As a small tremor in a bit of a staff shakeup at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, James Lileks got the axe — he’s been demoted from a guy with a regular column to a beat reporter. It’s about time.
He’s not a bad writer, in the sense that he does have his own recognizable voice, but yeesh, he’s such a banal writer, the epitome of Minnesota mediocrity. Some of his online writings are cranky-grandpa interesting, the rantings of a deranged 9/11 wingnut, but his newspaper column … dull, dull, dull. You only need to read one column in your life about a guy who goes shopping at Target and watches TV before he goes to bed, anything more is superfluous.
If you’re unfamiliar with our local columnist, here’s an analogy to help you understand: Lileks is the Garfield of the Star-Tribune. He’s technically competent, entirely predictable, and so boring he’s not even mildly amusing any more. They also don’t even need him to provide right-wing balance to the paper now, since they hired Katherine Kersten (she’s the Mallard Fillmore of the paper: screechy, inane, and incompetent). I haven’t read a Lileks column for years, not because I resent him or am somehow boycotting him or am even angered by him — I’ve tuned him out for the same reason I don’t read the recipes for yet-another casserole. He puts me to sleep.