Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Joel Stein is one cynical bastard

Ooh. Joel Stein is all excited. Someone noticed his column. People are threatening his life. He stands by his column. He’s a regular Judy Miller. And all he had to say was “I don’t support our troops.”

But we don’t think he means it. Do you think he means it? It's kind of obvious he’s looking for attention for his column in the LA Times. No?

Joel Stein is a weisenheimer who writes a “humour” column. He’s happily lightweight, more suitable as one of those VH-1 “We Love The 70s” talking heads, offering quips about Lee Majors and The Hudson Brothers (disclosure: Tabloid Baby author Burt Kearns appeared as a talking head in some of those VH-1 specials). The word “snarky” was invented to describe him. He shouldn’t be allowed to write about serious stuff.

But Stein is an old person’s idea of young person’s point of view, so he managed to get a spot in Time magazine, and when Michael Kinsley took over and tried to “hip up” the L.A. Times editorial pages, a Sunday column there. It was the most useless, irrelevant and, well, “snarky,” LA Times column since Chicago sports writer Mike Downey temporarily moved to, then lost, the coveted page 2 spot.

After Kinsley left his mess behind at the LA Times, Stein was removed from the Sunday pages and, probably due to his Kinsley contract, given a midweek column.

No one paid it much heed until yesterday, when Stein wrote “I don’t support our troops.”

The reaction has been scripted and played out many times before. It’s been played out before. He writes the column, the right wing dunderheads stand on their bully pulpits and denounce him, the paper is flooded with letters, calls and emails, subscriptions are canceled, and Joel Stein gets to report that he’s received death threats. He’ll show up on TV, he’ll get on the lecture circuit-- heck, he might even sell a script in Hollywood.

Of course, Stein offered a "serious" explanation for his incendiary lead. But he knew no one would read further. He knew he was throwing a bomb. And he needed to, so he'd be noticed.

Now if Joel Stein turns up dead or tarred and feathered, we apologize in advance. And of course he has the right to write whatever he wants. And he may even be right.

But one thing seems certain: Joel Stein is one cynical bastard.


Anonymous said...

Boy, did you nail him! He's just painful on those "Count-down" shows--I caught him trying to find something funny to say for a CMT show. I declined to use him for a similiar show at E!, and the talent exec. told me that Joel used to call them up, to pitch himself!
But this piece was stupid and positive about it. I don't think this is going to get him a first-look deal anyplace.

Anonymous said...

Joel Stein explains (wink, wink!)


bob baker said...

joel stein isn't interesting enoigh to be a cynical bastard. he's a poor man's larry david. watching the LAT trying to be hip is as painful as watching a 50-year-old man wear an earing. stein ought to leave political satire to people who have a certain talent for (a) politics and (b) satire.

Anonymous said...

The top ten Joel Stein columns:

1) Why It's Actually Pretty Funny That My Grandmother Is Dead.

2)Oye Vey Auschwitz! My Jewish Comedian Roots.

3)Ghandi. Wasn't the Diaper Supposed To Go On His Head? What's Up With That?

4) Save Water at Arlington. Piss on the Graves!

5) The World Trade Center: Kong Go Home. Osama is King of Special Effects!

6) Mass Graves. Ever Notice How Every Body is Ridiculously Twisted?

6) Cancer Schmancer

7)AIDS. Laugh and be Merry! You're Gay Aren't You?

9) IED's. Let's Start Clearing the 405.

10) Your Dad Fought in World War Two? Yawn.