Via the great sage of journalism, Seth Lipsky, I learned a long time ago Peter Kann's rule concerning the first-person pronoun: "No reporter may start a story with the word 'I' unless he's been shot in the groin."

The New York Times reporter Campbell Robertson violated the rule yesterday:

I WAS late to "Rent." Late to the show, and late to the city it portrays. When I arrived in New York, in the fall of 1998, bistros and boutiques had already infiltrated the East Village, gentrification was spreading into the Lower East Side, and northwest Brooklyn had largely fallen to the forces of the bourgeoisie.



On the other hand, sitting through "Rent" is more painful than a scrotal nick. Robertson is newly-assigned to the Baghdad bureau of the Times, which has its hardships, but I'd take Baghdad over "Rent" most days of the week.

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