Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Douthat Disappointing

Three columns in, and I'm beginning to regret that Ross Douthat, late of The Atlantic, has moved to the New York Times. It's not that I don't agree with what he's written. It's rather that his columns are thus far merely dumbed-down versions of what's he's already written. At The Atlantic, Ross posted almost every day, almost all of his posts were longer than his NYT columns, and a hefty percentage of these postively crackled with insight. On a typical day, I stood a decent chance of coming away from his blog smarter than I was when I arrived.

The NYT columns, in contrast, are short, only once weekly, and appear to be written at a high school sophmore level (no doubt an NYT policy). Thus, they say less, and say it less compellingly. Honestly, if I were a liberal, I doubt I would find him especially persuasive, and if I weren't already a fan, I would probably not cross the internet to read him.

Nonetheless, I wish him well. I hope the NYT makes him obscenely rich so he can retire to The Atlantic in comfort.

1 comment:

trumwill said...

I think that he's bound to be a disappointment. Writing a column for a paper is much harder than writing a blog. With blogs, it's easier to build on ideas. You can have short or long pieces reinforcing your points. Columns give you 550-800 words to make your case. You have to assume anybody that's reading it hasn't read your previous works. You can't pick up where you left off with a link or two for context.

I wrote a column for the student newspaper at my university. It wasn't a tough gig, but it was a lot tougher to be good.