Thursday, February 12, 2009

Asses and assumptions

I wanted to respond to the melange of "comments" on my column today (or "editorial" as some see it), but I don't want to waste column inches on the online drivel, so here we are.

I guess I'm an ass, and I would apologize, but I'm not quite sure what to apologize for, seeing as most (not all) of the comments on the column are simply people who think they know me, or assume to know the details of my life or my political affiliations, and all but a couple of these commenters throw out mindless blacktop trash talk and "you suck" or "stuff it" instead of trying to tell me why they think I suck or why I should stuff it. Fair enough. I suck. But, why?

One commenter claims I don't know the plight of the working man, while another tells me I'm going to be stuck at McDonalds the rest of my life. Yet another commenter seems to think he knows my class schedule, my TV watching habits, and my underwear size (all wrong, by the way).

The assumptions amaze me. Cowardly little people gain a certain boost of confidence and authority when given a mouse, keyboard, and monitor. Folks that are so irate at my stupid rantings, yet instead of taking action and writing an email or a letter or even (Pete forbid) construct an intelligent guest opinion they choose to spout 4th grade insults or make accusations about my life outside the Daily Iowan. I don't mind, honestly. Part of being a writer is knowing you're always going to have critics, and sometimes those critics can provide valuable insight and help you to improve. I guess this wasn't one of those times.

What amazes me even more is the complete stupidity of certain return commenters, who absolutely hate my writing, hate the paper, hate our "liberal" views, hate our editorials and I'll bet they even hate our pets. Yet, for some reason, they CONTINUE to read, every day, expecting some miraculous shift that has yet to materialize. It takes me back to a clip I found on the internet of the old Tony Kornheiser radio show. Tony is upset because a listener emailed him to tell him he hates Tony's show, oh, and by the way, he also listens every day.


Folks, I can't make everyone happy, and I'm not going to try, but here's my question to you; If you don't like my stuff, I have a crazy, way-out-there suggestion...pssst...DON'T READ IT ANYMORE. I know, it's a difficult concept to grab, but give it a shot. Do you buy pork chops at the store even though you hate pork chops? Every week, I'll bet you go back to the meat department and buy pack upon pack of pork chops, and every night you go home and make pork chops for dinner. And you sit there at your table and you chew the pork chops and bitch and moan, "I hate pork chops. They suck. I never have liked pork chops, and I never will."

So, let me ask you, are you making pork chops again tomorrow night?

Kudos to the lone individual who had the minerals to email me and offer her viewpoints.


taco said...

"Yet, for some reason, they CONTINUE to read, every day, expecting some miraculous shift that has yet to materialize."

It's one thing to say this about a person who calls you a liberal shill and goes on to rave about the plight of the American conservative.

But you've told me this before as well, on at least three occasions, and in spite of responding to the "don't read it" idea the same way all three times, it doesn't seem like you get it, because you continue to make an issue of this as if it made sense in anyone's mind but your own.

So I'll say it again, and hope you mark my words this time: This is my community newspaper. As a UI student, the Daily Iowan is a hub of information and source of conversation that links my world with a broad spectrum of my peers on campus, from the inveterate bloggers to the ignorant troglodytes.

This is why I criticize. I want the Daily Iowan to be the best publication it can be so that when I talk news with any given fellow student, we're discussing good information and can productively advancing the discussion of important issues as the educated class of America.

That's why when you reprint lobbyist propaganda as editorial and reassure your readers of how pressing and serious the lobby's issue is, I have to call you out on it. I don't fault the DI for buying into things like that, but I do think that it's critical for people to get the full disclosure. In the case of the ASCE report card editorial for example, I think it's a severe disservice to the student body to pass off uncorroborated information sourced from a special interest group in the way you did and I appreciate the comments pages and the opportunity it provides for readers to present supplemental information.

Anonymous said...

it goes with the territory. just remember that people who agree with you probably aren't going to write about it and also that most people don't read the comments on the website. tens of thousands read your article, a few dozen of those read the comments, and its unlikely that anybody was persuaded by the anonymous slander of trolls.

Anonymous said...

Here's what I know about you Nate. You're the kind of douchebag who writes a column about a girl who disgusts you because she was perusing a People magazine, yet you can't be an arms throw away from your phone cause you constantly check sports scores. Explain the difference between interest in celebrities and interest in sports stars please?

You're the kind of douchebag who whines about the anonymity the internet provides, yet you shut down one of your previous blogs so you could start a new one AND BE ANONYMOUS cause you had to atone for your own writing (and really, how much of a fuck up do you have to be to be asked to leave the Obama campaign?) Whether you did this or not I can't be sure because I was not one of the chosen ones to get an invite.

You give the impression of being a UI student, yet when checking the online student records, there is no mention of you.

You bag on NASCAR fans as being low-class, yet you find nothing wrong with posting a picture of yourself at a super bowl party wearing your Bears gear and gaudy plastic jewelery. Again, explain the difference between the NASCAR fan and an NFL fan.

You see Nate, I know you from all the drivel you have posted online for the past few years. If I am wrong, then I guess you were lying at some point. Not a good trait for a writer. Though you have tried to cover your internet footsteps (why so angry towards pencils?) your ignorance of how the internet works allows me to keep reading those blogs even today. I filter everything you write in this paper through the douchbaggery the real Nate Whitney exhibited in those blogs. Your a hack who thinks smarm and cynicism are endearing traits for a writer.

And hey, Patton, I hope your reading this. Why you aren't the opinions editior and Nate is is beyond me. You writing is incisive, topical and relevant. You post everyday on this blog and really participate. Nate, meanwhile, can barely pinch off a column a week.

Good luck figuring out who this is, Nathan, cause I know it's driving you absolutely bat-shit crazy.

Christopher Patton said...

Hey, taco, I have a better suggestion for you. Apply for a job at the DI. Then you can do your best to fix the problems you see with it.

Christopher Patton said...

And to the anonymous fellow who despises Nate so much: Chill out. I know Nate personally and think he's a good guy.

What role do you think you're playing here? Nate Whitney's secret arch-nemesis? Do you twirl your mustache or pet your white cat while you rant about how odious you find Nate's writings? And, as Nate pointed out, apparently so odious you can't help but sniff and sniff and sniff.

Why waste your energy on such negative pursuits? It can't be good for your mental health.

Nate said...


Keep reading, folks, we'll decide who's dumber.

Again, I'm reminded of the old Tony Kornheiser clip, by "Mr B" who thinks he's got me tagged (and you obviously don't know me if you think I give a rats ass about who you are, or that I care about peoples aliases online)...

"I listen to your show every day for three hours and I can't stand it."

Way to go, folks. Keep up the good work, it's very insightful.