My Qualifications

A commenter on my Jimmy Fallon post asks:

What qualifies someone to write reviews on late night television? A bachelor of arts degree from a community college?

Now, technically, everybody is equally qualified to write reviews on late-night television, and everybody does, especially in the internet era. (Twittering while watching Jimmy Fallon is the modern equivalent of running to the phone after the performance to call in your review to the late-night copy boy at the paper.) But, on consideration, he has a point. If I’m not qualified, then someone could be fooled into agreeing with me only to discover that I wasn’t qualified, and therefore am totally wrong.

Even worse, let’s say someone disagrees with me and then discovers I am qualified. This is a legitimate danger. Sometimes I disagree with what somebody writes, but then I discover that he or she has all the necessary qualifications and credentials, meaning that I have no right to disagree with them. That makes me look bad, always having to change my opinion to fit the qualifications of whoever I’m reading.

So while I have to get my own credentials in order, I will say that these are the educational qualifications for writing about late-night television. If someone doesn’t have at least three of these on the list, that person is wrong even when he’s right.

– Bachelor of arts degree from community college
– Thetan level over IV but under VII
– Runner-up certificate from National Arts Centre Young Playwrights’ Competition
– Ability to describe an entire Jack Paar episode from beginning to end, not just the bits that are on YouTube
– Friendship with Marshall McCluhan
– Willingness to waste time writing sarcastic posts

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