the Stein line between stupid and clever

Of course, Joel Stein’s “I don’t support our troops, and also, I am very very very witty” LAT Opinion piece is getting lots of attention, complete with an Editor & Publisher piece, an entirely predictable Hugh Hewitt interview, and scads of frothing bloggerel from across the ideological spectrum.

Mostly, the interesting meta-media point is missed by all this coverage, and the interesting point is this: why would anyone want to read an Opinion piece about perhaps the most serious issue facing our society that’s written with the same glib one-liney tone that the author typically uses for pieces about, for instance, already-stale hipster cultural trends?

The point is, even if one were to agree with Stein, (and we’re not saying one does or should), it’s hard to see how attacking a complex matter with stale jokes is a useful opinion-writing tactic. (UPDATE: I think Stein’s official LAT bio says it all in the first sentence.)