Monday, February 2, 2009

Arguing with LMA

Just when she was starting to worry that she is thinking too much like me, Little Miss Attila gives me an excuse to talk smack:
[I]t can be a challenge to get journalistic training or experience in America without having one's free-market or pro-defense instincts surgically removed via peer-group pressure. It is easy to say that the center-right political movements (both Conservative and libertarian) need more reporters, or academicians, or whatever -- but harder to endure the hostile work environments and overt/covert discrimination over a number of years that it would take to change the composition of news agencies or universities.
Meh. That's not really where the problem lies. The problem is that every Republican kid who can score 700+ SAT Verbal will go to law school. A smart Republican kid will not take his B.A. degree and go out to live for years on ramen noodles covering city council meetings and stuff like that for a 40,000-circulation daily.

Republican kids are careerist and status-oriented. They want to make lots of money. If they're good at math, they major in business, if they're stronger on the verbal side, they go to law school. If you wonder why there are relatively few whip-smart conservative reporters, go to a meeting of the Federalist Society. Those are the brains that, were they liberals, would be journalists. Or screenwriters. Or TV producers.

Socioeconomic factors being what they are, smart Republican kids tend to come from success-oriented families. Their parents don't spend $30K+ a year to send them to college so they can then earn $26K their first year as a staff writer at a mid-sized paper somewhere in southern Illinois covering tractor pulls and tornadoes. No, it's law school for them.

Think about conservative bloggers. How many of the top conservative bloggers have law degrees?

It isn't that there aren't smart Republican kids who can write. It's just that they paid enough attention to their high-school counselors to discover that journalism is the lowest-paying profession generally requiring a college diploma. The ordinary person turns on the TV or pick up the New York Times and thinks, "It's an elite profession." But it's not. The overpaid network TV types and the six-figure salaried people at the NY Times may be "elite," but they are in no way representative of the average American newspaper reporter, who earns less than a cop, an elementary school teacher, or a long-haul trucker.

Screw that, says the smart Republican kid, who instead takes the LSAT and goes to law school.

UPDATE: Just by way of historical background, I first met Little Miss Attila at CPAC 2006, when she was hanging out with Ace of Spades who -- at that point in time -- I had never even heard of before. I got her business card (I'm an inveterate collector of business cards) and didn't really think much more about it.

Then the uproar arose over Ann Coulter calling Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a "raghead." LMA was among the bloggers who denounced Coulter's remarks as indicative of uncouth prejudice against Arabs. I defended Coulter as having expressed a very couth prejudice against Holocaust-denying fanatical Jew-hating midgets trying to obtain nuclear weapons.

As long-time readers know, my principle in flame wars is, "If you're going to cut a man, eviscerate him," and even my accustomed chivalry can be discarded under such circumstances. So I trashed LMA with every cheap ad-hominem at my disposal, which is quite a lot.

Then, in 2007, LMA and I were both at the YAF West Coast conference in beautiful Santa Barbara, and my remorse was extreme, as I recalled my former hillbilly jihad against her. She's really a wonderful person and, during one memorable performance by Jeff Goldstein, saved the day with her tranquilizer dart gun. ("No actual College Republicans were harmed during the filming of this documentary . . .:")

All of which is to say, she's good people.


  1. journalism is the lowest-paying profession generally requiring a college diploma

    Seriously? Lower paying than military service?

  2. They say one can earn quite little as an architect, too--with a bit of effort.