Jay Caspian Kang was born in South Korea and grew up in Boston and Chapel Hill. He was educated at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, where he received the 2003 Sinkinson Prize for Best Short Story and founded Ritalin, a humor magazine.
Kang is currently an editor at the sports/pop-culture blog Grantland. He has also written for the New York Times, Wired and TheAtlantic.com. In 2012, he published his debut novel The Dead Do Not Improve, which is said to be well liked by “fans of dark humor” (Huffington Post, 2012). However, he claims that the funniest of his articles came from his writing for The Orient.
Kang’s writing is thought by many to be refreshing and humorous; he’s a young writer with the ability to do many different types of writing. Many of his articles for Grantland are in fact sports related, the most notable of them covering Jeremy Lin. Adding to the variety of Kang’s articles, this week we read “Should Reddit Be Blamed for the Spreading of a Smear?” from the New York Times. This article is neither the humorous or sporty article that Kang is notorious for, however it replicates the hint of racial tension in America depicted in The Dead Do Not Improve.
Kang’s article explains the mistaken identity of the Boston bomber suspect number two – a Brown University Student named Sunil Tripathi. The focus of the article is where the blame for this mistake is to be placed, possibly where the rumor began on Reddit.com. Kang weighs the pros and cons of a news source like Reddit – fast and democratic, but not always reliable. It surely proved to cause a lot of problems for the Tripathi family. However the bigger picture of Kang’s concerns is this: what are the effects of democratic/anonymous new sources like Reddit and Anonymous? He points out that many of the sources we deem legitimate and trustworthy get their stories from illegitimate sources, often Reddit and twitter. This was true in the case of Sunil Tripathi. Kang claims that every mistake made by a major news organization during this time was proof that the “new order had arrived”.
Kang also highlights that organizations like Reddit and Anonymous have extremely small staffs – Anonymous with about 20 and Reddit with 28, despite their “size and influence”. A great portion of the information they publish comes not from employees, but average citizens. This is a true testament to the way that news is changing and how our views of the news need to change as well. Though one Reddit user claims that Reddit is a contrast to the “slow, bureaucratic, and filtered” news we have become accustomed to, it clearly has its faults. The Tripathi family suffered dramatically from harassment due to the mistaken identity of bomber number two and lowered the already slim chances of finding their missing son Sunil. Major news organizations should take serious precautions before spreading information they receive from anonymous sources as they are held to different standards than organizations like Anonymous and Reddit. It is our job as well to be skeptical of this information and take special note of where it came from.
The book we're talking about: 'the dead do not improve'. (2012, August 06). Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/06/dead-do-not-improve_n_1747545.html
Kang, J. C. (2013, July 25). Should reddit be blamed for the spreading of a smear?. New York Times