Writing and What Comes With It

Hamilton Nolan · 07/23/15 10:35AM

Should the published writing of professional writers be subject to any criticism? I believe yes. At least one professional writer disagrees.

Mary Elizabeth Williams Has Written Down Some Thoughts and Feelings About Our National Tragedy

Hamilton Nolan · 07/24/12 04:03PM

Salon's Mary Elizabeth Williams is America's least necessary cultural critic. Reading a Mary Elizabeth Williams column on any topic in the news is like sticking a needle full of SUPER SWEET SUGAR WATER in your veins and pushing the plunger until you say "Blaaaauuurrrrgghhhhpablumpablum." Does Mary Elizabeth Williams have something unnecessary—so unnecessary that it would have been a net gain to humanity to say nothing at all—to say on the topic of our recent Very Sad Aurora Movie Theater Shooting Tragedy? Yes of course she does. If you had hoped to avoid it, you lose.

The Pap Problem; or, How to Not Write Like Mary Elizabeth Williams

Hamilton Nolan · 05/24/12 11:48AM

The thing that every "Life" or "Style" or "Pop culture" columnist must keep in mind at all times is that the things they write about are not important. (I include much of's content in this sweeping generalization.) These types of columnists do not write about economic policy, or international relations, or genocide or poverty or war. They just write about the latest bit of eye-catching news-lite distraction, like everybody else on the internet. Because of this, there is absolutely no excuse for these pap columnists not to take a firm stand on the "issues." Because it doesn't matter!

Ten People Who Should Quit the Media in 2012

Hamilton Nolan · 12/30/11 10:00AM

This is not just a list of media people we don't like. Nor is it just a list of media people who had a bad year. This is a list of media people who—abundant evidence shows—should not be in the media, any more. Give it up. Try something else. (We'll even make a suggestion.) You've given it a shot. It's not working any more. The media is not for you.

Mary Elizabeth Williams Is Irksome

Hamilton Nolan · 03/15/11 03:10PM

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a longtime staff writer at Salon. Her job entails finding whatever self-explanatory thing was popular on the internet yesterday, and writing several hundred words today purporting to shed light on it. She could make a great living tutoring layabout high school kids in how to pad two paltry thoughts out into an entire term paper.