, columns.

Posted by: Al | Dec 15, 2004 10:16:26 AM

Who cares? The NYT is dead. Just a bunch of empty suits being led around on leashes by "official sources", and doling out conventional wisdom. If it weren't for the simple fact that it's the local home-delivery newspaper for most of the media, it would be treated as the second-rate rag it has become.

With the notable exception of Krugman, the NYT Op/Ed page is the biggest pack of vacuous, self-important, narcissistic, bloviating wankers ever assembled in one place (except perhaps when Charles Krauthammer dines alone.)

And even Krugman's not half as brilliant and important as he seems to think he is.

Here's a tip-- DON'T READ THE TIMES. Knight-Ridder has done a far better job of covering foreign affairs lately, and the frickin' Toledo Blade has better writers. Use the internet, seek out quality news and opinion where you can find it, and quit lending such an inflated cultural importance to a mediocre paper.

Posted by: Violet | Dec 15, 2004 11:11:57 AM

Obviously, any replacement for Safire would have to be someone who regularly communes with the ghost of Richard Nixon . . .

How about it, Matt--told any good ghost stories lately?

Posted by: rea | Dec 15, 2004 11:18:26 AM

Here's a tip-- DON'T READ THE TIMES. Knight-Ridder has done a far better job of covering foreign affairs lately, and the frickin' Toledo Blade has better writers. Use the internet, seek out quality news and opinion where you can find it, and quit lending such an inflated cultural importance to a mediocre paper.


I have an issue with this advice - I can't read these in the subway in the morning; for some reason, the WiFi doesn't work that well underground. Guess I'll have to stick to NYT paper version.

Posted by: Al | Dec 15, 2004 11:49:59 AM

"Here's a tip-- DON'T READ THE TIMES. Knight-Ridder has done a far better job of covering foreign affairs lately, and the frickin' Toledo Blade has better writers. Use the internet, seek out quality news and opinion where you can find it, and quit lending such an inflated cultural importance to a mediocre paper."

The Toledo Blade? The NYT is more fun to read than any other U.S. paper. The WaPo has better political coverage, but nothing reads as well from front to back as the Times.

Posted by: Petey | Dec 15, 2004 1:51:56 PM

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