21 March, 2007

Salon.com Once Again Jumps Shark, Surprises No One

Joan Walsh would like you to know that she and Anne Lamott are totally BBF for life.

I'm having a bit of a hard time figuring out why I dislike this article so much. I mean, Anne Lamott is a pretty good writer, though I could do without all of the I-Am-More-Spiritual-Than-You subtext which seems to have been an underlying theme of some of her recent work. Maybe it's Walsh's anecdote at the beginning of the piece, wherein she selflessly gives a copy of Lamott's latest book (BEFORE IT'S EVEN OUT, OH MY GOD U GUYZ) to a fellow patron at the nail salon that she frequents. Perhaps it's because her "disclosure" of her friendship with Lamott rings a bit strange. Perhaps it's that Walsh just had to mention that Lamott was instrumental in her (Walsh) obtaining a nice pay raise. [Note: I'm not sure if this bit is in the article any more, but it was in there this morning.] I don't know.

I rarely read Salon any more, because so much of what made it great in the first place (fascinating investigative journalism, excellent film reviews, et al.) is now overlooked in favor of Camille "I am My Own BFF" Paglia's column and other tripe. The one reason I keep going back?** Heather Havrilesky. I absolutely think she's the most talented writer they've got at this point--she has a gift for phrasing, and is one of the best TV writers I've ever read, in that she can make you laugh and make you think even if you haven't seen whatever show she's ripping apart this week. I also enjoy reading Rebecca Traister's work--her piece on the return of the "bimbo" in American popular culture, in particular, is worth a read.

Most of all, however, I am a bit sad that Salon has turned into something that more closely resembles a parody of itself: lots of articles about why Bush should be impeached (like we've never heard that before; and, of course he should be), Camille Paglia saying shocking, eye-rollingly silly things simply for the thrill of saying them, Neal Pollack, Salon writers patting other Salon writers on the back for their "important" work, freaked-out potential MFA students writing to the ever-worsening Cary Tennis about their "creative crises," and shoddy investigative reporting masquerading as paradigm-shifting journalism. I am glad that I decided not to spring for a paid subscription--I was considering purchasing one back when Salon was only starting to encroach upon such a death-rattle phase.

**Besides to read Cary Tennis's column, which I find hilarious because of his inability to do his job, ie: JUST ANSWER THE DAMN QUESTIONS THAT PEOPLE SEND YOU!

1 comment:

Ignatius J. Reilly said...

I totaly agree about Anne Lamont. I've heard people rave about her, but I've yet to read something in one of her books that is unique or interesting. Just seems trite and obvious, imho. I mean, she writes a book about having a baby... really original, because no other woman has ever had insights during pregnancy. ;)