Salam joins the Guardian

Salam joins the Guardian
: The Guardian’s story on Salam Pax has run at last — and with it the announcement that starting next week, Salam will write a fortnightly column called the Baghdad Blog for the Guardian (under what byline, we wonder?).

The story says surprisingly little, tells us nothing new, does not dig into Salam’s stories or opinions, and does not identify him (only saying that Salam is his real first name).

There is a shocking edit in the story. The Guardian quotes the story of the Guardian interview from Salam’s own blog but deletes choice words — as if we’re not going to look at the blog and find this dubious edit.

Blog version:

A day before that I sold my soul to the devil. I talked to Rory from the Guardian.

Look, he paid for a great lunch in a place which had air-conditioning and lots of people from foreign. It was fun talking to him but when Raed saw me after

  • button

    I don’t find the edit shocking, Jeff. It’s a contextual edit which is understandable, and you have the original which you can refer to. If he used scatology to express himself, they might edit that out, too.
    I wish him luck. He is going to need a talented editor who will earn his salary with salam. I excerpted one or two paragraphs of his and found it to entail a lot of work. The process of using oral dialect in written text requires numerous tough decisions and a very deft hand.

  • Given the context, it’s a mighty self-serving edit.
    Probably the work of a stringer.

  • Button: Couldn’t disagree more. First, the edit excises the snarky, cocky tone of the writing and the man. Second, there is no explanation and there are no elipses. Third, the audience can go online and see the discrepency. THey’re trying to sanitize him. On the whole, it’s a dishonest edit.

  • button

    O.K., Jeff: the elipses– I’ll give you that. You are right about that one.
    Do you remember what Warhol used to do about that in Interview? He used to put: [redacted].
    But I didn’t think most of his readers knew what that meant.
    And how can you use the word “dishonest” in the same sentence with the word “edit” post-Jacky O, Editor? I’d be surprised if anyone would take that combination seriously anymore. (Yeah, I know she was just an acquisitions editor, but still.)
    Listen, Jeff, I hate to break it to you, but Salam has posted a new entry, and it ain’t pretty. I suspect he’s going to lose a lot of people’s sympathy with this one. Poor impulse control due to immaturity perhaps. He should have put this one in his desk drawer overnight or longer until he cooled off. And this is where an editor might have done that for him.

  • aren’t we a bit clever and hard on him, in our own cosy air-conditioned solipsism?

  • Why not just say: he was edited, go read the real blog for what he really said, AND LEAVE IT AT THAT.
    Analyzing Salam is not fair, either. We none of us really know him because he really doesn’t want to be stripped naked as if some plaything on exhibit. We should be grateful for what he’s given us, read it with interest and our own private interpretations, and move on to reading someone else’s blog about other things.

  • button,
    Quite frankly, if I and my family had been accused of some of the things Salam and his have been accused of (Warren practically stated he was an interrogator for the Ba’athists…), I’d have gone a heck of a lot more ballistic than Salam did.

  • button

    Nobody forced him to sign up with The Guardian, and his current attitude is not going to help him. I happen to read The Guardian, too. I don’t read Maureen Dowd or Tom Friedman or Andrew Sullivan or lots of other columnists or even publications. But I do happen to read some of The Guardian. That’s how I got into blogging– it was Neil MacIntosh over there who got me into it. So it’s ironic that Salam picked just now to have a tantrum. And it doesn’t bode well.

  • to button: how about we all start picking on you and your attitude and position on things, HUNH ?? Fair would be fair…we’d have to do it here because you don’t even have comments!

  • Moira

    I just read his latest (May 30) and he sounds understandably outraged by an obnoxious email. I disagree that this post bodes ill; I am glad he cleared things up. If anything, Jeff Jarvis is vindicated for urging caution.

  • Apart from issues of honesty, didn’t the editor notice that the cuts take all the flavor out of Salam’s paragraph and leave it dried-out and lifeless? An editor is supposed to have an ear of flesh, not tin.
    I mean, self-serving cuts or no, which one would you rather read? Which one would have you making sure to remember to grab a copy of the Guardian off the stand the next time Salam’s stuff runs? I ask you.

  • Caitlin

    In the Tekka interview, he talks about media manipulation.
    Now he’s writing for the Guardian.
    His latest post is jaw-dropping. It requires no comment.

  • button

    Jaed, you put your finger on a dilemma, and there”s no simple solution!
    But they may not have too much discretionary wiggle room– they may have a style book they’re supposed to follow and a copy editor who is supposed to process it.
    It’s a tuffee, jaed!

  • I read the new entry. Looks good to me. A big FU to all the jerks who sit smugly behind their computer screens, making rude remarks about people who really do have difficulties. Good on him.
    I expect that there is a cadre of warbloggers who can’t be satisfied, but most people don’t subscribe to David-Warren-ish views. Or at least they don’t here in David Warren’s home town.
    I also agree that there is no way his writing style can survive the Gaurdian editing process. It’s goging to have the juice sucked out iof it, and turn into another dull column. But I expect the blog will still contain good stuff. The kind of verve permissiable in blogs is just not appropriate for a newspaper.

  • Kirk

    I just went and read the ‘intemperate’ post Button referred to, and I can’t find anything remotely objectionable about it. Where on earth are you coming from on this, Button?

  • Caitlin

    Let’s see, so far.
    “Salam Pax” (who no longer blogs as Salam Pax) has got three computers, a satellite dish, and a father who hobknobs with Jay Garner and Paul Bremer.
    And his father wasn’t a member of the Ba’ath party.
    Can I sell you all a bridge?

  • mog

    Button, maybe now with the war over and Salam having a bit better access, he was able to read many of the comments that were made about him. I agree with Momma Bear and Kathy. He does have good reason to go ballistic. And he has every right to speak his mind. Glad he did.

  • I didn’t find Salam’s post especially over-the-top. And I think he’s very honest, and not at all over-the-top, in saying that things are better, but he doesn’t know how they’re going to turn out, and he’s angry about some stuff that’s going on.
    From here it’s easy to say that of course there will be problems. And of course there will. But living with them is something else.
    I’ve said all along that I didn’t think Salam was an agent of influence — though of course I couldn’t know — because he didn’t seem to do a very good job of pushing a useful ideological line for, well, anybody. His dad’s obviously an even bigger shot than we thought. Now he seems to be doing well in the occupation, and if Salam were a sellout, the obvious move for him would be to be singing the praises of America all the time now, and explaining his earlier negative posts as self-protection under Saddam. He’s not doing that. That suggests that — while he may be wrong about stuff, of course — he’s honest.
    As for the intemperate response to email — hey, he’s just getting the loads of crap that we bloggers out in the non-war-struck world have had a chance to adjust to gradually. God knows what I would have said if I had suddenly opened my mailbox to find today’s typical collection of love- and hatemail by the hundreds, with no buildup.
    My advice to Salam: put up a Paypal button. One person who sends you fifty bucks makes up for a lot of assholes who call you names.

  • Caitlin,
    No, you may not sell us a bridge. First, sarcasm is a salesperson’s worst enemy. Second, since you don’t know anything about Salam Pax, your insinuation is worthless. When you’ve spent time with the man, let us know. Until then, [insert sarcasm here].

  • button

    A possible explanation for the three computers:
    It’s his brother who is the real geek in the family, so of course, he would have his own computer. Then Salam would have his computer.
    The third computer? Many families keep an old or older computer around as a spare or back-up in case their regular computer breaks down.
    It seems very reasonable to me.

  • Caitlyn — You’re saying that Jay Garner and Paul bremer spend their days hobnobbing with Ba’athists?? Are you sure. Cause I think getting rid of Ba’athists was what the war was about, so I doubt Americans would be building them up now that they’ve beatent them.
    IF they are, what the hell was the point of the war? Remove Saddam to install alternative Ba’athists?

  • Caitlin Crusko

    The US fought this war to establish a secular democracy in the Arab/Muslim world, and to see that it takes root.
    To do that we’ll have to use some Ba’athists, because they were the people who ran Iraq. They didn’t rule it–that was Salam & his two sons. We can’t run the place without doing business with some Ba’athists. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I like Salam’s father, from everything Salam has written he sounds wise. He knows that Iraq can’t make it without US help. That’s wise.
    This conversation has become a little unstuck. I am only saying what Salam is saying: we don’t know him. And not one newspaper article including the Guardian has told us much we did not know. And, since I have nothing more to say about someone I don’t know, I’m not saying anything more!!
    Left wing but not