The new Salon and the rise of a new generation!


Loom and womb! The tale of the vaginal knitter: We don’t expect to keep writing about the new Salon. But three new pieces at the site represent a type of problem.

This morning, we were puzzled by a piece by Koa Beck. It appears under this designation:
Passing for white and straight: How my looks hide my identity
I'm neither straight nor white, but I'm frequently mistaken for both—and it's taught me a lot about privilege
SUNDAY, DEC 8, 2013 07:59 PM EST
Quick summary: Beck—full name Koalani Beck—is a youngish, Hawaiian-born woman whose father is white and whose mother is a light-skinned “black-Italian.” Beck, who is gay, is about to marry her partner.

These circumstances produce a large number of apparent complaints from Beck. That said, we’ll admit we can’t quite discern what the complaints really are.

Apparently, most people can’t tell, simply by looking, that Beck identifies as black. Others can’t tell that she’s gay.

Is a genuine complaint lurking there? It’s possible, but it’s hard to tell what that complaint is from reading Beck’s piece.

That may be a function of Beck’s writing, which is highly writerly and extremely unclear. According to the headline from Salon, Beck has learned “a lot about privilege.”

Go ahead! Try to discern what it is.

Beck’s strikes us as writerly but unclear. So too with a tremendously puzzling piece which ran under this name-calling summary:
Travels with right-wing nuts: My road trip on Route GOP with Paul Ryan and Michele Bachmann
One liberal, three GOP strongholds: What a drive through Ryan and Bachmann country says about America right now
SUNDAY, DEC 8, 2013 07:00 AM EST
This is a very long, rambling piece by a 25-year-old fellow who spent four days driving around the Midwest, visiting the congressional districts of Ryan, Bachmann and Steve King, apparently in search of something.

That headline grabs the eye with its familiar name-calling. To his credit, Lutz doesn’t do a lot of name-calling himself, although he engages in a fair amount of tribal snark.

Below, you see the way he starts, as he strolls through Ryan’s home town.

“Hibernal” means wintry. It isn’t clear that Lutz is the person to be calling things boring:
LUTZ (12/8/13): Janesville is boring.

It’s Nov. 4, just after 11 a.m. The sky is the color of steel, the air hibernal. I’m walking past Rep. Paul Ryan’s district office. Except for some people waiting for a bus, there’s nobody else outside.

I’ve come here from Chicago on a sort of anthropological mission: Over the next four days, I’ll see Paul Ryan’s congressional district in southern Wisconsin, Michele Bachmann’s district in the suburbs of the Twin Cities, and Steve King’s district in western Iowa—a 1,200 mile drive across the Midwest in search of the region’s secrets. I’m not sure what I expect to find, but I hope visiting these places, and trying to understand them, will shed some light on the political right wing currently waging war on the federal government—or at least paint a portrait of the culture they were birthed from.

Tall order for a road trip, I know.


I’m not sure what I was expecting. People casually sporting tri-cornered hats? Mobs burning copies of the Nation and Mother Jones?
Let’s state the obvious. Even Salon’s new slate of writers can’t believe that driving 1200 miles across the Midwest in four days enables a person to “shed some light on the political right wing currently waging war on the federal government—or at least paint a portrait of the culture they were birthed from.”

Come on! Even Lutz can’t have believed that this burst of hard travelin’ was going to help him unearth “the region’s secrets.”

Obviously, Lutz is being disingenuous about the reasons for his utterly pointless road trip, in which he appears to have spoken to no one but a few desk clerks in the three congressional districts he ever-so-briefly visited.

Lutz seems like a nice young person who is trying to be a colorful writer in the tradition of earlier colorful writers. That said, this is highly ridiculous writing even by the new Salon’s persistently ridiculous standards.

In comments, quite a few people noted Lutz’s total failure to interact, “anthropologically” or otherwise, with any of the actual people who live in those congressional districts. That said, his remarks about tri-cornered hats were snarky enough for the new Salon.

The headline writer jacked up the snark, turning it into raw insult.

Completing the rule of three, we direct you to this remarkable piece. Yes, this actually ran in the new Salon:
Meet the world’s most famous vaginal knitter
Performance artist Casey Jenkins talks to Salon about her decision to knit with yarn inserted into her own vagina
SATURDAY, DEC 7, 2013 08:00 PM EST
Yes, that’s what it said! As you can see if you read this piece, “performance artist” Casey Jenkins is knitting out of her vagina—and talking right out of her asp!

Other remarkably stupid pieces appeared at the new Salon this weekend. These pieces betray obsessions with race and gender—serious topics!—mixed with the complete inability to say something identifiable about these high-interest matters.

The writers are young and underwhelming—deeply, profoundly underwhelming. Race, sex and gender are serious topics—and the new Salon is in the hands of some underfed, extremely young, not-quite-actual-writers

What can it mean for progressive interests when a new generation comes along mixing this set of obsessions with an overwhelming lack of talent and seriousness? Sometimes with massive self-absorption? With the cynical, click-baiting headlines for which the new site has already made itself famous?

On balance, we’ll guess it could mean something bad. The plutocrats dream of new waves of piddle—piddle designed to make the world think that, anthropologically speaking, we libs are a carload of children, complainers and clowns.


  1. Huffington Post became successful using click bait headlines. The stories only occasionally match the teaser headlines. Why shouldn't Salon copy their model for success? I think the youth of the writing staff may reflect financial problems. Also, experienced writers won't want to write this kind of stuff and children won't know any better because they have been reared on it.

    Along with the tabloidization of the internet (and commercial TV) there have arisen successful niche markets to support higher quality content. Readers who object can go there. Of course, because it takes a choice to get there, people won't have their opinions challenged or their knowledge broadened, as they would by real journalism. They will have their preexisting views validated.

    I'm not sure whether the complaint is about the content of Salon or about its label as a liberal voice. If the problem is that it reveals that the readership on the left can be as dumb as the readership on the right, why shouldn't that be true? Salon is doing this because readers like it, even liberal readers. I don't know how to fix that except by promoting better K-12 education, as Somerby is already doing.

    1. They took a big risk offending Dolphin fans.

  2. I followed the link to the Beck piece and was mildly curious to see what the commenters thought her point was (because I didn't really get it either), but couldn't find the comments.

    Did Salon eliminate comments when it switched to the (crappy) new design?

  3. There are fine sources of news and analysis that have kept and will keep an integrity, including this blog.

    1. Somebody has to stand up for Arizona State. Too many tribal liberals are still boycotting the whole place, hurting native Hispanics and indigenous Navajos in the process.

  4. I need a guideline to explain where homophobia ends and heterosexism begins. Are they synonymous, or are they actually similar yet clearly distinct concepts,, like sociopathy and psychopathy? Or are those two really the same?

  5. I love fancy words. Why say "big word" when "sesquipedalian" is available? The other day Merriam-Webster's word of the day was "hibernaculum." I waited desperately for a chance to use it in a sentence to confuse and enrage my friends. One never came up. Had I known the very next word in the dictionary was "hibernal," I could have been as impressive like Lu


  6. Nice post lovely blog people will get attract to see this......