Ed Kilgore sez:
For the Big Papers, though, the problem is that there are so few editorial spots available, and, unlike their smaller competitors, no real market pressure to turn things over. I don't want to name names, but in my judgment, nearly half of the columnists in the Big Papers, most of them white men, are just filling up space with Left-Right CW that could be, and for all I know, may be written by a computer.
Yep. I'm continually stunned that the big boys don't find themselves some edgier, funnier, more controversial writing. I can't stand Dowd, but she's the most popular of the Times op-ed columnists. Want to know why? Her prose doesn't make you want to kill yourself. My dislike for her exempts her skill with the pen, which is really considerable. But she's not the only one able to wield ink, and it'd be nice if the op-ed sheets would hire a few more bic-slingers to liven things up. Say what you will about them, but Wolcott, Hitchens, Sullivan -- these folks know how to tighten a sentence till it hums. And it makes even their worst writing compulsively readable. More like them, please.