Jewish World Review August 28, 2013/ 22 Elul, 5773
Shoptalk, or: What makes a columnist?
By Paul Greenberg
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Dear Old Timer,
It was wholly a pleasure to get your thank-you note for my mentioning
You took me back to that era when you mentioned some of the characters in the comics back then -- the Katzenjammer Kids, Little Joe, Orphan Annie ... as well as a newspaper columnist named
There were some fine writers back then, and often enough they were syndicated. Walter Lippmann, for example, before he lost his edge,
There were giants in the earth in those days, enough to rouse both our admiration and pity in turn, depending on what point in their careers we caught their acts.
Some columnists we still look forward to reading regularly. We get to know them, to savor and relish their work, to anticipate it and then appreciate it. They're a treat and an education. They stay with us. They become part of our lives. Just as
The rare Mencken or Orwell become classics and enter our literature.
Then there are those columnists we read only out of a sense of duty, or a masochistic appetite for boredom, or to see what mischief they're up to now, or maybe just to groan over. The way we did Pegler in his old age, poor man.
What makes a great columnist? Or a not so great one? It may boil down to the difference between writing and Persuasive Writing, which is a whole different breed of feline. Schematic, calculated, synthetic. Much like the difference between writing and Creative Writing, which isn't writing so much as a college course, a "workshop," a bore. (It was the late great
Have you noticed? Once a qualifier is attached to any art, it's no longer an art. Any more than Social Justice is the same as justice. It's a way to reduce an ideal to a special interest.
You be well, new friend, and, as another fixture of the old days used to say, "thanks for the memories."
Another Old Timer
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