Monday, June 30, 2008

'Smug, almost anthropological condescension'

Posted By on Mon, Jun 30, 2008 at 3:40 PM

That's how one commenter on Manhattan gossip blog responded to a New York Times' want ad seeking a researcher for its Atlanta bureau.

The fuss arose after the Times elicited five pitches from would-be applicants on — and gave rather explicit instructions on what not to pitch: "Please do not submit ideas concerning dog fights, cock fights, or the Confederate flag."

I think that's kind of funny. To me, it speaks to an exasperation with journalism applicants perpetuating Southern clichés. Or something like that.

Gawker saw it differently — as an affront to the South:

To help ensure you are not a hick, the Times has asked you to pre-pitch five stories NOT involving anything the Times has ever covered before (you do take the Times right? It's only $665 per year in trashy zip codes!), and also NOT about cliché things only of interest to the poors.

The Gawker comments that ensued are priceless. They're also as disparaging as Gawker claimed the Gray Lady to be (e.g. "nobody in Atlanta can read"). Gawker accuses the Times of condescension and elitism, and Gawker's readers respond by being condescending and elitist. Oh, the irony.

Best of all — or, depending on your POV, most depressing — are the comments that liken the average Southerner to one John Fitzgerald Page, the Buckhead "douchebag" immortalized by Gawker and honored with a No. 5 spot on CL's most recent Least Influential list.

Basically, we Atlantans are either illiterate or wear really bad shoes. To New Yorkers, I don't know which is worse.

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