I was fortunate enough to be locked out of the Internets during all the Enron on 12th Street celebrations, for which I will be eternally grateful. Beforehand I did hear an inneresting tidbit from someone kvetching that the “journalism” categories have been clumped together to the point of even crazier unfairness: With media outlets committed to squeezing every penny out of overstretched hamsters, how many have the resources anymore to pay into the medal-making machinery built on entry fees?
And now we come to the sorry end. Or, as I Tweeted it, the aspen falling in the dead-tree forest. I just wish Johnny Rotten were still in the baath and could weigh in on the lightweights taking the heavyweight jobs. My consort keeps saying stuff like “I don’t want to insult you, but food is just not serious news.” And he’s mostly right. JR was so wise in only dabbling in fud while swinging from the side of the heavyweights. Plus he was never empowered with opinions. Heading into a particularly contentious election, with the country on the skids, they picked a fine time to entrust a reviewer with oversight of unbiased news coverage. But if it gives the guy, and his readers, a break from a verbal form of what did in Elvis, I’m all for it.
Maybe there is a god. While the Chimp is safely holed up with his Old Grand-Dad, Panchito his enabler is sentenced to hang with the sort who, to paraphrase a very angry man on Bleecker Street one night who had had about enough of the “Sex and the City” tours, promise: Buy me drinks and you can micturate where the sun don’t shine. Somewhere Johnny Rotten is laughing.
Gawker earned laugh of the week for noting, in its post on the auction of Johnny Rotten’s* wine collection, that his widow denied any link between his liquidity and his legendary expense account and then “winked so hard her eye fell out.” For all the fury directed at the banksters by journalists who missed the financial story of the decade, this last bellow of newspapering extravagance is a reminder of what really went wrong with the profession. Even the most influential reporter on my first big-city paper in 1976 did not have two fancy homes, let alone “a cottage in the Midlands.” And certainly it would have struck his overseers as unseemly if he palled around with the people he covered. By contrast, all the poor wage-and-stock slaves on the desk at the Times seemed proud that Betsey’s “big guy” had his own cost center. So much for “without fear or favor.”
*I’m sure I’ve told this before, but for those who need a decoder ring: He got his nickname the morning I came in to work during a political convention and mentioned I had seen Johnny Rotten was there. To which my boss responded: “Of course he is.” And then realized I was talking about the performer, not our copy editor-kicking colleague. . .