A half-hour ago, the Times launched "Room for Debate," its promised new blog for outside experts to discuss the pressing issues of the day, and for readers to debate them in the comments section.
Today's topic is "Fear Factor In The Workplace," a nod to the old reality show where people ate cockroaches on TV. Right now, we kind of miss that show.
Not that we have anything against expert opinions; like the rest of the world, we already spend way too much time reading Internet blogs, op-ed columns and movie reviews in search of people to argue with in our heads.
But do we really need the Times to gather yet more of them up for us, and then beg for comments? By encouraging readers to do nothing but comment on its blogs all day, the Times is ironically facilitating the very joblessness its new blog purports to address.
Okay, it's only been a half-hour. We'll wait and see. Plus we really love Ed Park, the author of the novel "Personal Days," who's one of the inaugural six panelists, even though he offers up only a stale lay-off anecdote about a former Village Voice pal, and some well-written generalities. (The rest include two professors, a lawyers, a psychologist and a consultant, none of which have much to say beyond the obvious, so far.)
The Times introduced it on its home page this morning with a splash of red and this brief summary:
A new commentary blog convenes outside experts to discuss news and issues, starting with a forum on unemployment and workplace anxiety.
Yeah, sounds scintillating. As soon as we're done working our way through the latest drunk confessionals on the "Pour" blog, we'll get right to this.