Mar 12, 2007 Blogophilia
I don’t know Megan McArdle. She has her own blog (she’s “Jane Galt”). I don’t read it. It may be very good; it seems to be very popular, but once I hit the Ayn Rand iconography you lose me. That’s just me. By all the evidence, it is, or she is, good enough to substitute for Glenn Reynolds on Instapundit this week. That is a major feather in a blogger’s cap, to say the least, something to be jealous of. So of course, yes, I’m jealous of her blog, and her blogging fame, and her Wikipedia article, and all that.
I just don’t think she’s writing so good on Instapundit (besides the fact that she spells like a Canadian — that’s just wrong!). And it’s not usually my business to say that about other bloggers, but here’s why I think it matters. I mean it in the nicest possible way.
Today I hit the office late and, despite being late, and having a million overdue things, I went to Instapundit to find out what Instapundit wants me to think about today. (Long estranged from Andrew Sullivan, Glenn Reynolds is my blogfather — me and and only a few tens of thousands of minor-league bloggers.)
And Megan is doing this posting. And I can. Not. Read it. Can’t understand. Incomprehensible to me. Here’s the post that drove me up the wall. Is it me?:
REWRITING HISTORY? If true, this is an enormous scandal:
. . . replication is impossible if someone else has changed the dataset since the original analysis was conducted. But that would never happen, right? Maybe not. In an interesting paper, Alexander Ljungqvist, Christopher Malloy, and Felicia Marston take a look at the I/B/E/S dataset of analyst stock recommendations “made” during the period from 1993 to 2000. Here is what they found: …
I did not add those ellipses. Now, I could not scan this. You know, I have approximately two
sans laude sine laude degrees from two of the best universities in the world, and sling a little English myself. I can follow academic writing. But if you’re going to excerpt the middle of a paragraph full of jargon, you need more of an intro than “REWRITING HISTORY? If true, this is an enormous scandal.” That could be about anything — like history, or something enormous, or a scandal. But by all indications, “this” is about an I/B/E/S dataset.
What is I/B/E/S? I Bet Everyone Says? Idiots Believe Everything Stupid? Insignificant Balderdash Extrusion System? I don’t know.
I wish Megan McArdle continued success, and all of it at my expense. I’m not trolling here — I could have linked to this post on Dean’s World if I wanted to get in someone’s face over it and generate hits. Putting it on this blog is almost like discussing it at the dinner table. It’s fairly private, no? And oh, Heaven help me if someone took a red pen to the quality of my blogging! But I have to say it.
I bet most of Megan’s work is better, or she wouldn’t be where she is in the blogger food chain. The positive, constructive point of this is, it is only now that I realize that when Glenn Reynolds is doing Instapundit, which is, thankfully, most of time, this never, ever happens. Ann Althouse is also subbing; she’s good, very insightful. And Tom Maguire — another guy who’s having my career. But you know what? The three of them together don’t add up to one Instapundit. Tom and Ann, in particular, are used to writing longer pieces. That’s not Instapundit. I almost never have to read one of his sentences twice to get his point. Do you realize what a talent that is when you’re doing it on an “instant” basis?
I’m not being obsequious; it wouldn’t help. But only in Glenn’s absence do you realize that he is not THE Instapundit merely because he was an early adopter, or because he keeps cat-blogging to a minimum. No: It’s because even three accomplished bloggers can’t readily pull off what Glenn does — quick and incisive takes on big stories — the way he does. He’s not always right, but he makes it, DiMaggio-like, look effortless. (Effortless and clean. These three are making a mess of the Instapundit formatting.) You can even see the strain in how they are trying to replicate his style — which we all do, of course; just not in his house.
Being Instapundit’s bench is a high honor, but it’s a high hurdle, too. I can hardly imagine this gig will set either Megan, Ann or Tom back in terms of their reputations; far from it. But… hurry back, Glenn!
UPDATE: Really, what a mess!