Daily Archives: 11 January 2007

Between a rock and a hard place

The world’s savviest investor Warren Buffet:

“Newspaper readers are heading into the cemetery, while newspaper non-readers are just getting out of college.”


Which great writer shares your star sign?

Most journalists look down on astrological predictions, although the smart ones will always make sure that newspaper supplements are at least getting their star sign right—when no one’s looking.

On the pioneering Korean citizen journalism website ohmynews.com, Michael Lomas does a montly astrology column which looks at the zodiac through the eyes and lives of some of the greatest writers of all time.

Take a literary look: January Astrology for Writers

Are our dirty politicians bloody celibates?

The sex lives of politicians is one of the Indian media’s best-kept secrets. We go hammer and thongs at their fiscal corruption but are stunningly quiet at their physical corruption. The ostensible reason is that we have no business poking our pesky noses into their private lives as long as it doesn’t affect their public performance (pun intended).

The result, as Danny Devito says in LA Confidential, it’s all hush-hush. Everybody knows everything, nobody wants to write about it. Chief Minister having two wives? Hush-hush. Minister blackmailing actress into bed? Hush-hush. Promiscuous legislator stricken by AIDS? Hush-hush.The maharaja’s model-orgies? Hush-hush.

But, as an essay by James Wolcott in the February issue of Vanity Fair shows, we aren’t alone. American politics and media too seem to be caught up in the same swirl, never quite able to measure up to the “spite, spicy details, vanity, revenge, bitter comedy, and bawdy excess” of British scandals.

It was bad enough when the cheesy details of President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky‘s bobble-head ministrations leered from the pages of Ken Starr‘s report, and we learned that the former intern resuscitated the commander in chief up only to the point of release, whereupon he withdrew and finished himself off in a bathroom sink, like some unhousebroken Martin Amis character. The president of the United States masturbating into a sink—it doesn’t get more plaintive than that….

I would prefer to live under a system of government where the overseers occasionally plunged into one another’s arms rather than righteously plundered the Constitution and the commonweal to feed their habit. Well, at least we can go to bed happy and content in the knowledge that somewhere out there are Fundamentalist preachers up to no filthy good. They, bless them, are keeping the sacred flame of American hypocrisy brightly lit

Read the full story here: Why are British sex scandals so much better than ours?

Goodbye five ‘W’s, Hello five ‘I’s

The era of the five Ws are over. Newspapers and their journalists can no longer rest content after blandly explaining what happened, who said what, where, when and why. They need to have the five Is: they need to be informed, intelligent, interesting, industrious, and insightful. So says Mitchell Stephens, a professor of journalism at New York University, and the author of A History of News.

Read the full story in the latest issue of Columbia Journalism Review: Beyond News