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For What I Don't Become


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Saddest Ghost Lamp

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Mary Schmich Is an Idiot

Don't look at me! She said it: "I am an idiot.... We're discussing an important psychological and cultural phenomenon here--the habit, apparently exercised by countless Americans, of muttering, 'I am an idiot.'"

Anyway, this is just by way of congratulating her for making the finals in the Pulitzer Derby. I hear that her massive November piece on Joan Lefkow, the federal judge whose husband and mother were murdered last year, is a finalist in the features category--apparently, based on what's leaked so far, the Chicago Tribune's only successful entrant this year. Which is good, because you know what the Tribune Co. does to newspapers that win Pulitzers.

As for her latest column, on the (widespread? rare? unheard of? deeply, deeply inconsequential?) phenomenon of people saying unflattering things about themselves, I'll say two things: 1) In the future, Schmich would do well to be more judicious in her deployment of the term "self-abuse," which has a rather specialized meaning of which she is apparently unaware, and 2) When you have to write three columns a week, no one expects them all to be Pulitzer material. Although this particular effort would have been more authentic coming from John Kass.