Corporate journalists are invariably sycophantic hacks. No, it’s true! They’re often members of the same social class as those in positions of power to whom they’re supposedly implacably opposed! They attend the same cocktail parties and send their kids to the same private schools and everything!
Well, that’s about all there is to say about that. To my chagrin, I admit that being unable to act surprised anew by that fact every day helps keep me from ever attaining the page hits and blog-ad revenue of all the big pwoggie-bloggers. But we must be true to ourselves above all, and I simply have no interest in joining the chorus of short-sighted people pissing and moaning about this or that particular reporter or pundit who’s a little too cozy with this or that Republican, blah blah blah.
That said, sometimes even I can’t help but enjoy munching on a Comedy Gold-en Delicious apple that falls into my open hand.
So, I’ve spent the last several weeks watching the entire series of The Wire via Netflix, and just finished it over the weekend. The fifth and final season focused to a large degree on the media, based on executive producer David Simon’s experience working for the Baltimore Sun. The DVD had a bonus feature that contained a bunch of people associated with the show, along with assorted journalists, giving their two cents on the state of print media, journalism, the Internet, all that good stuff.
Somehow, out of all the people they could have picked to offer some words of wisdom about the Meaning of it All, they got Joe Klein.
The depths of his incredible hackitude have been thoroughly navigated, explored, and mapped elsewhere, so I won’t bother rehashing all that. Go plug his name into the “search this blog” function on anyone from Eschaton or Hullabaloo or Greenwald on down if you need to refresh your memory. I just want to share this amazing tidbit here:
“I’m entirely depressed about the state of my craft. Newspapers and magazines are losing readers, young people aren’t reading them. You know, I watch as my colleagues get laid off and fired — it’s kind of like being gay in 1982, half the people I know are dying, they’re being, you know, they’re being cut off.”
Now, I understand that the whole point of analogies is to (skillfully) compare apples to oranges, basically. And it’s a longstanding pet peeve of mine that people constantly hyperventilate over touchy analogies by focusing on the two examples rather than the common theme or thread between them: “Ohmigod I can’t believe he just totally compared X to Y get me the smelling salts AIIIEEEE…” But still, some images are just too incongruous to make the analogy work. For example, pretty much anything being contrasted with Hitler/the Nazis. Leaving aside the whole aspect of it being utterly, utterly overused, almost anything you’re seeking to call attention to for its awfulness is going to suffer in comparison to the Nazis, and you’re just going to look like an unimaginative idiot.
So while I have to give it up to Joe for coming up with a new one here, I still have to say: Really? That’s the best image you could think of? Watching your profession change beyond recognition, watching colleagues lose their jobs…that’s “kind of like” wasting away from a mysterious, horrible – incurable – disease at a time when no one in power wants to acknowledge it, and many of them actually see it as just retribution against you for thwarting God’s plans? That’s “kind of like” literally dying? Really? So…I guess all the massive unemployment we have now, all the ordinary people who don’t have enough education, special skills or connections to land on their feet somewhere else, all the people who are losing everything they own because people far above them in another world played games with imaginary money on paper…that’s kind of like the Holocaust, isn’t it?
Shit. Just violated my own rule.