Saturday, February 18

It's hard tro typre while weareing glovesa

I'm cold. But not nearly as cold as people who are not inside at the moment. Nights like these, you really, really hope the shelters have opened up to let the homeless inside. It's fricking cold.

The family came up today -- despite the icy conditions -- for the big Toby Keith concert. They stopped by the office and we gathered 'round the lobby for a chat. There is talk of a sleepover in my living room, all seven of them. This is actually fine with me, except that I don't have many blankets or pillows or anything to make sleeping on a wood floor remotely comfortable.

So they may be hotel-bound instead.

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I don't want to say too much about this, because it's not wise to talk about your job on your blog, but it's something that has to be said. And besides, if I was a reader of the paper (and I am), I would really want to know why the hell we were devoting an entire Viewpoints section to controversial cartoons, which is actually a cool idea, but never actually addressing the elephant in the room: The cartoons that started the whole brouhaha.

Not a single one of the Danish cartoons is printed in the paper, or has been.

Our editor has a column about the importance of free expression and the power of a political cartoon. He says things like (I'm paraphrasing) "with freedom of expression comes the necessary possibility of being offended" and "we must cope with offensive images in a free society" and "freedom of expression must be exercised and kept fit like a muscle."

What he does instead is tell the reader to search for Wikipedia, and search for the cartoon controversy on Wikipedia to find the cartoons. Why, my dear readers, if a newspaper purports to be all about the reader's understanding of the news and all about freedom of expression, would we not exercise our own freedom muscle and cut out the middle man and show the goddamn readers what all the fuss is about? At the very, very least, we could provide a link to the cartoons on our website. I'll be watching to see if there is a link from the editor's column.

True, by now, many if not most people have probably seen the cartoons. But I don't think that's the point. Two weeks ago, they hadn't, and we didn't dare run them then. Saying, "Oh, everyone's seen them by now" is too convenient and flimsy an excuse. People are still burning churches and embassies and KFCs and people are dying over this bullshit. The tip-toeing by members of the big bad media brigade -- we who know best what to shield the reader from! -- has to stop. If we don't get with it, we're going to whittle down our own relevance to the point where we are completely useless. And readers know this already. When will editors figure it out?

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