Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Confirmation of my thesis

Megan is not an econo-blogger. She is a fledgling pundit, in the business of selling herself and her poorly considered, mostly narcissistic opinion pieces.
This post is all the proof I'll ever need.

The Dow dropped 370 points today on news that the service industry isn't feeling quite the thing these days. This, of course, raises two questions:

1) Did the fall impact the primaries? Maybe in California. The news came a little to late for East Coast morning voters.

2) Is the fall related to the primary? Possibly, a little. Markets hate uncertainty.
That's it. Big economic news, and that's it. Her "insight" into the drop is to contradict a perfectly logical explanation she herself recited 6 sentences earlier, or what would be a logical explanation if it weren't phrased
the service industry isn't feeling quite the thing these days
Getting back to my thesis, wouldn't an econo-blogger want to, say, just possibly, spend more than 59 unintelligible, contradictory words on news like this?
She probably spent more time typing up her picks for the office primary betting pool.


Sonic Charmer said...

I must say I'm intrigued by your..charge (?) that Megan McArdle is "not an econo-blogger", and you do seem to have the words and blog posts to back it up. But before I run over to Megan and scream "IMPOSTOR! You're NOT an econo-blogger!", and rip off her Econo-blogger Mask, and rescind her Econo-blogger membership card, and delight as she squeals in pathetic reply "And I would've gotten away with pretending to be an econo-blogger too, if it hadn't been for those meddling Fire Megan McArdlers", it would be useful if you could - say, in a future post - outline in more detail,

1. What exactly the precise definition of "econo-blogger" is. (I mean, I'm assuming there is one, since you're clearly working from it.)

2. Why not being one, in itself, counts as criticism - e.g., what precisely is special/superior about this "econo-blogger" category which elevates those who are to a higher status over and above those who are, say, fledgling pundits.

This latter point is especially concerning. After all, *I* am not an "econo-blogger" (at least, I don't think I am): should I therefore feel bad? More distressingly, *you* don't seem to be an "econo-blogger", you seem more like a Fire Megan McArdoblogger. Are you being a hypocrite and should you go mend your ways, or is this simply the tribute that your vice is paying to virtue?

Sorry about all this, I'm still new to Firing Megan McArdle, but I'm sure I'll get there with your help. Best, and keep fiercely fighting the good fight!

spencer said...

sc, it's McArdle who presents herself as an "econo-blogger." Yet she writes curiously little about actual economics, preferring instead to devote an inordinate number of posts to issues like her diet, the exciting social scene of the DC blogging community, and indie rock, among other things. When she does write on the subject she is supposedly paid to write about, her posts are often superficial and trite when they aren't just flat-out, groin-grabbingly wrong.

So it's not that failing to be an "econo-blogger" (whatever that is, though I would suspect it should have something to do with writing about economics a lot) is necessarily bad; I would argue that the world only has enough room for a handful of econo-bloggers, at most. Rather, I think the point is that McArdle has been using the notion that she actually has some kind of technical expertise and knowledge as her hook, her foot in the door to an exciting and glamorous party that is notoriously difficult for run-of-the-mill fledgling pundits (like her) to otherwise access.

And more than that, very few people are fooled by her charade anymore.

NutellaonToast said...

Spencer is exactly write, but I'd like to add that our dislike of MM is not only that she fails to even remotely live up to her self billing (and I think I recall reading that she was hired to be an "econo-blogger" but I am not certain) but also has to do with the fact that she writes heartless, brainless, drivel of a caliber far below what would be expected of any kind of professional writer.

Sonic Charmer said...

Now I'm really puzzled. The charge is that she's "not an econo-blogger" as she claims, yet you can't tell me what an "econo-blogger" is as you don't seem to know yourself. Beyond, of course, writing about economics (which, let the record show: she does). So what's the charge based on?

If your claim is that she doesn't Write About Economics a sufficient amount to qualify for the hallowed "econo-blogger" status, then again, supplying a precise definition of "econo-blogger" where the Minimal Number(Percentage?) Of Posts Written About Economics To Qualify As Econo-Blogger is clearly set forth would be really helpful. Then I could judge for myself the veracity of your charge, e.g. by observing that 59% of Megan's posts are about economics, and she needs 60% to qualify, or something along those lines.

Short of that, I see no reason not to take her word that she is an "econo-blogger", then (whatever it is, like you say). Especially since who gives a crap? (Did you guys neglect the who gives a crap factor, I wonder?)

I also suspect you may be overestimating just how "glamorous" it is to be doing what it is that Megan McArdle is currently doing, and perhaps this misguided envy provides this blog's primary motivation, though of course that's just a hunch. Best, fight, &c.

NutellaonToast said...

Um, I contribute to this blog and I'm a research scientist. I have no envy for someone who is a journalist. Nice try on the psyche 101 there charmer.

As for your other claim, that's absurd. Obviously we don't have a hard set number of posts that must be economics related. If such a number does exist, she is clearly well below it. She often goes days without writing about economics.

When she does write about economics, she does so poorly. She doesn't explain terms that non-economists don't know. She provides no links and MOST IMPORTANTLY she is often completely off base with regards to her analysis (as is noted in this very post).

We don't need to provide a precise definition, because she fails in such grandiose fashion that getting into the details is like poisoning someone's food after you've shot them three times in the face.

Any econoblogger should post regularly about economics and competently so (if they're going to be hired by a reputable publication anyway). She does neither.

And finally, WHO THE HELL CARES? Our point is that she sucks. You can prove that she is an econoblogger, but she's still awful. Yeah, brad wrote about her not being a true econoblogger in the description, but do you really think we'd care if she were competent otherwise? Reading comprehension is not knowing the literal definition of the words printed in front of you, sonic. It's understanding the point someone is trying to make. The fact that you even attempt to argue that we're being silly because Megan is actually an econoblogger (which, again, she's clearly not) proves that you have no comprehension as to what we actually mean.

I'd say it's amazing that you're failing to disprove a point we aren't really trying to make, but Megan did the same thing to me once in the comments section of her own blog so it's sort of lost its zazz.

Which, come to think of it makes me wonder if we don't have a sock puppet here.... (note: that's sarcasm. I don't actually think you're MM. I wouldn't point that out if you hadn't already proven your woefully low grade reading comprehension skills.)

brad said...

I think sonic charmer might be spoiling for a fight after they got quoted unfavorably by me earlier.
The point, sc, is to be precise in determining whether Megan's work is crap, or shit.

Sonic Charmer said...

"I contribute to this blog and I'm a research scientist."

That doesn't exactly do much to dispel the notion that you could envy Megan McArdle in my mind. :-)

"If such a number does exist, she is clearly well below it. "

Does such a number exist?

"We don't need to provide a precise definition"

Well, that depends on whether/to what extent you wish to be taken seriously. But strictly speaking, you're right, you don't need to. You don't need to do anything.

"Any econoblogger should post regularly about economics and competently so"

See, again, this is one of those statements that seems to be predicated on the notion that there IS SUCH A THING as an "econo-blogger" in some objective, definable sense. Something that could be talked about in terms of what an "econo-blogger" "should" write about, what they "would want to" write about, etc. But I'm implying there isn't, and you're proving my point. You didn't get that?

" You can prove that she is an econoblogger"

You're missing my point here; I'm not trying to "prove" that she's an "econo-blogger" (whatever that is). I'm trying to illustrate how silly and hollow is the charge that she's not one. Personally I don't give a rat's ass whether or not she's an "econo-blogger" and don't see why anyone else would.

"Reading comprehension is not knowing the literal definition of the words printed in front of you, sonic. It's understanding the point someone is trying to make."

Well, and I'm clearly failing in that regard, because I certainly don't see what "point" is made by calling her a Non-Econo-Blogger. As for what point you're *trying* to make, well all I can glean is that YOU THINK MEGAN MCARDLE SUCKS.

So noted.


If the point is to be *precise*, then please, by all means, start doing so (rather than arguing, as Nutella has just done, that there's no need to do so). Till then,

spencer said...

If you really didn't get the sarcasm in my description of the punditry-blogging community as "glamorous," sc, let me just go ahead and point out that it was, indeed, meant as sarcasm. I have no illusions about how glamorous it is to sit in front of a computer screen all day long and think up shit to write - I do that every day, though in a different milieu.

As far as Megan's economics-related output . . . sure, she may actually write posts about economics. I will concede that. But as I wrote in my earlier comment, her econ-related posts are often ill-informed and riddled with bad logic or conclusions that hew more to the demands of right-wing ideology than rigor (I feel comfortable in writing this because unlike McMegan, I actually have a graduate degree in Economics). So sure, she can write about economics and claim that that alone makes her an econo-blogger, but shouldn't part of the definition of "econo-blogger" be that she's, y'know, actually *right* about these things more often than not? Shouldn't she have some actual expertise and understanding? I would suggest that she should, and hers is simply not up to snuff.

Also, now I remember you as one of MM's sycophants from her comment threads. Had I made that connection earlier, I never would have bothered with trying to engage you in the first place. But oh well. Live and learn.

And yes, you're right. She does suck, metaphorically speaking. That is kind of the whole point here. Thanks for stopping by.

Sonic Charmer said...

"shouldn't part of the definition of "econo-blogger" be that she's, y'know, actually *right* about these things more often than not?"

No, I don't think so. Let's leave aside the fact that "econo-blogger" is - you know - not an actual word, and thus figuring out what's part of its (non) definition, deciding who is/isn't one, etc., is all kinds of counting-angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin unimportant. But even if we were to define "econo-blogger", insisting that "must be RIGHT!" be part of the definition is highly problematic (who decides?). This is opinion writing we're talking about, is it not? Finally, manically trying to define "econo-blogger" strictly (so that *not just anybody* can call themselves one? sheesh) is also a somewhat small-minded impulse that, seems to me, is beneath someone engaged in as high-minded endeavor as Firing Megan McArdle. Don't you think? Ok, apparently not ;-)

NutellaonToast said...

It's your muse who coined the term sonic.

Sonic Charmer said...

If so, she gets to define it. Certainly strange to 'argue' with her claim to being a term that she has coined. Why would anyone even do that?

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