For you, the dress code is casual.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Ding-dong, the press is dead

I became a writer so I could be a journalist. It’s often the other way around.

I have no interest in fiction, poetry, or experimental writing. I enjoy exposure to it, but I don’t dream of writing the next great Canadian novel.

I once believed that journalists could change the world. Any great human rights movement, any great outpouring of emotion, it’s all been predicated by a news story. It’s all been preceded by a spreading of the word, be it via the press or via an independent.

To be that vehicle, I thought: what a great thing.

I bring a heady mix of optimism and realism to the table. I like what I have to offer. I’ve always thought that this so-called vow of objectivity in the media seemed to also include swearing off of personality. I thought I could play in the big leagues with my grasp of personality in print, one day.

And that’d be everything for me. I have always wanted the opportunity to be a part of shaping perspective on world events, large or small. Wanted to be the valve that controls the pulse.

But that’s because I was an idealist. And idealists are fools, as we all know.

I’ve grown up.

* * *

I’d read a great deal of journalism from throughout the 20th century by the time I was 17. I thought it seemed like an amazing way to go. I knew about Rolling Stone’s history as an influential and pacesetting news organization of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, and how journalism, I thought, was still moving towards an edgy, exciting time.

I should have known that Entertainment Tonight and Hard Copy were sounding the death knell for journalism. It steadily went downhill, reaching rock bottom with the OJ Simpson Bronco pursuit and staying there for the next decade, where it still wallows.

Right now, the American press has the biggest fucking muzzle on it that it’s ever had. Freedom of press? Yeah, on paper, man. The press has been bought and sold. There is no public opinion. Money talks, and both legislation and freedom of information walk behind it. The press is a puppet.

In the last few days, Sam Donaldson has been shaking up the mix a bit, telling us that “television news is dead.” Yes. Yes, it is, Sam. You tell ‘em, dude.

* * *

The public has forgotten that the media is a living, breathing entity. It is interactive. Never before has it been this easy to send a letter to the editor. Go online, click and send. How many people have done this? How many people go to their news source and directly question their coverage? Don’t just answer their fucking polls. What are you, a pawn? Question them. They’re not telling us anything we need to know. Where are your questions?

Our apathy gets us the media we have.

* * *

So, another reason I blog is just to have an occasional voice about public events. Unfortunately, I’m still hung over from the disastrous American election. I hate George Bush. With a passion. I hate Dick Cheney. With a passion. I hate Condolleezza Rice. With a great passion. I hate Tom De Lay. Boy, do I hate Tom De Lay.

But how much can I really say about that? Unfortunately, a stupid electoral system fraught with a great many insufficiencies has resulted in a horrifically divided country that’s standing in the centre of its most polarized time ever. As a Canadian, it’s a sad thing to witness the divisive age the U.S. has entered into.

And here at home, we’re on the cusp of possibly having a vote of non-confidence in Ottawa that will shut our government down on the heels of a scandalous revelation of top-level corruption throughout the governing party for the last decade that even includes its involvement in organized crime. The scandal’s fallout is on the verge of forcing a national election, one that will probably result in the Conservative party forming a minority government--at a time when we’re on the verge of decriminalizing marijuana and granting gay marriages--it’ll be an absolutely monstrous step backwards.

This all results in a very sad Steff, politically. I wish I could find the humour in it. “Everybody, point and laugh!” Sadly, no. There’s not a lot that’s funny about people’s rights being squashed. There’s no humour in governing with fear. There’s no optimism to be found when people can’t find common ground.

* * *

As a result, here I am. Telling silly stories about port-a-johns and mushrooms, waxing poetic about nutjobs in the north, and regaling you with tales of anal bleaching.

Yes, Sam Donaldson, news is dead. Period. All forms. Maybe, just maybe, some bloggers somewhere will really show ‘em all how it’s done.

I have great hopes for this lowly form of push-button publishing. I have a feeling we haven’t seen anything yet. And it might just be a fun ride.

* * *

I’d like to invite anyone who finds anything of interest they think I might be smitten with to my new e-mail addy,, which is listed in the sidebar, below the Bogey quote (that addy is clickable... too lazy to code this one).