Clowns and Coke


"Fresh Fish", by Mr. Fish (Dwanye Booth)Mr. Fish sounds off on the transformation of modern journalism—

In fact, if you were to compare the old, pre-merger LA Weekly and, while you’re at it, the Village Voice from 5 or 10 or 30 years ago, with today’s versions you’d see how Mr. Fish (not to mention Norman Mailer, Ezra Pound, Henry Miller, Barbara Garson, Katherine Anne Porter, M.S. Cone, James Baldwin, E.E. Cummings, Nat Hentoff, Marc Cooper, Ted Hoagland, Tom Stoppard, Lorraine Hansberry, Allen Ginsberg, Joshua Clover, Jules Feiffer and R. Crumb) no longer fits in with the TMZ/Your-ad-here!/journalism-produced-cheaply-will-produce-cheap-journalism look of the papers.

I recently received a letter from someone bemoaning the obvious drop in quality of the LA Weekly, as evidenced by the paper’s online incarnation, by saying that, “If I knew nothing about LA, I would think all that went on there were Burlesque shows.”

No kidding.

Sure, in response to a shitty economy and a pandemic shift by news junkies from pulp to PC, there have been definite changes in the print media industry over the last five years. And, sure, attempts to restructure the financial model on any business institution that sees its profit margins shrinking will always have some effect on the product that’s being produced, but mustn’t a shift to protect the body of an organization take special care not to jeopardize serious trauma to the head as well?

Does an incoming administration really assert its authority when it rips up the old Constitution so beloved by those it seeks to rule, saying, “This thing is pointless – it was written with a feather! We have Microsoft Office now!” or does it merely demonstrate its own arrogance and self-centeredness and misguided sense of intellectual privilege?

Haven’t we learned anything from the New Coke fiasco from the 1980s, for Christsakes?

—and, of course, his dismissal from the L. A. Weekly newspaper.

Once upon a time ….

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World Extreme Blogfighting


And now for something completely … uh … yeah.

Or maybe I could do that mixed martial arts bit. Michael Buffer. “It’s tiiiiiime!” Except I don’t have the voice for it. Nor the flair. Nor the bling, now that I stop to think about it. And, frankly, watching members of the journalistic community beat each other bloody is only mildly fun, like making crabs fight in sand pits on the beach without the pervasive sense of guilt.

Let me state at the outset, then, that I like Greenwald. If I walked into a bar and found Glenn Greenwald and Joe Klein arguing, I would probably wonder what someone did to piss off Glenn. And then, of course, someone would whisper, “That’s Joe Klein!”

And I would say, “Well, that explains it.”

More than likely, someone else nearby would say, “Who’s Joe Klein?”

Not that they would know Glenn, either. This aspect of political journalism, while widely-enough attended to keep it going, is actually fairly obscure. Yes, FOX News may be the #1 cable news station, but it’s a cable news station. The top-rated cable news station averages a little under three and a half million viewers daily. An intriguing portion of that is composed of people who despise the network and keep tabs on what insanity its talking heads regularly offer. But some weeks I’ll watch four, maybe six hours of cable news. Some weeks I don’t see it at all. That’s more than most people—perhaps anyone—I know. And I don’t watch FOX.

By the time we get down to a blogbrawl between two generally unrecognizable people like Greenwald and Klein, the audience for such petty spats is relatively small. It is also vocal and very much interested, so we’ll start by accommodating that rabid sector of conservatism that, while it despises “quotas” or any such rules pertaining to those attributes born into a person, requires ideological quota parity before rewarding anyone with the respect of taking them remotely seriously. Or even bothering with the pretense.

So for the benefit of those who do not understand that one can be critical of a Republican, GOP cause, or conservative talking point without fellating Nancy Pelosi, I’ll start with a quota rap against Glenn:

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