Columnist’s phony ‘compromise offer’ to the politically correct

Accusing the Denver Post of pandering by proxy to the ignorant, intolerant right end of the political spectrum by publishing pieces like this one by Jon Caldara might be a bit of a stretch, but what the hell.

As a writer and editor myself, I would demand better of a person who identifies as “a Denver Post columnist.” I would expect a columnist to have a better understanding of the importance of words than Caldara exhibited in his “compromise offer.”

No one is “mandated” to use what he derisively calls “politically correct terms.” In our still free society, we can learn to respect others’ wishes regarding how they prefer to be identified, or we can be like Caldara: Insult them as hyper-sensitive snowflakes and whine like a spoiled child about how many syllables they expect us to use.

I know Caldara didn’t really intend to reach out to anyone with his phony compromise. Some years ago I edited nationally syndicated opinion columns, so I’m familiar with some of their devices. He used “sincere” when he meant “insincere.” He proposed to make a deal with the imaginary “PC” monolith that the right so loves to hold up to ridicule. He tried to use his son, his “Downs kid,” to gain some sympathy and score anti-PC points.

Jon, here’s the same question I asked you on Twitter: How many syllables in “libertarian-conservative”? Probably way too many by your standards, but if that’s how you identify, stick with it.

Dear Denver Post, I think I’ll go with “pandering by proxy” after all. You can do better.

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“Good content can’t be free”

That’s a direct quote from an opinion piece by Bloomberg View columnist Leonid Bershidsky. It ran a few days ago in the Denver Post, which I read both in print and online. I pay for it.

In the context of Bershidsky’s piece, I could not agree more. He writes about the trend toward paywalls that real news organizations use to get paid. The jury is still out on how well that will work out, but news consumers will pay and should pay for good, trustworthy reporting.

I also could not agree more with his statement in another context: News organizations and others that charge for their content or that generate ad revenue by providing content should pay the people who write it.

Good content can’t be free.

Bershidsky points out that the Huffington Post, which has a history of getting something for nothing from gullible writers, has “scaled back its platform for unpaid bloggers.” That’s a step in the right direction, but it does not go far enough.

I don’t imagine the Huffington Post cares, since it is on the receiving end of a content giveaway, but writers who donate their work to help such companies make a profit demean themselves. They also drive down compensation and dry up opportunities for professional writers, freelance and otherwise. (Much of what they give away is crap, too. It’s true that you get what you pay for.)

Until such platforms for unpaid bloggers are gone, or those bloggers stop giving their work away, I won’t be reading anything that companies like the Huffington Post publish. Neither should you.

I am a child with silver hair

My first documented arrival on the planet that I now share with you was in the United States of America a little more than three-score Earth years ago. In the grand, cosmic scheme, I am but a child, a baby of the boom.

The third of six children, the son a now long-dead alcoholic physician whom I rarely acknowledge and a smart, loving, hard-working mother who was single for far too long before she died, I am among the luckiest of men. I am loved by and tolerated by and married to a wonderful woman who keeps me alive.

And still I am but a child as I sit here wondering why my foot hurts and my knee aches so much for someone so young.

Though still a child in these crying, drying eyes, I have outlived a sister, and cousins and friends, and many, many faithful dogs, and some cats that I never understood.

My hair turned white somehow, somewhere along this lucky streak of mine.

My love calls it silver. I am a child with silver hair.

‘Loaded gun in my purse? Silly me.’

Denver Post columnist Mario Nicolais writes here that officials made the right call by not pressing charges against Colorado State Rep. Lori Saine, who was caught carrying a concealed weapon through airport security.

I’m not so sure.

It was “an honest mistake,” writes Nicolais, who says he carries, too, and easily forgets that he’s doing so. He says the lawmaker shouldn’t have to defend herself in court for an honest, understandable episode of carelessness. Presumably he is now absolved, too, in advance.

Mistakes like Saine’s, however, aren’t much different from those that lead to the tragic deaths of children who find guns that parents or others forget to secure properly and safely.

Saine likely beat herself up inwardly, Nicolais said. Maybe even with expletives! He guesses that she asked herself within a second of being caught how she could be so careless.

Yes, how horrible that imaginary inner dialogue must have been for her.

An individual who is prone to forgetting he or she is carrying a deadly weapon should not be permitted to carry a deadly weapon, concealed or otherwise.

Still, forgetful Coloradans Saine and Nicolais could be carrying in any state soon if proponents of concealed carry reciprocity get their way.

 

Knives and hammers are irrelevant when the topic is death by gunfire

Denver Post columnist Jon Caldara left out some important numbers in his attempt to trivialize the role of rifles in U.S. mass murders and to mock the growing outrage that millions of Americans feel over our monstrous epidemic of death by gunfire.

boy-958478_1920bHe accuses people of focusing on and misunderstanding assault rifles, as if those details were all-important, while entirely missing the much larger picture of this nation’s gun fetish himself. He points out that rifles were used in only a tiny fraction of last year’s 11,004 homicides by firearm (So what?) and he completely ignores some 20,000 or so other gunfire deaths.

It’s true that there is no media sizzle in the deaths of one or two people at a time. To our eternal shame, most of the 93 individual deaths per day by gun are not newsworthy on a national scale because we are so used to them and there are just too damn many of them.

Caldara can rest assured that a single mass murder by knife, blunt instrument or hammer would make the national news. There would be sizzle, but those murders would still be irrelevant to guns.