May 29 2005

MediocrityWatch ’05


I can’t remember which one was Squiggy

It’s fun and easy to mock the Huffington Post, the new mega-metablog of cutting-edge Hollywood thought (oxymoron), so let’s get started!

I’m not saying there’s nothing worth reading on that thing (I enjoyed this piece by some apparently famous guy named Adam McKay, who writes with some competence that which no lefty can resist: one of those futile, reasoned appeals to the deranged right that they come to their senses for their own good), but really, who but the most afflicted fan gives a crap about how some 2nd-tier TV actor feels about the political situation in Africa? He who requires Christine Lahti’s views on current events must also require a hole in the head.

Incidentally, who the heck is Arianna Huffington, anyway? Besides, as The New York Times calls her, "a bold-face name" who ran against the Governator? I mean, what’s with the accent?

Currently and comically, the Huffington Post features the musings of a TV sitcom writer who uses the platform to deplore, apparently without irony, the appalling mediocrity of today’s TV sitcoms. Agreeing with the author’s premise isn’t difficult, especially when you consider that if the guy’s somewhat uncertain relationship with the nuances of the English language is typical for his species, it’s no wonder network comedy is in the crapper. For instance, he titles his post "Wither Squiggy." Does he demand Squiggy’s desiccation? Does he mean to reintroduce the extinct interrogative adverb, as in "Whither Squiggy?" Or is he calling Squiggy a castrated goat? I realize it’s the 21st Century, a perilous time for the American intellect, and that standards are slipping, and that the president says "nukular," and Johnny Can’t Read, but shouldn’t "has writing skills" still be one of the main qualifications for "writer"?

Which brings me to the point of all this: If everybody who isn’t a credentialed logician would just avoid the phrase "it begs the question" when what they really mean is "it raises the question," the world would at least give the appearance of being a much less stupid place. Every time I hear this term abused by some supposedly educated pundit it is as a dagger through my heart. Which is a felony, though, sadly, not much enforced.


  1. Ray

    Damn right! It’s the trendy misused phrase o’ the moment. That and saying something doesn’t “jive” with something else. Which always makes me think of Barbara Billingsley for some reason.

    You would really like this guy: http://www.worldwidewords.org/

  2. Twisty

    Ray, my man, we are two hearts that beat as one on the subject of World Wide Words. Michael Quinion is a hero. The Force is strong within him.

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