Before I address the particulars of Stu’s column, which of course is beyond the pale, I would like to note that Stu and Shaun are on a first-name basis. This is because we worked in the same newsroom – although very seldom on the same stuff – for the 21 years that I was a reporter and editor at the Daily News.
Putting things in the most charitable context, Stu is an acquired taste and not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. More to the point, he is an asshole whose ability to upset people far exceeds his abilities.
Stu also is, as they say, a complex person. He can write about ill-treated puppy dogs one day (a favorite topic) and blow minds the next with excrement like his 9/11 redux wet dream.
I made my personal peace with Stu because he had gone through some personal travails and I felt bad for him. As well as the fact that actively disliking someone takes far more energy than I can muster over the long haul. It's just easier to hope you don't end up taking a leak next to a guy like him in the staff lavatory and have to strike up a conservation.
Let me be clear. There’s nothing wrong with being an asshole if you're good at what you do. As a former Daily News editor once told me half jokingly, "Mullen, you’re an asshole. But you're the asshole that everyone wants to work for."
Stu has been famously wrong about a lot of things, but there's nothing wrong with being famously wrong once in a while if you get it famously right the rest of the time. On this, Stu's record is . . . um, mixed.
He has railed against newspapers' embrace of the Internet, which is beyond stoopid as the 'Net is the biggest reason he may be still be drawing a paycheck a few years from now, but he did lay bare a truth or two in writing that:
"Like dinosaurs, newspapers have massive bodies and brains the size of walnuts.
"They give away their product for free on the Internet, then run in circles squawking like chickens when circulation goes down like the Titanic.
"Even the dimmest hooker knows to get paid upfront.
" 'Put the money on the dresser, honey.' "
This brings me back to Stu's longing for another 9/11 attack in which he also lays bare a truth or two:
"What kind of a sick bastard would write such a thing?
"A bastard so sick of how splintered we are politically - thanks mainly to our ineptitude in
- that we have forgotten who the enemy is. Iraq
" . . .
Iraqhas fractured the into jigsaw pieces of competing interests that encourage our enemies. We are deeply divided and division is weakness. U.S.
"Most Americans today believe
was a mistake. Why? Iraq
"Not because Americans are 'anti-war.' "
And so on and so forth, until he concludes by gloriously pissing on his own shoes:
"What would sew us back together?
"Another 9/11 attack.
. Mount Rushmore. Golden Gate Bridge 's Wrigley Field. The Chicago subway system. The Philadelphia is a target-rich environment for al Qaeda. U.S.
"Is there any doubt they are planning to hit us again?
"If it is to be, then let it be. It will take another attack on the homeland to quell the chattering of chipmunks and to restore
's righteous rage and singular purpose to prevail. America
"The unity brought by such an attack sadly won't last forever.
"The first 9/11 proved that."
Classic Stu. Shortsighted by a mile, deeply hurtful and ultimately self-defeating in acknowledging that if his brain fart is realized it will fuel a rage that will be merely transitory and result in exponentially more bad than good.