Thursday, May 07, 2009

Wall Street Journalism

Humpty Dumpty (Read: US Newspapers) Sat on a Wall (Read: Wall Street)
I was just listening to David Simon (a very smart dude who the The Daily Growler has excerpted and praised in the past) testifying yesterday before John "Catchup" Kerry's stupid State of Newspapers Investigation Committee, or whatever stupid name they've given this money-wasting committee of pompous and well-fed Congressional geeks sitting figuratively there in their high-and-mighty seats--as though they are judges and not public servants--above the people called to "testify" before them concerning the rotten state of US newspapers, newspapers one would have at one time never considered ever being without, certainly not their going broke and being divested in this mighty 2-bit-broke nation.

John "Heinz 57" Kerry heading another committee. Remember the last Kerry Committee hearing? Remember how successful that was--his Iran-Contra hearings! I'm sorry, but Kerry's a jerk, an ex-DA, like that god-awful Philadelphia hick, ex-DA, Arlen "Wishy-Washy" Specter, the inventor of the single-shooter theory in the Kennedy Assassination coverup, who's just turncoated on his true-believer party, the Repugnicans, and become a Dumbocrat (I don't trust the bastard's objectives in this--resembles Unka Joe LIEberman's stupid-animal-trick move from the Dumbos, who whipped his old reelection-bidding ass, to a Repugnican-asskissing independent (what a joke being an independent is in Washington, District of Corruption))--and trust me, folks, Arlen's still just as wishy-washy and DA-minded as he was when he was working for the CIA in coming up with the single-shooter theory--accusing, yep, a dumbass, a stooge, the ex-Marine goon, Lee Harvey Oswald, sent by the CIA to Russia as a spy, allowed to marry and bring to the US a commie babe bride (kind of hard to do in those Commie Scare days--like kind of impossible to do--like remember when Stalin's daughter made a brief appearance in this country?--to marry a millionaire or some such bullshit--hey, we got Stalin's fucking daughter and she's becoming a Capitalist Pig, marrying a Capitalist Pig--ha-ha-ha, though Sweet Svetlana got the last laugh on us and was soon back home in Mother Russia kissing the soil and covering up her father's insanities)--and Marina Oswald is mostly forgotten now, though I think she's a housewife in Dallas--married a Texas rich boy trophy collector, and what a prize she was. My brother was a Dallas journalist at the time--an award-winning journalist because of the Kennedy Assassination happening on his city beat--and as a goofy, beer-drinking, cavorting young man loose about town in Dallas in those days, I had the privilege because of my relation to my editorial boss brother of just walking into my brother's newspaper anytime I wanted and being a part of the scene. Most of the time when I wandered in, my brother's office was full of other newspapermen, even the Sports Editor, his name was Blackie, all jawing away and babbling back and forth about stories they were working on or movies they'd just seen or books they'd just read or celebrities they'd just interviewed. And I've sat in my brother's office with these other newspaper guys, all men in those days by the way, and listened to them arguing about the assassination in who-done-it terms and then starting revealing behind-the-scenes shit about the shenanigans surrounding the assassination, the deeper they got into their analyzing they more they got into the true grit stuff they weren't allowed by the legal department to print. All this as they slugged back shots of bourbon whiskey (they drank in offices in those days--the chief always had a bottle of Jim Beam or Ezra Brooks (pre-Jack Daniels dominating the bourbon whiskey market) in their bottom desk drawer, the locked drawer), the inside scoops they had on various aspects of the assassination and various investigations going on around it and the out-of-the-public's-eye stories, like a US Marshal telling my brother he and most of his buddies had banged Marina Oswald in the hotel where they were holding her and interrogating her. She got such special treatments, too. One reporter there said she'd been fucking around on Lee Harvey ever since he'd brought her to Dallas--that she was a hustler...a whore...and probably a spy...or at least a CIA operative. Most of those beat dudes were cynical about who had killed JFK, a president my brother's newspaper had backed in spite of Dallas at that time being the headquarters of US Rightwing White Supremacy Conservatism, the hometown of backwards thinking Conservative nutjobs like H. L. Hunt and General Walker and mile-a-minute-hate-hawking Dan Smoot and whack-o babbling idiot Congressman Bruce Alger--plus Lyndon "Big Balls" Johnson was vice-president, and Texas Conservatives despised Lyndon Johnson as both a pinko commie and a nigger lover and subject to the orders of a fucking Mick, an Irish Catholic president--two of the biggest issues with Conservatives in those days--Commies and Uppity Blacks who truly believed that Honest Abe Lincoln, who we know wanted to send 'em back to Africa really--whose wife's father was a slave trader--had really emancipated them from slavery--had given those big black bucks justification for whistling or cat-calling at pure little innocent God-blessed white women--you surely dig where I'm comin' from. The journalists in my brother's office were cynical as hell about everything except drinking bourbon and eatin' a bowl of chili rice at Shanghai Jimmy's or drinking into the long lonely nights at the Blueprint Lounge. I tried to become a journalist--took one-year of Journalism in college--and my brother gave me a story assignment one day--to interview a Fort Worth novelist who'd just had a novel hit the NYTimes Bestseller List (an important list in those days), a novel that sort of had to do with the Kennedy assassination from a Washington, District of Corruption, point of view--a very Faulkneresque novel. I read the book and called the guy on the phone. I was really dumbass in those days. My head was constantly anticipating the next party I was going to and the next hot babe I was going to meet at that party and the next "relationship" I was gonna get involved in, at least for that night--at the time I was dating the great-grandniece of Mark Twain--and Clemens really was her last name--and god I loved that chick--what a little beauty and smart as the proverbial whip. She had gone to Texas Tech with my ex-girlfriend--I had met her at my ex's wedding--in which I was an invited guest and presented the newlywed couple with a painting of mine called "Bayou Teche at Breaux Bridge" (a place at that time I'd never been, though later when I was stationed at Fort Polk in Louisiana (a year after my ex married the disc jockey) I drove over to Breaux Bridge and saw Bayou Teche for the first time. I hated the bastard who stole that girl from me--knocked her up while I was off serving my country in the U.S. Fucking Army--and while I'm revealing things I hate or hated, let me repeat, as I do so often, how I hated my time in the Army though I endured it the Admiral Stockdale way--and, hey, I just called Admiral Stockdale my Plato in a discussion on Plato's concept of God and an afterlife I had yesterday with thedailygrowlerhousepianist who's currently attempting to read the complete works of Plato--and comprehend them--we get so Socratic, too, when we discuss fabulous shit like God and afterlives)--and that girl wanted to become a journalist and wrote the "Rock and Roll" column for my hometown newspaper, the newspaper on which my brother started his journalism career--my brother later founded the journalism department at one of my hometown's colleges--no brag, just facts, folks. Anyway, I really wanted that ex-girlfriend, and I had her, too, but then I had to fulfill my "armed service" obligation--one of the hells of being a young male in those days--unless, of course, like G.W. Bush, you were a member of the Power Elite, then fuck the army--like Unka Dickless "Waterboardin'" Cheney got 5 deferments, that now-fearless asshole. God, in rethinking that young woman, a junior in high school when I met her through my brother--I was in college, a man, a college man. That girl, hometown made, was "Hot like bread and pepper/Sweet like cherry wine," right up my alley; and that fucking obligation to the fucking U.S. Army was the reason I lost her and a fucking worthless disc jockey knocked her up and got her instead of me--another story for another million words!

My brother published my interview and book review on the Sunday Book Page, but rereading it many years later it was embarrassing. I was so fucking "out there"--my head up my prissy pretty-boy ass! I would never let anybody see it, ever, nor did I put it in the scrapbook of my greatest feats I kept and took out to show women I was trying to impress. In fact, I have no idea where it is, though I'm sure there's a copy in my brother's archives since he kept every thing he ever wrote or page he ever edited or whatever clipping that had to do with him, even the Sunday paper in which my wedding to my second wife was announced. I remember that Sunday morning. I woke up with a hangover. I had dated a chick I met at the Warner Brothers film distribution house the night before and we'd ended up at Gordo's, my favorite Dallas hangout, and we'd gotten blotto and wobbled back to my apartment where we did the double-back beast like a wrestling match all night and she got up early because she had to go down to do her office for a meeting. When she was leaving she tripped over my Sunday paper. That was the paper that after I had read through to the back pages, I accidentally came across the Wedding Page. I did a double take. Whoaaa. The picture of the pretty bride-to-be up in that left-hand corner under the big three-column head...the three column head that said Miss Thomas-Swiftdeer-Valdez to wed Mister Growling Wolf in January nuptuals. Whoaaaa again. Suddenly, though I swear I have no morals, I felt guilty. The Warner Brothers girl had left her panties in my bathroom. I found them in the nick of time. Five minutes later my bride-to-be was knocking on my door. "Holy Shit, baby, I hadn't expected you. Thought you'd gone to see your mother." "Naw, I changed my plans...I was doing some work for Professor Sore-as-Hell [his name was Sorrell but she preferred Sore-as-Hell] and just got so tired last night I went home and crashed. Tried to call you--where were you?--I called once around 1." "I was out with Jimbo and Beany Girl, up at the Pilot's Lounge." "Eating ham sandwiches and drinking Norwegian beers." "Faxe Tower, I think it's Danish." "Anyway, have you seen the paper this morning yet." It was open on my bed in plain sight. I knew she saw it there. "I read a couple'a pages and then had to go to the bathroom." She moved over to the bed and lay down across it. God she was sexy, all curvy and full and rounded, and suddenly I'd forgotten my sinnin' ways with the Warner Brothers girl and was all over my wife-to-be. Before she could find her picture and our nuptuals notice I had her in the submissive state rockin' and rollin' love all over her and into her. "Why don't we get married?" I said when I brought a lukewarm towel in to gently clean my foulness off of her. "You bastard, you saw the announcement." " looked fucking all-time beautiful in that picture." "I called your brother and he told me to come down and he had that photographer Paul, that guy, take that picture of me. He told me he was going do us right with the whole thing and Jesus we were spread almost all the way across the page."

I grew up around newspapers and newspaper people since my brother became a reporter on my hometown paper when I was 10 or so, maybe 11, 12, hell, that's too long ago to be precise about it, though I could if I really wanted to, though that's a part of my character, the hidden me, the hidden thegrowlingwolf --the star-reporter thegrowlingwolf. I have been to parties at my brother's big house when Bill Moyers was in the den jawing with Larry King (The Littliest Whorehouse in Texas) and a little dude, a infamous Texas writer just down from Detroit where he worked on the Free Press was tossing down my brother's bourbon (my brother was a George Dickel man) and in the livingroom charming the ladies was a bestselling Civil-War novelist and the guy who wrote The Longest Day, Cornelius Ryan, and I recall one time my brother reading to the boys in the den, a now on-air national talking head was among the gang by then, a letter he'd just gotten from Catch 22 author Joseph Heller in reply to a letter my brother had sent him concerning Heller's book Something Happened. My brother read Heller saying that he'd been so impressed with my brother's letter he'd read it to a group of college colleagues. My brother felt a kinship with Heller since they were born in the same month and year and had the same sort of haphazard existence by being in the World War II at the same time, Heller in Europe, my brother in the South Pacific, and then both of them were both first published for the first time in The Atlantic Monthly (as it was called before it became The Atlantic, which I think is a rather stupid name for a magazine), and then both of them having problems with tragedy and children and dealing with them in the same ways. That's how I grew up--and, remember, too, as a kid, my grandmother babysat me in my hometown's Carnegie library where she was the librarian and her library was always full of poets and writers and especially a young reporter on the Abilene Reporter-News who had with the encouragement and editorial help of my grandmother had gotten his book published and it did quite well for a first novel and got good reviews though not much in sales, enough to make him a momentary hero around my hometown until he went off to greener pastures. His novel became a rediscovered posthumous bestseller that was then made into a movie--happening in the 70s, long after this young reporter/novelist was long since dead--he died young, like all good people do. I followed my newspaper brother from my hometown to Dallas where he rose to be the editorial page editor of the afternoon Dallas newspaper, the largest newspaper in Dallas, and later he became the majority stockholder of that paper after the founder's widow gave my brother the option to buy her controlling interest in the paper that was eventually sold to the Los Angeles Times Corporation for 95 million bucks, which is how in 1970 my brother got rich and was written up in Newsweek as the new newspaper wonderboy lucky reporter bastard who risen from a beat reporter to majority owner of a large urban newspaper--yes, the newspaper management people hated him and did everything they could to block his entry to the newspaper board of which he had become a member so he sued them for mismanagement and he got Lyndon "Big Balls" Johnson's Austin lawyer to head up the suit. When it came time for the Dallas paper to accept the offer from the LA Times, they couldn't finalize it until they settled the litigation with my brother, which they did, and as a result of the sale, my brother became a tenth owner of the LA Times, no brag, just fact, folks, or so I say.

So David Simon was testifying before John "Husband of the Heinz Fortune" Kerry's committee investigating the card-castle-collapsing of US newspapers and whether We the People should bail these worthless Capitalistic venture chain-linked rags out--and Simon hit he nail on the head by saying the demise of our newspapers happened long before blogging and Twittering came along, long before the Wall Street collapse, back in the nineties when Professor Bill Clinton decided anybody and his dog could buy up all the newspapers and radio stations and teevee stations they wanted, no limit. That's how the fucking New York Times got ownership of the Boston Globe! That's when the Chicago Sun-Times went on a newspaper buying spree, buying David Simon's newspaper the Baltimore Sun and almost immediately giving David an early retirement package--in other words, the chain that bought the Baltimore Sun fired his ass. David went from the Baltimore Sun to television and came up with the HBO series called "The Wire" (nor can I seem to italicize teevee shows--are they worthy of italics?). That, by the way, has made David rich and given him a new profession though he still claims journalism is his true calling and he wants to be back at his reporting desk digging up the dirt and revealing the political and criminal and good-guy shenanigans going on in the Central Maryland coverage area of that great old newspaper that once carried on its front page the H.L. Mencken byline (Mencken covered the Scopes Monkey Trial for the Sun) and as a local family-owned newspaper it was very profitable; in fact, it was making a profit when the Sun-Times bought it out from the family owners. Trouble was, as Simon said, it was only making about 15% profits under local ownership and the new owners were demanding it make 37% profits and to do that they started firing reporters right and left, among whom was David Simon.

I was applauding David's testimony full flare until he started bashing Internet journalism--bloggers especially he was glancing down-his-nose at--that's when I turned and growled double-whammy-meanly at the bastard. He started belittling bloggers and Twitterers as nothing but aggregators, accumulators, rippers-offers, traipsing through the Internet clipping (copying) out stories and ideas from all the on-line FREE newspapers; in other words, stealing ideas and writing things down as if they were original thinking and writing and reporting--blah, blah, blah. Fuck you, David. I'm a blogger who writes a post full of prejudiced and biased opinions, opinions expressed through the conglomerate writing mouth of a character out of a continuing-present on-line novel that is posing as a "daily"--"a daily post"--a "daily journal"-- "a daily look at the times"--"a daily look at the globe"--"a daily examiner"--"a daily intelligencer"--"a daily star"--"a daily reporter-news"--a look at the GESTALT of the world from a coming-out-of-nowhere perspective and the perspective of the characters that make up the world in which the The Daily Growler's spinning A-round like a little red top being spun out of control by a twisted kid bent on spinning it to destruction--like the dancer at the end of Stravinsky's Le sacre du printemps. What is wrong with the The Daily Growler's style of journalism? It maybe makes you think whether you see any dug-up facts or investigated truths in it or whether you curse it as too plebian, too vernacular, too vulgar. David says he's a professional journalist; he's studied journalism and knows it like he knows the textbook he read in Journalism 101; inferring that because we are bloggers we are not professional anything especially writers. We are guessing at what genuine pro reporters know as facts and their newspapers publish their reporting as facts. Blah, blah, blah, boring backwards thinking talk from a guy who should know better. Hey, David, you lost your newspaper job because the greedy bastards who brought down our whole fucking economy brought down the newspapers.

I no longer read the daily rags around New York City. I'll read them on line when I see they're carrying an article or column that impresses me enough that I want to read it. Every newspaper's link in the US and the better rags in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East are listed at the bottom of the site--that's where I go to check out newspapers--BuzzFlash uses their password so that these papers open from their site's links. And then when I read these newspapers, I don't necessarily see all kinds of factual lights going off--just the opposite. I doubt what I read in newspapers just as I doubt what I see and hear on teevee. And speaking of journalism jokes, CBS is running Katie Couric commercials saying Katie just won the prestigious Walter Cronkite Award for Outstanding and Excellent Journalism and Reporting--some such bullshit made-up award like that--isn't Walter Cronkite so old now he'd hardly remember what good journalism ever was--and whoever said Walter Cronkite was a great journalist? He was from Texas and made his fame as a war correspondent in WWII, same as Andy Rooney! And that's the way it is, folks. I still don't see what is unprofessional about copying out things from online free newspapers and analyzing them from several different angles on a blog as long as you give the papers reference--run their Website address as a link with the copied copy--I don't see how that degrades what a blogger journalist is writing about. Yes, most blogs are "goo-goo" "look at me" type blogs, though most of those sillies have gone over to FaceBook, MySpace (Rupert Murdoch collects information on it), those spaces for silly folks to parade their tacky asses out into the streaming flow of constant information, fact or fiction, flooding the interspacial Internet with more facts and fiction than one could ever fully comprehend in a lifetime. Always remember the Internet was invented by the Department of Defense and not Al "The Bore" Gore.

David says newspapers should charge subscription rates in order for bloggers and Internet wankers to rip-off materials from them--they should pay for it, dammit. He's not for bailouts of the current conglomerate newspapers but he's barking it up for "nonprofit newspapers" thereby relieving them from having to depend on advertising monies for their existence, advertising monies that have dried up due to the Internet being a better place to advertise now for businesses of all natures.

My reply was still, "Fuck you, David. Why not introduce a 'new' journalism, an Internet journalism, a journalism teevee should have promoted but didn't--a journalism of video cameras and reporters going along with the camera persons right to the sorespots and filming it and then writing a commentary to go along with the report, as in documentary filmmaking, in both voice and print to run with the story--a double visual experience.

I was really disappointed in David Simon. Like I said, Fuck him now.

thegrowlingwolf (withhelpfromtheThe Daily Growler crackstaffofreportersincludingfranny&zoeourtwo-headedgirlreporter)
for The Daily Growler

One of Our Best Reporters Waiting for an Assignment

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