John McIntyre, whom James Wolcott calls "the Dave Brubeck of the art and craft of copy editing," writes on language, editing, journalism, and random topics. Identifying his errors relieves him of the burden of omniscience. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org, befriend at Facebook, or follow at Twitter: @johnemcintyre. The original site, http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/mcintyre/blog/, at www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/, and now at https://www.baltimoresun.com/opinion/columnists/mcintyre/
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Snow day 6
Some events to date:
Item: Yesterday afternoon, with Diana in the cat carrier, Alice and Kathleen close behind, I made my way past the Value City furniture van stuck in the snow at the end of the block, and over to Laurelton, where Alice’s ride back to Garrison Forest School waited. Both daughter and cat are warm and secure in the dormitory.
Item: Elizabeth Large announced her impending retirement as restaurant critic and blogger at The Baltimore Sun. Dining@Large, which will cease publication, has been a remarkable success, on some days outdrawing the paper’s sports blogs, and establishing a rare community of articulate and entertaining readers. They are called the Sandbox, which did not please everyone, but you go with the nickname you have, not the nickname you want.
Elizabeth was one of my favorite colleagues at The Sun, someone with whom it was a pleasure to talk about food or blogging or the personalities in the newsroom and or the essential looniness of the newspaper business in its last days. Her good humor was unfailing, even when she was hard pressed. No one better deserves the ease of retirement, and no one will be more missed.
Item: Of course, amid the outpouring of affection and regard in the comments on her announcement, there was one jarring note. Someone writing as “Sadie” commented:
Happy for you but frankly i'm not sad. It was clear that you weren't happy with your job - it was increasingly rare for you to treat us to an actual review rather than asking your readership to do your job for you by writing about our own experiences. The point of a professional reviewer is to share with us your vast knowledge of cuisine etc. I don't care what Joe down the street thinks - You are paid to use your expertise and review restaurants. Maybe the Sun will be able to find a reviewer who will enjoy their job, actually review restaurants and possibly come close to what the Post has in Tom Sietsema.
Those who have actually read the newspaper are aware that Elizabeth has maintained her standard schedule of reviews without faltering. The blogging, including posts on her days off and during vacations, was in addition to her reviews and articles for the print edition. Further, Sadie appears not to understand what a blog is and how it works.
Thus she illustrates that characteristic feature of the Internet, the combination of ignorance with effrontery.
Happily, some Sandbox regulars, in the self-policing that has been a notable feature of Dining@Large, called Sadie to account. Shut up, they explained.
Item: As I walked back to the house after seeing Alice off, I got a telephone call informing me that I had been passed over for another job. After nine and a half months out of work, this no longer strikes me as a momentous event.
Item: Today, as several people have discovered on Facebook, is my fifty-ninth birthday. A bottle of prosecco is chilling in the refrigerator, and we will open it at dinner to toast the years past and the years ahead. Unemployment and THE WHITE DEATH FROM THE SKY have not done me in.