May 07, 2007

Take This Job And Bleat It

As probably most of our regular readers know, James Lileks announced in his column today that his regular employer, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, is kyboshing his weekly column of regular-guy observations and reassigning him to a reporter's beat, something Lileks has absolutely no desire to do.

The Colossus and many others are outraged over the MS-T's apparent idiocy and encourage everyone to send in a complaint.

Whether it will do much good, I dunno. The new owners of the MS-T may simply not have realized what they are doing. On the other hand, Tim Worstall smells a larger, carefully-calculated rat:

[A]ny European observer, indeed any US manager who has dealt with union shops, would recognise what is going on here.

Take a well respected, well known and (for all I know, well paid) employee and assign him to duties manifestly ill suited to his talents at a time when you're looking to cut costs and create redundancies.

Then hope they resign in disgust so that you don't have to pay the "dismissal pay provision".

Simple, elegant and, as far as I know, entirely legal in the US.

Whatever the motivation, I sincerely hope the MS-T changes its mind.

Posted by Robert at May 7, 2007 12:29 PM | TrackBack

My concern is that it will make him look for work that then denies us the daily Bleat. I have read the Bleat every day for something like 4 years now. Gnat, Jasper, the Oak Island Water Feature -- I mean, what am I going to do if the Bleat goes away? Blog more myself? Who wants to read more of me? I certainly don't.

Maybe Pajamas Media will dish out some of that crazy blog money and give him a gig. Somebody needs to, so we can let Lileks be Lileks.

Posted by: The Colossus at May 7, 2007 01:00 PM

Pajamas Media. Yeah. Right.

I can suddenly see Lileks doing a Carl Spengler, "So I got dat goin' fer me" riff.

Posted by: Robbo the LB at May 7, 2007 02:30 PM

That was somewhat tongue in cheek. But hey, they do have Gerard Vanderleun working for him, and he couldn't have come cheap.

Posted by: The Colossus at May 7, 2007 03:25 PM

File this in the "For whatever it's worth:"

This just dashed off:

"I am an avid fan of James Lileks’ online presence – his personal page, and I even subscribed to the online version of the Tribune to gain access to his byline.

He is a unique talent. A voice your paper foolishly stifled.

Not. A. Smart. Move.

Very truly yours,"

Posted by: Margi Lowry at May 8, 2007 02:04 PM

Hiya, Margi, niceta seeya! Yip! Yip!

Posted by: Robbo the LB at May 8, 2007 03:07 PM

Mr. Lileks, I empathize. However, endured a similar fate I know that you will thrive from this opportunity. Self-induced change, though not welcome, is entirely manageable. Changed that's forced upon one, is the hardest one to ecounter. The measure of a person is how they respond.

If he responds like most americans, he will do his best at the job he's given while he seeks and pursues other, hopefully better, opportunities.

In the meantime, spare us the whining, it doesn't become you or your readers, and I'm one of them.

Posted by: michele at May 8, 2007 05:18 PM