Editorial page writers like to think of themselves as solemn defenders of the public debate, but really, they’re just as childish and petty as the rest of us. How else to explain three editorials in recent days devoting precious column inches towards ridiculing state Sen. Ken Jacobsen for introducing a bill that would allow dogs in bars?
Dismissiveness is the rhetorical tool of choice as the Seattle Times mocks the bill as “the silliest piece of legislation this session,” while the Seattle P-I incredulously asks “Bringing dogs to bars? Whose idea was that?“ The lede in the Everett Herald adopts the same scornful tone, asking: “Scooby-Doo, where are you?“
No doubt this is one of the least important issues facing legislators this session, and I gotta admit it’s kinda funny. I actually support granting bar owners the freedom to welcome dogs (few bars would,) but hell, even I couldn’t resist making fun of this bill. But then, I’m just some blogger, not the editorial page editor of one of the state’s largest newspapers.
I guess my question for these editorial boards is, if the issue is so frivolous and foolish, um… why are you wasting so many scarce column inches debating it?
There are many, many important issues that never get a proper public debate because they’re too wonky or boring or difficult to explain (to readers and editorialists alike.) But dogs in bars? Damn… three editorials in as many days. If you wonder why politicians push bills like this, perhaps it’s because this is what editorialists choose to write about? It reminds me of the Times editorial that abused me for having “successfully placed the phrase ‘horse’s ass’ into dozens of family newspapers.”
As if I held a fucking gun to their heads.
Sure, it’s a helluva lot of fun ridiculing politicians, don’t I know it. But my advice to our state’s editorial boards is that if you want to maintain your reputation as solemn defenders of the public debate, you better start playing the part.
Attack the real issues, but leave the snarkiness to us bloggers. That’s what we do. (And we do it better.)