Kvetch of the Week: Boycott, schmoycott!

This one would be uproariously funny if he weren’t so serious. But Los Angeles-based journalist T.J. Sullivan mobilized the Journosphere into invasion-force strength this week by suggesting that newspapers should shut down their Web sites for a day — he suggests July 4 — to show those Internet freeloaders that what they consume comes with a cost:

“People can do without news on the Web for a week. They won’t like it. They’ll complain about it. But, that’s exactly what has to happen before they can be expected to care.

“Pulling the plug gets their attention.”

Well, Sullivan’s jeremiad got the attention of the new media set with a vengeance. Generally the response has been: Go ahead, see if we care. Be careful what you wish for, etc.

This blog has previously expressed its general distaste with snark — merely for the sake of snark. So please understand why I believe that is not the case for what follows as the new Kvetch of the Week, Ken Layne of Wonkette, demolishes Sullivan’s heartfelt plea, and his ilk, in rare High Kvetch form:

“But it’s not just the printing press you people are whining about. Most of you coddled cubicle hacks have never even seen the pressroom. What you’re so pathetically grieving is your fading culture, a masturbatory profession of over-educated overpaid typists who had a stranglehold on American journalism for 30 years or so — the Golden Era of the fat monopoly newspaper with its total control of local opinion, the real estate and jobs markets, which politicians were on the way up or down, who had an Important Wedding, what ladies were the stars of Society and the Debutante Balls. You people were the dam that held back all the world’s information: stock prices, distant wars, consumer trends, comic strips, Fall Recipes, and those precious reprints of George Will columns. And you trickled out a little bit each day, the volume depending on the number of ad pages. It’s a good thing nothing important ever happened on Mondays, right?”

5 thoughts on “Kvetch of the Week: Boycott, schmoycott!

  1. @Ken Lane: I’ve got to say it makes me snicker to think anyone believes we journos were intentionally turning Monday’s into slow news days. Sorry, Dude. Slow news days, Mondays or otherwise, have never been welcomed.


  2. “Reading” online will never be the same! — “Screening” enters the
    online vocabulary.

    Do you “screen” news online, or do you “read” news in print
    newspapers? — A new word has been coined to refer to reading
    information online, changing the way we take in information

    by Dan Bloom

    NEW YORK (RUSHPRNEWS) — What you are doing now is not reading, but
    “screening.” Yes, you are at this very moment screening the text
    printed digitally on this computer screen. You are not reading text on
    a paper surface; you are “screening” this article through the lens of
    the computer screen in front of you. A new word is born — screening!

    When a top computer industry writer at the New York Times was told
    about this new term, he told RushPRnews in a one-word email note:

    Screening? Can anyone just coin a new word and make it stick? No, but
    new words are coined every day, and some stick and some don’t. Time
    will tell whether or not “screening” (to mean “reading information on
    a computer screen, as distinct from reading a print newspaper or
    magazine or book”) will stay with us or not. For now, the word has
    been accepted by the editors at urbandictionary.com and is listed


    Screening is defined as: “To read text on a computer screen, cellphone
    screen, Kindle screen or PDA screen or BlackBerry screen; replaces the
    term “reading” which now only refers to reading print text on paper.”

    Example: “I hate reading print newspapers now. I do all my screening online.”

    The word is so new, not everyone has seen it yet. And many do not
    agree with its coinage.
    Amit Gilboa, an Israeli writer living in Singapore, told RushPRnews:
    “No, it’s still reading. Whether in a book, a print newspaper,
    chalkboard, whiteboard, it’s still reading words made up of letters.
    Screening is still reading.”

    However, Hidetoshi Abe in Tokyo, Japan, told this reporter he likes
    the new term and agrees it fits our new Internet age. “I think
    ‘screening’ makes perfect sense to represent the way we now take in
    information via computer screens. It’s a whole new ballgame.”

    Reading, of course, is a complex cognitive process of decoding symbols
    printed on
    a paper surface for the purpose of deriving meaning (reading
    comprehension) and/or constructing meaning, according to scholars.
    Written information on a
    printed page is received by the retina, processed by the primary
    visual cortex, and interpreted in Wernicke’s area.

    But when we “read” online (or “screen”, in the new coinage), the
    digitalized information is processed in a different way. Reading
    online is the same thing as reading on a paper surface in a book or
    magazine or newspaper.

    Reading on a print paper surface is a means of language acquisition,
    of communication, and of sharing information and ideas. Screening on
    the Internet is a horse
    of a different color.

    Readers of print paper texts use a variety of reading strategies to
    assist with decoding (to translate symbols into sounds or visual
    representations of language), and comprehension. Screening online uses
    other strategies, and the information is processed by our brains in a
    different way as well.

    Reading text on print paper is now an important way for the general
    population in many societies to access information and make meaning.
    However, a new form of reading, called “screening” now takes place when a
    person “reads” text on a computer screen or PDA screen or cellphone
    screen. This form of reading, now called “screening”, is a very
    different form of communcation.

    You have just “screened” your very first article online using this new
    term. You are now an Internet screener. Congratulations, and welcome
    to this amazing new world.

    Comments are more than welcome, pro and con.


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