Sunday, August 21, 2011

For Whom the Belly Groans

Well, when you're 66, you can write any damn thing you want. Nobody can fire you. A group of elderly writers were conversing on the dignity of how they used to write their columns within strict guidelines of ethics for their time. Everyone avoided opinion, only stated the facts. I had to speak.

Today's journalism is nothing but opinion and editorializing. I call it the blog mentality, the Wikileaks zeitgeist of our times. We tell all, because no one is embarrassed by anything anymore. The term scruples, pshaw, it sounds so Victorian. You have to shoot the public in the face to get noticed. And being noticed is more important that ever with six billion people on the planet to compete with. It is now acceptable to bend the truth. The believable lie gets you the attention you seek. Pardon my boarding house reach.

We go from Reader's Digest to Wired and beyond in our taste in news stand literature. In fact, the more grossly exaggerated and laced with "lies" the better. Many of us really think the blather-bloated scandal sheets at the grocery store checkout to be worthy, must reads, only just below the NY best sellers. And they are in sales. This is the relevant writing of our time, because it reflects our confused state of mind.

Does Rupert Murdoch run your life? Of course, he does. He even wiretaps your phone. He knows more about you than your priest.

Most of us "seek professional help" like getting a tune-up for your car. It keeps the engine running in a world where someone is pouring sugar in your tank everyday. It is exciting to be running around with your hair on fire yelling, "Look at me. I'm a redhead now!" We live in a time of complete neurotic behavior. We relish best selling authors with 1,000 page tomes, but abbreviate life with texting. We drive thousands of miles a year, but rarely go more than a few miles from home. If writing seems scripted, it is in a world where some of the stupidest sitcoms on television become the most watched and imitated cultural events that get discussed around the water cooler.

Really people, get a grip. Especially you writers out there. We need to hear the truth. We crave reality over false platitudes. Our psychic will turn on us if not properly calibrated with the truth. The challenge before us is how to deliver this information directly into a vein.