« The Thing From Beyond the Vom | Main | There Will Be Some Changes »

Corpuscular School of Journalism

Here's why bloggers are better journalists than journalists: Blogging is a crappy job. You don't get any money. There aren't any benefits. Only a few get invited on T.V. and once those few have been on T.V. three or four times, mark my words, they won't be any better than "real" journalists.

Bloggers do it even though it's a crappy job. It should always be a crappy job.

I think there should be a maximum wage for journalists. If I owned a major metropolitan newspaper, especially one in a conservative town, I'd find out the absolute minimum a person would need to put a roof over his/her head in that town, and the least they would need to put food on the table, and, maybe, depending on the numbers, some clothes on their back. Then I'd subtract like, oh, I dunno, five bucks, just to make life that much harder. I certainly wouldn't offer any benefits. What're you, nuts? And to top it all off, I'd be mean to my reporters all day long. Oh, and they'd have to take public transportation.

See, what you want is a bunch of people truly pissed off at the world. If your people are pissed off at the world, then they will write like they're pissed off at the world. Which, when you think about it, being pissed off I mean, is the only moral place for a journalist to be.

The problem is all the hacks we have in the media just aren't pissed off at things anymore. Even John Stossel with all his "I'm mad as hell" shtick is a self-satisfied fat-cat phony. The only thing worse than not being pissed off is pretending to be pissed off. What do you think we are, Stossel, stupid? You're as transparent as a pair of whore's underpants.

Take Jimmy Breslin, for instance. He's always pissed off. I'm surprised the man has lasted as long as he has, him being so pissed off at everybody all the time. No wonder he got that stupid growth in his brain. It was, take my word for it, a consequence of him being so pissed off all the time. Being pissed off marks you. It's like the world lifts its leg and pees all over your heart. No wonder you should get a growth.

We like Jimmy Breslin. He's pissed off and he writes like he's pissed off and that's why we like him. Hell, I'd even pay him the extra money. Whatever he wanted. Anybody that naturally gifted at being pissed off deserves every dime he can get. Journalists should get paid by the bile-ounce. Only it has to be real bile, not fraudulent secretions like you get from some of these over-monied right-wing guys.

What do you want a bunch of rich and snappy-happy guys doing your journalism for? Get outta here. What you want is your ink-stained wretch. Preferably stinking of gin, hopefully divorced, and so butt-ugly even his poor, gray-haired mother won't be seen with him. The last thing you want is some snoot in a Brooks Brothers suit referring to himself as an "ink-stained wretch, heh-heh-heh". In fact, that's another rule I'd have in my newsroom: anybody who refers to himself as an "ink-stained wretch, heh-heh-heh" gets the bum's rush. And how.

And I'll tell you what else. Any of my guys shows up on T.V. owes me money. That is, if he wants to keep his crappy job.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Corpuscular School of Journalism:

» quo vadis from unlocking the air
There's an interesting discussion in the comments to this Corpuscle post, in which Mitch Wagner makes a case for gays and lesbians being the 'new Jews' so far as the looney reactionary right is concerned:... [Read More]


The journos you name are the exceptions, the superstars. The overwhelming majority of journalists are paid exactly as you describe. I know I was back when I was a local newspaper reporter.

Were you pissed off about it?

Do you think most of the editors out there want their reporters pissed off at the world? Or do they want them all nice and happy?

What about the publishers?

Sorry, the way I asked those questions makes it seem like I'm trying to be confrontational toward you. I'm actually just curious what you think, being a reporter and all.

I wrote the post in the voice of an imaginary editor or publisher of the "old school" variety. I don't think having a corps of poverty-stricken, pissed-off-at-the-world reporters would actually solve anything. I was fantasizing about a Media Mogul who wanted his people pissed off, and was actually prepared to, um, cultivate that attitude in his reporters, and then publish the fruits of his cultivation. That, it seems to me, actually could make a difference. Assuming the editor or publisher was of the democracy rather than of the aristocracy faction.

Mike - I was not offended.

Journalists' low salaries tend to make them cautious, beaten down and pessimistic. I no longer work in the mainstream media myself, and haven't for 16 years; eventually I skedaddled for the computer trade press, where I could expect to get paid enough to buy a house and a new car every now and then and such.

I like your observation about the aristocracy faction, and I suppose it is more prevalent among conservatives, but liberals have a big dose of it too. You see it among the mainstream media when they criticize bloggers. I mean, if blogging becomes popular, than just about anyone can speak out! It'll be as though free speech had Constitutional protection or something!

I don't think in terms of aristocracy, I think in terms of authoritarians vs. egalitarians. Liberals can be authoritarians too; the Clinton Administration had a wide streak of it, what with the V-chip and expansion of the prison-industrial complex and the war on some drugs and all that. Authoritarians are inherently drawn to government service, because government is the ultimate authority. I mean, they have guns if you don't do what they tell you.

One of the reasons I dropped out of Agre's Red Rock Eater News Service is his persistent demonization of conservatives. Many conservatives are fine people. And George W. Bush is no more a conservative than is Jesse Jackson; Bush is a radical. Bush is making me more conservative by the day; he has made me fear Big Government.

Re: liberals can be in the aristocracy/authoritarian faction.

By all means. The whole distinction b/w liberal and conservative might be useful in some other context, but not so much in the context I'm talking about here. I do believe liberalism is a thing that is definable, and the same for conservatism, but thinking in those terms is not what I think we need right now. I see the important issue being the struggle between the aristocracy faction and the democracy faction. You see it as the authoritarians v. the egalitarians. About the same thing, I'd say. In both cases, I think it locates the problem where it belongs. I guess I just like the "aristocracy" label better because an aristocracy is (supposed to be) anathema to Americans. Clearly, as a fact, it isn't. But maybe as a propaganda trick, there might be some mileage to be gotten out of it.

When you put it that way -- yes, aristocracy is a better word.

How would you define liberalism? How would you define conservatism?

I can't define liberalism myself, but it seems to me that it is at least a cohesive entity.

Conservatism seems to be an amalgam of different groups espousing different philosophies. Conservatives include:

- The Religious Right and the crowd who want to redefine family values to suit their own narrow, bigoted and superstitious agendas.

- The soccer moms and NASCAR Dads and main street of middle America. They're sort of sympathetic to the Religious Right but they think the Religous Right are, at their worst, too fanatical. The litmus test for separating this group from the Religous Right crowd is homosexuality: The soccer Moms/NASCAR Dads believe homosexuality is a sin — but, golly, it just isn't Thanksgiving if we don't invite Uncle Steve. And he's been with his "friend" Harry so long that it's like Harry is a member of the famly too.

- Small-government conservatives and libertarians with a lowercase "L." Until recently, this crowd was indistinguishable from the previous group, but I think they've emerged as a separate (and, hopefully, powerful) interest group of their own over the past few years. This group is tolerant of homosexuality (indeed, it includes many homosexuals), it's tolerant of ethic diverity, and believes that the best government is the one that governs least.

The best hope for America at this point is the growing schism between the Religious Right and the other groups, especially the small-government conservatives. The Democrats are pretty useless at this point.

I've mentioned homosexuality a couple of times in this message, and I find myself talking about the subject a lot during political discussions. The reason is that homosexuals are to America what Jews are to Europe. Newspaper columnist Jon Carroll wrote a column a couple of months ago about the Left Behind Christians — the ones who believe the Rapture is coming any minute now, and who read the Left Behind series of novels. He later posted a bunch of hate mail he received from the Left Behinders. Among them was one letter accusing him of gayness — even though the original column had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with homosexuality or sex in any way. The letter was baffling, until you replace the word "gay" with "Jew" and then it starts to look familiar.

There's an appealing definition of liberalism in my big Webster's Third International: "...not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or traditional or established forms in action, attitude, or opinion..."

In its broadest sense, that's what I think of as liberalism, but then of course you have the picture of "liberals" painted by "conservatives" which has them being more or less the definition of authoritarians. And we have all the "conservatives" who think we ought to plunge head-long into the (shudder) New American Century.

All of which sort of demonstrates what we already know, that the two terms can't really be used in polite conversation anymore.

Nevertheless, that definition above is what I think of when I think of liberalism, Project for the New American Century Maniacs notwithstanding. The part of the dictionary definition I think of when I think of conservatism goes: "... tending or disposed to maintain existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions..."

I'm pretty much a full-bore progressive and so, of course, I can see the usefulness of keeping a few conservatives around, in the sense of "conservative" as defined above. It doesn't hurt to have a little resistance to the urge to plunge ahead. For example, I think the country could use some genuinely conservative types in the Republican Party to push the PNACers back.

So I've pretty much given up thinking of liberalism and conservatism in terms of what groups of people constitute political instances of the two ends of the spectrum. I think of liberalism and conservatism as turns-of-mind or temperaments more than anything else. For political discussions, I've converted to (as I've said) the "aristo-facts" v. the "demos-facts".

I think it's true to some degree that American Homos == European Jews, at least in the sense of the different threatening the established. Somebody has to be blamed for the fact that history marches on. If things could just remain exactly the same as they've always been, then we wouldn't ever have to find someone to blame for all our problems. We could just accept them as part of Mankind's Lot. But of course, things do change (thank heavens), and this scares people and somebody needs to pay. Whoever is weak and therefore unable to easily resist having to take the blame, well, they're going to get it. This is the above definition of "conservatism" gone berserk, just as the slaughter of the once-powerful is the above definition of "liberalism" gone mad.

I don't have a problem with there being some sort of balance b/w the two, just as long as "liberalism" always has the noticeably upper-hand. :)

It isn't just the demonization of homosexuality that makes me think of gays as the new Jews.

Rather, it's the way that the Religious Right finds gayness where no sexuality of any kind exist. I mean, Tinky-Winky? Spongebob Squarepants? Ernie and Bert HAVE no genitalia; they don't even EXIST below the waist.

Oh, I've been below Ernie's and Bert's waists. Believe me, they exist. And how.

But I take your point. For a moment I misread what you wrote and thought you were saying they were "finding sexuality" rather than "finding gayness". Which made me wonder, once I'd got sorted out, if it was sexuality itself, not gayness so much, that they can't stand, but since Normal Sex doesn't have enough shock value left in it anymore, they have to transform the whole thing over into Sodomy. Were they ever to actually take absolute control of the reins around here, they wouldn't, of course, confine their seeing-of-demons to the Sodomy, it would be every kind of sex, but they can't really get to that place yet. So the demon becomes gay sex. None of that transformation would actually be conscious at this point. It's one of those interior adjustments people make to the state of the culture they currently find themselves in.

But I'm wandering from your point. I think you are more or less referring to some weird Protocols of Gay Zion thing going on, which I think is about right, actually. Er, not that there actually is a Protocols of Gay Zion, but... well, you know what I mean.

> Protocols of Gay Zion....

Something like that.

Also, a belief on the part of homophobic America that exposure to gays is somehow poisonous. Thus the fear of gays teaching schools, gays in the military, and Carroll's letter from the reader who thought is completely non-sexual political column was suffused with some kind of gay agenda.

I'm het myself, and yet I lived in San Francisco for four years. I've been around gay people all my life. One of my best friends in high school was gay. And yet that experience hasn't changed my sexual orientation or outlook the least little bit.

Although I do find myself growing more and more fond of disco as the years go by. Maybe I need to rethink this.

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

In Memory

May 2006

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31      


  • Technorati search