The slow-motion car wreck known as Salon!

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2013

Another sad sign of the times: Early this morning, we clicked on Salon. This exciting new report sat at the top of the pile:
“How do I become a male porn star?”
After I wrote about the adult film industry, I got emails from men all over the globe with one common request
SUSANNAH BRESLIN
MONDAY, DEC 2, 2013 07:00 PM EST
Inquiring minds have been fleeing Salon. Apparently, those which remain want to know about matters like this.

This weekend, we returned to our sprawling campus from our Thanksgiving travels. On Sunday night, these are some of the reports awaiting us at Salon:
Dating in a push-up bra
I finally found the solution to a lifetime of shame about my small breasts. But then, it was time for the reveal
TAMMY DELATORRE
SUNDAY, DEC 1, 2013 08:00 PM EST

The rise of girl-on-girl
Four times as many women report having had a same-sex experience than they did two decades ago. Why?
TRACY CLARK-FLORY
SATURDAY, NOV 30, 2013 07:00 PM EST

Period pride takes pop culture by storm
From songs to T-shirts, artists are embracing menstruation in all its bloody glory
EMILY SHIRE
SATURDAY, NOV 30, 2013 02:00 PM EST

Embrace your small penis, men: Everyone else is lying anyway!
Only one man in 100 reaches beyond the 5-to-7-inch average. Why are men lying, and why do women expect more?
TOM HICKMAN
SATURDAY, NOV 23, 2013 04:00 PM EST

Psychopaths: Some are just like us!
Look out! Not all psychopaths are serial killers. Some reveal asocial tendencies more subtly, as a new test shows
JAMES FALLON
SUNDAY, DEC 1, 2013 02:30 PM EST
“Psychopaths: Some are just like us?” Careful, Salon! In a court of law, that could sound like a confession!

(Why do we include that report from November 23? On the weekends, for unknown reasons, Salon brings back its stupidest reports from previous weekends.)

As anyone can see, Salon has reinvented its range of topics in the past year or so. This wouldn’t be a terrible thing if so much of its reporting wasn’t so god-awful stupid—if so much of its work didn’t seem so blatantly cynical.

In the 1990s, Salon started out as a notably smart publication, one with a liberal perspective. Some of its work still fits that description. Much of its work does not.

As Salon has reinvented its sweep, it has dumbed its work way down. To us, this is another sad sign of the times.

Tomorrow: McDonough’s latest

You’ll have to judge this one yourself: On Sunday, we also found this report. We'll ask you to judge it yourself:
How I found my voice as a feminist of color
When a girl’s pageant crown was rescinded because of her skin color, I finally said what I needed to say
DANIEL JOSÉ OLDER
SUNDAY, DEC 1, 2013 08:00 PM EST
For the record, the girl in question was seven years old. You’ll have to judge this one yourself.

49 comments:

  1. I read the Salon article about the beauty pageant. The writer pretends that the issue was color and not the fact that the Dominican roots of the winning girl were questioned. The article was one of the many race-card games played by Salon.

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  2. Looking over Salon, the story about the vulgarian guy who tweeted his harassment of a disgruntled fellow airline passenger was pretty on target, despite the cliched identity politics allusions.

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  3. They still have Michael Lind. Occasionally.

    A recovering white Southern conservative, he brings unique insight into what's going on underneath the grass roots of the Tea Party. What we call the blue vs. red contest he sees an extension, or revivication, of the old blue vs. gray that has divided America forever. The South, more as a state of mind than as a region, is rising again, though not in such an obvious way as before. Yahoos toting the stars-&-bars and wearing Obama masks are mere distractions, quarterback sneaks. The whole Conservative vision is but a paean to that good ol' fuedal, plantation-based mercantilism of antebellum Dixie.

    But he's a bit schoolish for the new Salon.com, and his columns lately have not been as regular as before. I fear that soon he will either resign for be discontinued. Then the only reason to look in on David Talbot's once venerated e-zine will be the occasionaly reprinted interview with Noam Chomsky.

    What would then be left of my reading list except for (one-trick-pony Krugman the dreary end-of-days musings of Truthdig's Chris Hedges?

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    Replies
    1. Just out of curiousity, what antebellum business model was around that best reflects some proverbial northern egalitarianism?

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    2. Hedges and occasionally Krugman are nearly all that is left of my reading list also.

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  4. Jeeves Stump:

    The South lost the Civil war only militarily. They have never changed culturally and harbor actual ill-will towards Blue States. None of it mattered until air-conditioning came on the scene and the South recruited Northern businessmen in pauperizing the North by moving means of livelihood to the South with its siren song of low wages, non-existent safety net and union-busting (Detroit was killed by the South by building a low-wage non-union manufacturing base)

    The Red States are now a clear and present danger and are champing at the bit to turn the US into a banana republic and beyond a shadow of a doubt this blogger is all for that.

    And yes - Michael Lind is one of the few observers of the scene who writes about the neo-confederacy.

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    Replies
    1. "Neo-confederacy" is an odd name for a movement whose intellectual leadership includes Dinesh D’Souza, Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Bobby Jindal, Clarence Thomas, and other "people of color" (as liberals like to call them.)

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    2. The South is not who Salon is calling racist on the beauty pageant article. They call hispanic pageant organizers racist.

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    3. Neo-Confederacy allows you to add the component of covert but pre-meditated racism to heretofore fat cat tropes of a more institutionalized discrimination within the entire culture.

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    4. David in Cal (aka racist twit)

      I wouldn't take pride in Bobby Jindal as one of yours - didn't he say the GOP (=the neo-confederate party) should stop being the stupid party?

      Neo-confederacy is mostly about pugnacious, ignorant, bigoted Southern White Males but it is also a state of mind. Italian-Americans from Brooklyn move South and in a generation or two claim descent from Robert E Lee. After all Southern New jersey raised a regiment for the South during the civil war and didn't a fair number of blacks fight for the South also?

      These exceptions mean nothing.

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    5. "Neo-confederacy is mostly about pugnacious, ignorant, bigoted Southern White Males but it is also a state of mind. Italian-Americans from Brooklyn move South and in a generation or two claim descent from Robert E Lee."

      Well, hell, "in a generation or two" northern transplants are also claiming to be the antecedents of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings, and of the inventor of sweet potato pie.

      What you don't know about Southerners is a lot...

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    6. Anonymous @1:39P,

      A brief time spent with the google finds no reference to New Jersey raising a regiment for the Confederacy. Do you have a cite? "Raising a regiment" was an official state function, so it seems unlikely that a free state would recruit soldiers for the CSA. Did you mean that a regiment's worth of Joisy volunteers decamped for the CSA? Union states with split loyalties (KY, MD, MO, WV) did send units to the South. And southern California. Go figure.

      As for black Confederate soldiers, it depends on what you mean by "a fair number." There were no more than several hundred. (About 180K black men served in the Union armies.) The CSA didn't authorize arming black soldiers until March 1865, by which time it was too late. Only utter desperation overcame the fear of armed slaves, not to mention the conviction that slaves were constitutionally incapable of the required understanding and discipline.

      It may seem that DAinCA is a racist because he quotes white supremacist sources. I've admonished him about this before. But really, I think that he's just incapable of distinguishing fact from opinion, and any opinion that he finds that supports his prejudices will do.

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    7. Deadrat,

      I remember reading about the Southern NJ regiment raised for the South but it is hard to find an online source. But why would it surprise you - wouldn't Southern NJ have fallen under an extended Mason Dixon line?

      Delete
  5. I find it sad that feminists of color are so much about victimhood, rather than achievement. There are so many black women with high achievements. E.g., consider Amalya Lyle Kearse. She's both a top; judge and a top bridge champion. She's brilliant. I wonder how many black feminists even know that she exists.

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    Replies
    1. David, you do understand that feminism is about removing barriers to equal opportunity, not celebrating the accomplishments of women, of color or otherwise?

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    2. It is sad that you can read that article and write it off as "about victimhood."

      And Somerby is right to notice that the girl in the beauty-pagent half of the article is seven years old.

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    3. Yes, 12:07PM to some degree black feminists are "removing barriers to equal opportunity". But, IMHO most of those barriers are long gone. Obviously the legal barriers have been gone for decades. Employers and universities don't have barriers against black women. On the contrary, they generally give them preferences. Publishers are eager to publish their books. Newspapers and magazines are eager to print articles by black women.

      Black feminists have to work really hard to find actual barriers to complain about. That's why they make up imaginary barriers, as the cited article does, by misrepresenting the controversy as being about race, when it's actually about Hispanic heritage. Or, they covertly write racist messages that they can blame on imaginary racists. See http://www.amren.com/news/2013/11/shocking-discovery-in-hoax-bias-incident-at-vassar-college/

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    4. Re: David in Cal's post, he refers to the American Renaissance website for support of his ridiculous screed.

      AR is the publication showroom for the New Century Foundation, the publisher of such gems as "White Identity", "The Color of Crime", "The Affirmative Action Hoax", and (saving the best for last) "The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy."

      That this guy(?) is given any credence at all in the combox shows how low discourse on race has sunk.

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    5. Those false bigotry incidents at Vassar were widely reported. I chose one source out of many from google.

      For you to distrust the chosen source is one thing. I understand that you don't like the New Century's worldview and their interpretations. However, note that you provided no instances of that organization being factually incorrect. Furthermore, it would be easy for you to check this story. It seems as though you're bending over backwards to not know about this story.

      It may be that liberal sources gave this story limited or zero coverage. Both liberal and conservative media tend to downplay stories that make their side look bad. You can get a more complete view of what's happening in the world by getting your news from both types of media.

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    6. David @ 2:03: There was an interesting article in Atlantic about the use of video games to hire personnel. They described studies showing that even people who believe they are not biased against minorities show bias when making their personnel selections. Like you, they believe that affirmative action has given minority candidates an advantage, but the stats and their own behavior in various studies shows the contrary, that biases still exist in personnel decisions. You might check it out, because the author is not a sociologist but someone in the business world advocating use of games to select employees.

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    7. Is this the article you're referring to? http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/12/theyre-watching-you-at-work/354681/

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    8. Dink@2:03 - "You can get a more complete view ... by getting your news from both types of media."

      Do as you say, not as you do, right, hypocrite?

      Delete
  6. I completely agree about Salon.Ten to fifteen years ago it had consistently smart writing and reportage on a variety of topics.

    To my mind the biggest problem is that their political reporting has become merely feel-good pap for the liberally inclined. The average article (it seems) is an illustration of a Republican doing something so awful that it proves the intellectual or moral superiority of the progressive side. If it can be cast as a race or gender issue, then the most remote and minor right-winger becomes Salon-worthy. This is followed by an analysis showing that the Republicans have so damaged their brand that the left will inevitably win.

    If any of this pap was true the Republicans party would have been consigned to the history books long ago.

    For me the end point was Salon's coverage of the Wisconsin recall election, whereby Salon writers showed that governor Walker and the Republican senate majority were quite possibly toast. It made for a good read, but it wasn't connected to the electoral facts.

    There was always a certain amount of raciness mixed in, e.g. Tracy Quan and their sex columnist, but even that wasn't the merely titilating click bait they publish consistently now. To excess.

    I was interested by the article by Daniel José Older that Somerby linked to at the end. The two topics --- the author's experience of media uninterest in the deaths of women of color, and the beauty pagent fooforaw --- could have been separated into different articles.

    The first topic was an intelligent and personal reaction. He was distressed about the lack of societal and news media interest in the violence against women of color that he, as a paramedic, was witnessing. (And it indirectly makes the point that not only does the media head toward the sensational, it *defines* what is sensational.)

    It was a bit of an eye-opener. There has been way too much ink spilled over accusations that somehow white feminism neglects race issues, and thereby address only white issues by default. This is one of the few articles that explained how the author perceived a kind of microagression.

    But back to the main topic: Somerby is right that Salon has almost entirely lost its way.

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    Replies
    1. It was tacky to take the girl's crown after she won instead of verifying eligibility at entry. Presumably parents of the competitors who lost complained.

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  7. It should be obvious that Salon attack posts, just like Salon posts on push-up bras, are click generators. And it is good to see evidence that Howler readers are also Salon readers, based on the number of commenters who have referenced their digestion of some of the work cited here.

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    Replies
    1. Generally reading something before rendering a judgment on it is considered a good thing.

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    2. I am glad you generally agree. Say, have you ever had an embarassing picture (or comment) go viral?

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  8. Salon is smarm central. It's hard to fathom the mentality of anyone who still regards it as relevant or intelligent.

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  9. Salon uses SEX as click-bait? Who woulda thunk?

    This kvetching about something even the NY Times does suggests that the blogger hasn't been getting much lately - and boy is that going to sour somebody's outlook.

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  10. A few weeks back Salon at least LINKED to a terrific piece by Thomas Frank on current cliches in our political speak. What was sad about it was that it stuck out like a sore thumb. Salon's use of sexy time fun stories to draw in readers was always there, it's just goes through periods where it becomes beyond parody. It's in one of those now. Sad thing is these people may just know what they are doing, and this really is what you need to attract readers nowadays.

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