I don’t know how much more of a caricature Stephen Bloom can make of himself. This professor at the University of Iowa writes an Atlantic piece that waxes slightly sarcastic about his adopted home state. The rubes of Iowa complain, sometimes in crude ways that verge on anti-Semitism, as rubes across America are wont to do when their cherished misconceptions are challenged. Professor Bloom starts expressing fear for his life (even though he’s not in Iowa) in a way that lets Jim Romenesko depants him without unhooking a belt or pulling down a zipper. And now he’s in “an undisclosed location,” comparing his journalistically courageous self to Jack London, James Agee, H.L. Menken, Grant Riceland, Marvel Cooke, Jim Murray, cartoonist Paul Conrad, Tom Wolfe, Mike Royko, and Hunter S. Thompson–and then in the next breath saying he’s “nowhere even close to any of these titans.”
Which is undeniably true. The level of self-parody is ably illustrated in this paragraph:
“When [the negative feedback] involves my family I feel absolutely horrible, and when my wife had to get that [lampshade] phone call, I felt like vomiting. But I knew as a journalist, stepping into writing this provocative post, that there would be problems. …That’s the nature of the business.”
If you want to read more of his self-pitying, grandiloquent, and purple prose, go here.