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Sunday, October 30, 2005

COMFORTING THE COMFORTABLE 

Here's the thing about Nick Coleman: he's reliable. You can always count on him to make a particular kind of emotional appeal. Actually two closely related kinds--he's either tugging on your heartstrings or trying to whip up some righteous indignation. You know, the whole afflict-the-comfortable-and-comfort-the-afflicted thing. (See also Doug Grow.) It's often meretricious, but when well executed (and Coleman's a pro in this respect) it's a very effective rhetorical move, since it forces opponents into a defensive, "yes but" posture.

When well executed, I stress. Which brings us to Coleman's offering in today's Strib. He reveals that bankruptcy-induced changes in Northwest Airlines' flight schedule are forcing a Minnesota woman to change planes when she visits her ex-husband in London.

"And . . . ?" you say? And . . . her selfless work in bringing homemade lutefisk and lefse dinners to starving East End urchins is being inexcusably impaired? And . . . this exposes the heartless refusal of Northwest management to accede to the demands of the noble mechanics' union? And . . . turncoat Senator Norm Coleman's pique at the courageous George Galloway is somehow at the root of it all?

And . . . nothing. That's it. There isn't any more. Bankruptcy-induced changes in Northwest Airlines' flight schedule are forcing a Minnesota woman to change planes when she visits her ex-husband in London!

Jeez, Nick. That's just pathetic. If you're this hard up for material, why don't you just regurgitate an old column?

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