Big props to BrianS for pointing out John Steigerwald’s follow-up to his ridiculously horrible column on the Giants fan who got his ass kicked at Dodger Stadium.
No props to John Steigerwald for writing it.
Let’s just be blunt here: We’re dealing with a fucking dolt.
Anyone who visits this blog with some form of regularity knows I apologize. A lot. I write things, I sometimes regret them. This often comes after a lengthy with a relative or friend, along with the words, “What the hell were you thinking?”
The point is, writers should not be immune to admitting they make mistakes. Words are powerful, and they don’t usually vanish. You write something, it lasts. Especially nowadays.
Clearly, John Steigerwald screwed up. Literally, he wrote a column blaming the victim of a crime for being the victim of a crime. That’s awful judgement—both by the author and his editors. If John Steigerwald takes any pride in drawing an unusually large number of readers to his newspaper’s website/his blog, he shouldn’t. They’re coming because you’re a tool. Plain and simple.
What irked me most about John Steigerwald’s follow-up is the arrogance. An apology reads, “I’m sorry. I missed this one.” John Steigerwald didn’t apologize. He apologizes to “the Stow family if this nonsense has reached them and in any way added to their pain.” By nonsense, John Steigerwald doesn’t mean his original take. He means—and this is beyond galling—the reaction we’ve had to his original take. In the world of John Steigerwald, readers don’t get what he’s saying—and that’s on us. Which shows, beyond other things, that John Steigerwald doesn’t fully understand the power of the written word.
A writer owns what he writes. The words are his; the sentiment is his. There’s a reason great writers spend hours slaving over sentences and paragraphs. They want them just right; want to words to convey and precise idea. That’s how greatness is found—not by slopping down shit on a page, but by searching and digging and scrambling for something perfect.
John Steigerwald doesn’t write this way. He writes for reaction. He writes off of some mentally impaired impulse to shock. Even though he’s been around forever, the man is perfectly designed for the age of Twitter, when content matters less than the number of followers.
John Steigerwald has probably gained a lot of followers.
But he’s still a tool.
PS: Don’t try the pictures stunt at home.
PPS: I love this—two reasons. (a) “So hot even Rush Limbaugh ordered two copies!” (b) “The line to sign copies was out the door!” (Eh, I count three people).