While I’m loathe to wade into tech pundit blog battles, there’s one blowing up in my greater Internet sphere at the moment: The Verge’s Joshua Topolsky taking great umbrage at John Gruber and Marco Arment suggesting that The Verge had an ulterior motive, of sorts, for not pointing out when certain products have been so clearly “inspired” by Apple’s industrial design, and we’re not talking about rectangles with rounded corners here.
As John “Angry Mac Bastard” Welch would say, Topolsky needs to put his big boy pants on and stop bitching about how Gruber and Arment and those like them put up their “minimal Wordpress blogs and think that the ability to publish text onto the Internet gives them insight into what journalism is or what I do for a living.” Gruber—whether or not you like his style, think he carries water for Apple, whatever—is a journalist. He is paid to write news and opinion pieces. You know, kind of how Toposlky got his start. Writing for Engadget. Have you heard of it? It’s a blog, like Daring Fireball but with more writers and less design sense.
Joshua—can I call you that?—what you do for a living is write. You’re pretty good at it! But you’re not so good that you’re above criticism. Nobody is.
It’s fabulous that you’re now in a position of great authority and get to hang with Jimmy Fallon. But it seems to me that what you’re trying to argue is that you are somehow more professional than Gruber is. Okay. It seems to me that a professional would put a little more effort into staying above poop slinging. If you think Gruber and Arment are off base, say something like, I don’t know, “It strains credulity to suggest our reviews are less ‘legitimate’ by not pointing out similarities between reviewed products and competitors in the same category.” Or “We stand by our reviews as written.” Or even, “We thought it was sufficiently obvious that it wasn’t worth harping on.”
But here’s what I’d suggest you really not do, if you want to actually look like the professional: don’t rise up from your throne and bellow, “How dare you, you little insignificant blogger, question the credibility of someone who was the editor-in-chief of Engadget! Guards, off with their heads!” Because when you do that, then you’re not the professional. You’re the petty asshole. I know it’s a subtle difference—both words start with “p” and all—but it’s important, trust me.
By the way, neither Gruber nor Arment use Wordpress. That’s a pretty trivial thing to note, but it just seems to me that a professional journalist would have taken the couple seconds necessary to check.