Columnists and Crybabies
Have I ever mentioned that I spent 17 of my 42 years in journalism as a metro columnist?
Yeah, I thought so.
Did I mention that it was the best job on the newspaper - on any paper - and I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything?
Well, it was.
I learned a lot during those years. I learned, for example, that liberals are late risers. I almost never got their steaming, livid emails before noon. By contrast, incensed conservatives were up with the sun, firing off their angry missives over their morning coffee.
I also learned that when you dare to air opinions that people don’t like they won’t just disagree with you, they’ll launch ad hominem attacks and try to get you fired.
I didn’t care. In fact, I came to enjoy the squawking.
Like all columnists, I was routinely called an idiot, moron and fool. But I also found that some readers took special pleasure in attacking an opinionated woman by pushing buttons they figured would inflict the most pain.
They called me ugly, fat - you look like you’ve never missed a meal - and mocked the color of my hair.
As time went by they called me a harridan, a crone, an old bag, a hag or a harpy.
Scores of them called me the one word I refuse to use on my website. A word that begins with c. And no, it wasn’t “cute” or “coquettish”.
What did I do with those vile messages? Laughed about them with my colleagues. Some were so mean I printed them out and pinned them on my bulletin board.
Which brings us to Bret Stephens. The thin-skinned, humorless Pulitzer-prize winning crybaby columnist for The New York Times who was trending on Twitter yesterday. He’s an anti-Trump conservative - the only kind NYT readers can somewhat stomach - yet his skepticism about climate change brings him lots of venom from Times’ readers.
On Monday, a George Washington University professor made a lame Twitter joke about Stephens and the bedbug infestation at the Times:
The Tweet initially went unnoticed. Nine “likes” and no retweets.
But Stephens changed all that when he quickly replied with an indignant email, daring Professor Bedbug to come to his home and insult him in person.
Here’s the worst part of this inane story: Stephens sent the professor’s provost - his boss - a copy of his email. Although the columnist denies trying to get the professor in trouble, what other reason could there possibly be for such a weaselly move?
Naturally, the professor Tweeted out Stephens’ email and suddenly social media was lit.
The upshot? Stephens brought lots of attention to a limp insult lobbed at him by a dweeby college professor and made himself look like a hopeless snowflake in the process.
Stephens then quit Twitter in a huff and went on MSNBC whining about the nerve of some people to call him names.
“All I would say is that using dehumanizing rhetoric like bedbugs or, you know, analogizing people to insects, is always wrong,” Stephens cried. “There’s a bad history of being analogized to insects that goes back to a lot of totalitarian regimes in the past.”
What a ninny.
Any columnist who snaps over a mild insult - or even a ripe one - is in the wrong business.
This former columnist, this harpy, has three words of advice for Bret Stephens: Grow a pair.