Blog Thyself

November 15, 2009

“The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is that you really want to say.”
Mark Twain’s Notebook, 1902-1903

Writing in this modern age is still the same as in Twain’s day, only quicker and with a lot more adjectives, a word-group the Huck-n-Tom author found abhorrent.
However, we much-so live in an multi-adjective world (notice the much-used hyphen modifiers) as the data and information availability defies the imagination — the red links in this post testifies, but whether any kind of truth is at those links so poses the real question.

Truth is in the eye of the reader and should be in the mind of the writer — even authentic, good fiction is just truth self-created.

(Illustration found here).

Nowadays, writing takes two forms — no longer just the piece of paper/book held in one’s hand, but there’s also a virtual version, found only online.
And having now performed in newspapers and online, the latter is the more personal, especially since no financial compensation is part of the literary mix and no deadlines other than the inherent, obsessive desire to write and have at least one dumb-ass read it, but sadly, has no newsroom — blogging is most likely the equivalent of a professional diary in the form of journalism practiced under the auspices of some-type literature.
Of course, I speak of real writing/journalism/literature — anyone can get a blog, currently there must be a hundred-quadrillion blogs with even a blog for bloggers — but there’s a fairly-insufficient, short-list (how about that for adjective-hyphenated modifiers) of readable blogs where there’s decent writing and good journalism.
If one seeks current events in a somewhat fervent way, there’s only about a dozen blogs or so to be visited on a daily basis and maybe twice that number on a semi-regular basis — I tend to favor those sites with an emphasis on reality, which are few in number.
The MSM has to be verified and most of the time, that’s found strictly online (one extremely-glaring example is the New York Times Pentagon pundit story, on which the MSM’s TV side performed a near-complete black-out).

Blogging is what I do — and it fits.
According to that most-massive of information sites, Wikipedia: Blogging is not a full-time job for most bloggers, nor is it their main source of income. A blogger can also be a doctor, a mechanic, a lawyer or a musician, and thus bloggers typically maintain a variety of professions for which the act of blogging is their communicative outlet with the public.
My “full-time job” in this so-called “variety of professions” is with a northern California liquor store and currently I’m in a kind of the OJTing manager — our long-time manager suffered a stroke and I was tapped to take her job.
She’s doing fine and recuperating well, but not coming back.
Hence not many blog posts the past two weeks — way-too tired to do much more than surf the major news sites.
And, of course, since there’s not many visitors here, not a great crowd has been disappointed when they arrive at Compatible Creatures and it’s the same old shit.
But what the heck?
I’m a freakin’ blogger!
From Andrew Sullivan in a September 2004 piece in  Time magazine:

The critics of blogs cite their lack of professionalism. Piffle. The dirty little secret of journalism is that it isn’t really a profession. It’s a craft. All you need is a telephone and a conscience, and you’re all set. You get better at it merely by doing it — which is why fancy journalism schools are, to my mind, such a waste of time.

Indeed.
Although a graduate of the fairly-prestigious University of Florida’s J-school (In 1974, supposedly listed second behind number-one Columbia), I OJTed my first journalism job as police reporter — J-school didn’t really teach real-life and the only thing I got from UF was the sheepskin.
One doesn’t really need a telephone to be a good journalist (either print or online), but you sure-as-shit require “a conscience.”

Journalism movies are rare, and those portraying a conscience, rarer still — at least one, Shattered Glass, displayed none at all.

And just last night, I watched a DVD version of the newest, State of Play, a real-enjoyable twisting thriller set in a big-time MSM newsroom with a kind of subtext of new media vs old — and in this case ending happily, the veteran print journalist leaving a late-night, on-deadline newsroom nearly hand-in-hand with the newbie blogger.
Damn-good film, fun to watch and kind of neat to see a reporter as a character in what is way-more an action movie, or shoot-‘em-up whodunit then the rigid journalism-first kind of flick, such as, All the President’s Men, or Good Night, and Good Luck.
Read a review of “State of Play” from HuffPost if you wish.

Pen guy and blogger gal: Russell Crowe and Rachel McAdams

Print guy and blogger gal: Russell Crowe and Rachel McAdams

One disappointment in “State of Play” was lack of any kind of detail in the actual professional working-together of blogger and print journalist — a most-valid point if the newspaper is to survive into the Internet age.
McAdams’ blogger character seems more on site just as a tag-along to Crowe’s version of ace newspaper reporter — spunky for the newsroom — and in a near-final sequence, allows the blogger to click “send” on the big story.
Yippe do da!
The movie also seems to view blogs (and supposedly the Internet at large) as more for trash, tabloid-fueled gossip then any serious presentation of current events — wrong!
The conscience of “State of Play” is that newspaper guys, print journalists, want the last thread in the needlework of a story to be all laid bare — the end is worth what it took to get there.

And what would Mark Twain say about all this media?
He’d most-likely have viewed it as weird, but inevitable.
From 1880’s A Telephonic Conversation:

Then followed that queerest of all the queer things in this world, — a conversation with only one end to it. You hear questions asked; you don’t hear the answer.
You hear invitations given; you hear no thanks in return.
You have listening pauses of dead silence, followed by apparently irrelevant and unjustifiable exclamations of glad surprise, or sorrow, or dismay.
You can’t make head or tail of the talk, because you never hear anything that the person at the other end of the wire says.

Extra! Extra!
Now everyone is the other end of the wire.

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