Jayne: Taking a presidential approach to column writing

By Greg Jayne, Columbian Opinion Editor

Published:

 

Greg Jayne, Opinion page editor

I write the best columns. Nobody writes better columns than I do. They’re huge; they’re beautiful; everybody loves my columns. Believe me.

You already knew that. I have written about it before. Over and over again. So often that some people are tired of all the winning. Last time I wrote this, a reader sent me an email saying, “You wrote that before.” So I challenged them to an IQ test and said, “I can tell you who is going to win.”

Because that’s what great columnists do. They lash out like an infant. They belittle people. It’s a sign of strength, which is something I discovered when I was 4. Most people outgrow this, but not columnists. They call critics “Liddle” or “Lyin’ ” or “Crooked” because columnists have all the best insults. And there’s no better insult than covfefe.

Except for “Rocket Man.” I like that one. It’s so clever that I used it again and again and again. Even in formal settings with very important people. One time, I was giving a very important speech in front of very, very important people, big people, and I said, “Major portions of the world are in conflict, and some, in fact, are going to hell.” Because columnists have to be diplomatic.

I also said “Rocket Man,” ha ha. I think I invented that one, because Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids, in fact it’s cold as hell, and there’s no one there to raise them, if you did.

And we’re going to make columns great again. Even if we keep using the same meme. Because Americans need to be distracted. If you are worried about a columnist using the same retoricul, um, rhutorucil, er, writing device over and over then you aren’t noticing other things. Distracting people is very, very important.

That way, they don’t notice things that are destroying our country. They worry about people kneeling instead of stuff that matters. You know, like a president who made 1,318 “false or misleading claims” in his first 263 days. That’s according to The Washington Post’s Fact Checker. You can look it up. It’s not fake news.

One time, the president said, “Nobody can get the truth out of me, because even I don’t know what it is. I keep myself in a constant state of utter confusion.” Oh, wait, that was Col. Flagg from “M*A*S*H.” But you couldn’t really tell the difference, could you?

Now, I’m only a columnist, so I don’t really know about such things. But I do know that columnists call “false or misleading claims” by another name. We call them “lies,” because columnists have all the best words. And I know that if a columnist told an average of five lies a day, readers and editors would be outraged and the columnist would get fired.

I wonder why it doesn’t work that way for other jobs. Maybe because they just call them “alternative facts” and think people won’t notice.

Respect for the truth

So, columnists can’t lie. We sometimes make mistakes, but we cannot intentionally lie, and when we make a mistake we have to correct it. The same goes for reporters, because our readers expect certain standards. It’s part of living in a civilized society that respects truth.

Like, one time, I was going to write, “We are the highest taxed nation in the world.” But this would not have been in the same ballpark as the truth, so I didn’t write it. And one time I was going to write that Mexico will pay for a wall. But this would not have been in the same area code as the truth, so I didn’t. You see, it doesn’t matter whether or not people will believe it, but whether it is factual.

And no columnist has accomplished as much as I have in 17 short years at The Columbian. People keep saying what a wonderful, wonderful job I am doing. They tell me, “You are doing a wonderful job.” I have the largest readership ever. Period. The media say otherwise. Fake news! They should have their licenses pulled, although some, I assume, are good people.

All of this might sound like the rantings of an insufferable dotard. So it’s a good thing that I’m just a columnist and not something important.