March 1, 2005

"Not My Will, But Thine, O Lord"

I REMEMBER VISITING THE EDITORIAL FLOORS OF NEWSWEEK IN NEW YORK every so often. High up. Carpeted. A relaxed humm of 'damn it we're important' permeating the place. But that was then and this is a now in which Newsweek and its ilk grow smaller and more out-of-it every passing week. This week's case in point is a vile and smarmy little scribble about the Pope, He Has Willpower—But No 'Living Will' . In it, the obviously secular and utterly clueless Christopher Dickey has the temerity to write:

Yet this same pontiff who continues to assert his will in the daily life of the church has given his doctors no instructions about how to sustain his life, or not, should he slip into a persistent coma. Could anyone -- would anyone -- pull the plug? And under what circumstances?
You will have to read through many, many copies of the Weekly World News to come across a dumber insight or hook for a story than that one. Christopher Dickey obviously enjoys some special protected status at Newsweek to be able to file such tripe and still draw a paycheck.

Most people would know, without a lot of reflection, that the Pope by definition is not going to be into the artificial shortening of life either before birth or on the edge of death. It has to do with something called surrendering to God's will and abnegating one's own will; the "Thy Will Be Done" syndrome. This is pretty much stock intellectual and spiritual equipment when it comes to Popes of the Roman Catholic Church. You'd think someone assigned, however briefly, to the Vatican Beat by Newsweek would understand that. You'd think so, but you'd be wrong. Someone should bring Christopher Dickey home before he starts writing articles on which organs the Pope should donate and why.

Posted by Vanderleun at March 1, 2005 3:14 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

For Mr. Dickey, such writing is par for the course, and he's far from unique at Newsweek (I have to read it as part of my job, if you can believe it). Apparently, groups of Newsweek reporters are given regular assignments to report on subjects they are unable to grasp before their deadline, so they proceed to fill space with trendy prose intended to hide the fact that they have no idea what they're talking about. Non sequiturs and logical contradictions abound. For the most part, Newsweek is no longer a serious publication, if it ever was.

Posted by: Kurt at March 1, 2005 5:51 PM

"..trendy prose.." is right. I subscribe to about eight news publications, and over the years I have found reading Newsweek leaves me ... I can't think of the right word to describe the visceral emptiness I feel. But no articles in that magazine give that fulfilled feeling of 'damn, what a great article'. I find myself rereading paragraphs because the subsequent paragraph feels out of place, and in the end, there is no profound conclusion to sum things up nicely because, it seems, there is nothing to sum up. Does Anna Quindlen write for Newsweek? I can't remember... She makes me nervous because I'm always afraid she's going to lose consciousness mid-stream. Rewrap that and you get stream-of-consciousness writing from someone who doesn't understand premise, body, conclusion. 'Trendy prose' begone. Um, I could always cancel my subscription. But nah.. I like the letters to the editor that gripe about the articles too much.

Posted by: Amy at March 1, 2005 6:53 PM

Yes, Anna Quindlen writes for that rag.

Posted by: P.A. Breault at March 1, 2005 7:43 PM

Quindlen? Wasn't that the woman in the coma years back? Oh, wait. Karen Anne Quinlan. Sorry.

Posted by: Stephen B. at March 1, 2005 7:51 PM

I thought they meant Kathleen Quinlan

Posted by: Mumblix Grumph at March 1, 2005 10:17 PM