Yesterday's article by Mike Penner—the Los Angeles Times sportswriter who is undergoing gender reassignment—was a bonanza. By last night, it had got half a million page views, becoming one of the most requested pages on over the last year (can you hear the NYT snickering?), and 1000+ comments on the site's message boards. Today, LAT editor Jim O'Shea announced that his columnist Joel Stein would undergo a series of operations that would helpfully turn him funny. "For many years," said O'Shea, "Joel has secretly felt that his brain has been wired for humor. Hopefully, these surgical procedures will at last allow that part of his persona to emerge." O'Shea additionally called for twenty-five newsroom staffers to similarly change gender—and chronicle their passage in both the paper and on the web—or face "voluntary separation" from their jobs.

A writer's transformation makes the personal public [LAT]