That's what I am - gobsmacked and wrong.
Apparently James Lileks, one of America's funniest and most entertaining columnists, will no longer be writing entertaining mirth for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. No, he'll be covering city hall or the mayor or the garbage strike or something. Something that most of us who've got, not a journalism degree, but about 8 hours of communications courses could do. A waste of resources.
Apparently a bunch of folks were let go, or bought out. More cuts are on the way and, as Lileks points out, he still has a job. He's very graceful about it.
I wrote yesterday that I couldn't believe it, that there had to be more to the story, but I was wrong. It's hard to imagine misusing talent this way. I understand things are hard for papers these days, but I don't think the answer is to eliminate your most unique and marketable property. It's a competitive media market and to make the decision to be no better than anyone else is not how to win.
A small number of writers do not care for Lileks and some of them expressed themselves in their typical poisionous and bitter way, once again belying the fact that they really don't understand the issue or the outpouring of support for Lileks. Hopefully this will be clear. Nobody believes Lileks is 'owed' a job or that the Trib has committed some sort of violation against him or other bloggers or Mom or apple pie or anything. No, what has us all gobsmacked is what I wrote in the previous 'graph. It's simply stupid to kill your best product if you want to stay around. Hugh Hewitt called it suicidal. It'd be the same as if Ford decided to stop production of the Mustang or if the Yankees decided that Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter shouldn't be in the lineup anymore, but should just file scouting reports on the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. (Thanks, Dave Barry)
No, the Trib can do as they please. The poisionous, bitter, crabby ones can do as they please. Lileks can do as he pleases.
And so can other competitive media searching for a great talent to add to their stable.