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I want to attend the Audubon Society's school for sick burns

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A masterclass in the art of hateration

Timur Emek/Getty Images

Jonathan Franzen wrote yet another ill-considered piece for The New Yorker. This happens pretty routinely and usually isn't worth noting. This time, however, the poor fool picked on the Audubon Society — a tremendous fucking mistake.

Audubon's response "Friends like these" pulls no punches. For starters, the society is doubting his commitment to loving birds:

audubon 1

Forget the "intellectual dishonesty" part for a minute. Jonathan Franzen has noisily proclaimed his love for birds — tiny dinosaurs who were too mean to die — to literally anyone who will listen for at least a decade. The scare quotes here are amazing. Ladies and gentlemen, the library is open, and the Audubon Society intends to read.

reading is fundamental

The Audubon Society points out that it happens to be behind the two conservation forces Franzen is pitting against each other in the article, and wonders why Franzen doesn't note it as well. There's a little journalism 101 stuff for those of you who like that kind of thing. But really, children, we are here today for sick burns on Jonathan Franzen. Here are my favorites:

  • "Franzen, who has no journalism experience that I know of..."
  • "Perhaps these are omissions born of ignorance; maybe, for instance, despite his declaration that he had been 'following' the Vikings stadium brouhaha, Franzen somehow managed to overlook the prominent mentions of Audubon’s advocacy that crop up in pretty much all media coverage of the issue. If so, though, Franzen could have easily addressed that deficiency by availing himself of that most timeworn of reportorial tools: He could have picked up the phone and spoken to someone—anyone!—at the organization whose work he so crassly demeans."
  • "After all, though he chose not to divulge this to his readers, Franzen sits on the fund-raising board of directors for the American Bird Conservancy, an organization that fancies itself a competitor for funding and attention with Audubon." [ital mine, because WOW]
  • "The temptation I’ve wrestled with is to simply dismiss this silly thing, New Yorker or no, as the sad ravings of a man trying to escape his guilt-ridden Protestant Puritan heritage and justify his consumerist lifestyle."

Someone call the critical burn unit; Franzen's gonna need it.