November 20, 2003

Ineptitude.

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MEMORANDUM

TO: The Sydney Morning Herald

FR: Benjamin Kepple's Daily Rant

RE: Webdiary

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SIR -- We wish to register a complaint about the "Webdiary" feature in the electronic edition of the Sydney Morning Herald. Specifically, we refer you to this particular entry, which appeared on 20 November 2003.

Please be advised that we think this feature consistently embarrasses not only your fine publication, but also the great nation of Australia.

You see, your publication is a regular source of information for many Americans who do not know where else they may turn for information about your country. As such, folks here rely on the Sydney Morning Herald for timely, informative and comprehensive articles about goings-on there. Webdiary fails miserably at doing any of these things; instead, it seems to offer readers rather a lot of apoplectic ranting about.

Furthermore, these apoplectic rantings, presented as they are in some degenerate corruption of the English tongue, are so histrionic in tone that they make us wonder whether Webdiary is some kind of in-country joke; a joke that we, as foreigners, just don't understand. We would suggest these things are not exactly helping matters.

For instance, we note that in the article we cite above, the lead author of Webdiary, Ms Margo Kingston, is quoted as writing elsewhere: "A growing proportion of the media are behaving as propagandists, not as journalists." It is bad enough that proportion is a singular collective -- the copy desk ought have caught that and reworked the sentence -- but we do not understand how one draws such a conclusion. Surely with the Code of Ethics at the Sydney Morning Herald, a code that we are sure is emulated across Australia, this could not be the case.

That is just one example -- but the collective effect of such writing is that we in America are very much concerned about our Australian friends. Perhaps it might not be a bad idea to take a few weeks off in the country and rest up a bit; soothe the frayed nerves, have a nice glass of Shiraz, etc. etc.

We would have sent this letter to you privately, but we could not find any contact information on-site other than the Letters editor. With all the similar letters we assume he receives, we did not want to burden him with having to edit, proof, and condense our correspondence. After all, he only has space to print 25-30 letters each day. We know you get many more than that there, so we thought we would save him the trouble and print our letter in the public domain.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration in this matter.

Very sincerely,

Benjamin Kepple
Chief Executive Officer
Benjamin Kepple's Daily Rant, Inc.
"Your Hometown Nostalgia Source"

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at November 20, 2003 08:12 PM | TrackBack