I've decided to make something of a project, a leitmotif, a recurring theme of Mike Seate. Sure, he's an obscure columnist for an obscure Scaife rag. But he draws the eyes like a red-pavement car wreck. His narcissism, obnoxiousness, and obtuseness are so exaggerated that I was forced to look him up on IMDB to make sure he's not actually a cartoon character or an escapee from a Lifetime Network Move. ("Mother, May I Sleep With Asshole?") It's still possible that the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has been infiltrated by someone with a sense of irony and he's actually an extended joke or piece of performance art at the expense of their coal-dust-addled readers.
As hobbies go, this one is low-maintenance. I'll just check on him occasionally and let you know about his latest column or blog entry, and see whether he's beaten his personal best in terms of offensiveness or moronism. I might ask one of you artistic types to make a meter or a graph. Other people have already realized that this hobby is fun. It'll be low-maintenance, like owning a turtle. Although I don't think turtles are bitterly prejudiced against Asians. Or superbike-hating baseball fans, whatever a superbike is. So far as I know. There's always that whole soup thing, maybe they carry a grudge.
But I digress.
Today in the Book of Mike, we learn that Mike is secretly a socially dysfunctional eighth-grader. Remember the kid in junior high who was not only awkward like a nerd, but actually mean spirited, rude, thoughtless, aggressive with weaker kids, and as a result generally regarded with the same esteem as crotch rot? Remember how that kid inevitably concluded that the reason he was universally despised was that the mediocrities around him resented his brilliance, insight, sophistication, and willingness to speak truth to power?
Most of those kids got over that by about the ninth grade.
Mike Seate is just discovering it.
There are plenty of journalists who measure their success by the number of bronze wall plaques they win at awards ceremonies.
Me? I opt for a far more tangible means of measuring my effectiveness as a newspaper columnist: The number of people who refuse to return my phone calls.
Being feared and loathed is, in my humble opinion, the true measure of a journalist's skill.
There follows several paragraphs about many people who have refused to take or return Mike's calls.
So if there are no quotes from the connected and powerful in this space, well, rack that up to my reputation. It seems to be doing the work for me.
Uh . . . yeah, Mike, that's it. It couldn't be that your columns are a demi-literate word salad of fatuities, inaccuracies, generalizations, and slurs. It couldn't be that your factual premises stink heavily of the ass from whence you pulled them. It couldn't be that you mistake prejudice for insight, self-regard for judgment, and a major metropolitan newspaper for your livejournal page. It's because you rock so hard. That's why people won't take your calls. In fact, most professional journalists recognize that not getting your calls taken is one the chief qualifications for good writing. That's why the Wall Street Journal is staffed entirely with telemarketers.
On my new MikeSeateScale, this column gets a 5. The self-delusion score is very high, but though he's celebrating the condition of being a dick, he's not being a dick to anyone in particular.
Mikey, I know you can do better.
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