Friday, March 10, 2023

Dear Wall Street Journal

I was shadowbanned! I think...

Image by Eveline de Bruin from Pixabay

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids — the Stickies — eventual selves to advise them and haunt them after they've become grups and/or I'm deleted.  

Trigger Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in a debilitating meltdown.  


Featuring Dana: Hallucination, guest star, and charming literary device  

"We live in a world where finding fault in others seems to be the favorite blood sport. It has long been the basis of political campaign strategy. It is the theme of much television programming across the world. It sells newspapers."                                                                                                        -Henry B. Erying 

Dear Stickies and Gentlereaders,

{Wait-wait-wait. Dear WSJ? That's like writing Dear Congress, or Dear United States Army. Using a personal salutation when communicating with a company/organization is dumb.}

Hey, Dana, I get letters and emails from all sorts of faceless entities that begin with Dear Mark Mehlmauer, and then prattle on with phrases such as please cease and desist or the like. Now, where was I? 

I'm writing to thank you for when you (apparently) temporarily banned me from being able to comment on your news stories and editorials or even see the comments of my fellow subscribers. I use the word apparently because you did so without dropping me a line to explain why. Which, incidentally, I thought was rather rude.  

(For those gentlereaders not of a certain age, the phrase "drop me a line" is an archaic social convention from the dead trees era that means the same thing as text me, dm me, hit me up on _______, etc.)

I've been reading your world-class publication for decades, going all the way back to when I was a (pre-woke era) lefty, and I've been a paid subscriber to the digital version for I don't know how long now. This is in spite of the fact my retirement income is relatively modest and your monthly subscription fee is not. 

However, I continue to subscribe for the same reason I started reading the dead trees version of the WSJ prior to owning my first computer and when my local paper sold for 25¢. Your paper sold for a buck back then and store clerks would ask me why anyone would pay a dollar for a newspaper.

Answer: The high quality of the writing and the in-depth coverage.

As the years rolled by... flew by, years don't roll by anymore, most other newspapers drifted leftward as I drifted in the other direction but you didn't change... much. I'm not wild about the shopping feature stories:

"Buy Side from WSJ is a reviews and recommendations team, independent of The Wall Street Journal newsroom. We might earn a commission from links in this content.

Last Minute Valentines Gifts (They'll Never Know You Procrastinated)

Or, the fashion features that feature fashions one (theoretically) may wish to buy. I'm still trying to unsee the one about men's underwear. However, articles about absurdly overpriced clothing that's laugh-out-loud funny, or looks like ordinary people's clothing but costs a hundred times as much, helps me to appreciate living in Flyoverland. 

But I get it, trying to keep the lights on and the reporters paid in an era wherein the news — though not necessarily real and/or mere narrative-serving propaganda and/or sensationalism — can be had for free can't be easy. 

I can count on you for traditional, objective journalism with news stories clearly delineated from your world-famous op-ed pages that were, and are, unabashedly conservative with a libertarian tinge, but with a willingness to publish opinions written by prominent and articulate individuals of the left. 

{As opposed to?}  

Most other publications and the wire services, whose allegedly straight news stories are often hard to distinguish from editorials. Publications that profess objectivity but follow a narrative so as to wake the unawokened. 

{Wire services?}

For gentlereaders not of a certain age... never mind. 

{Hold up there, Sparky, what's all this fanboyish blather have to do with you being grateful you weren't allowed to see other people's comments or post comments of your own?} 

I admit I was becoming addicted. I, who require readers to click over to Cranky's Facebook page if they wish to comment on my work so as to avoid having to moderate them, and for other reasons, found myself spending inordinate amounts of time reading comments on news stories and opinion pieces of particular personal interest. 

And then I started making comments in spite of the fact I consider both reading comments and commenting a waste of precious time. I don't wish to pass judgment on those who enjoy that sort of thing but surely we can find a better use of our time given that there never seems to be enough of it to go around. 

Everyone yelling at everyone else about everything, which is what commenting on news and opinion articles often is, or often quickly becomes, seems to be making everything worse. I'm no longer a commenter, my column is my comment on everything. Go on without me.

But I still think you were rude. 

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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