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Eddie Dean’s tirade against George Michael, Channel 4’s harmless sportscaster (“Bad Sport,” 12/26/97), employs a formula that writers at the Washington City Paper use over and over again. They take an innocuous, random sample from popular culture (George Michael in this case, but I’ve read articles in which they use the same tactic to pen tirades against mainstream movies, TV shows, and bands) and scream at it, not for the sake of criticism but to turn the person, movie, TV show, or band into a hated opponent.

Consider the harsh language that Dean uses in his article and consider the target of his criticism. Michael is a sportscaster whose one remarkable personality trait is that he’s always in a good mood. He never comments on serious issues or does any hard reporting; he only talks about sports. Yet Dean feels the need to turn his article into a personal attack by calling Michael “a tannery-faced jackass” and a “tiresome fool [who] finally needs to be muzzled.”

I know that writers for the City Paper are young, and I know that young writers need to infuse their articles with attitude in order to get noticed—and that’s OK. But I have a feeling that these formulaic attack articles that crop up over and over again in City Paper are more motivated by jealousy than anything else, and that’s a little embarrassing for the paper.

I might be wrong, but I can just picture Eddie Dean seething in his one-bedroom apartment furious that someone as mediocre as George Michael can make $500,000, while someone as clever and daring as he has to struggle by on a meager 5 percent of that. Am I wrong, Eddie?

Arlington, Va.

via the Internet