Journalism students, here’s the thing…
I went to Journalism School (Big J, Big S to get the best BJ from the best school) because I thought I had something to say and an interesting way to say it. That was in 1979, back when the University of Missouri-Columbia’s School of Journalism was, well, SOMETHING. Turns out it really wasn’t. Whatever natural, innate, and honest talent I had was homogenized and bent into what was quickly becoming a cookbook recipe for liberal claptrap masquerading as journalism. I did, however, have the good fortune to see the dying breaths of some major professional and professorial talent (old school war reporters and big city news scrappers who literally (yeah, literally, as in the literal sense) FOUGHT to get a good story and who would just as soon throat-punch an editor before changing a word). These stalwarts didn’t just lose their legacy. They had it stolen from them by cowards and charlatans who promised honesty and transparency and change and hope and more, well, more MORE. By then, the Journalism School was being invaded on all fronts, all departments, all Deans, all wanting a little of that Mizzou J-School Majik. Happily, the Vet School demurred.
What the rest got was what they gave, a big steamin’ pile of dick. Less than nothing. Aside from a few notable works (classmate Bryan Burrough’s “Barbarians At the Gate” and the odd this and that), the product has been, well, suboptimal. That’s a long pause between drinks. Lately, the old Alma Mater has been in the news for distinguishing itself as the Global Center for Righteous Misbehavior. Poor Walter Williams isn’t just turning in his grave, he’s gone damn centrifugal.
Regardless, Fortune dictated that I went a different direction. A series of incidences led to series of consequences that pushed me on another path. That journey is over. Now, I’d like to revisit the path not taken. I still have a lot to say, but, apologetically, it’s probably mostly derisive and not all together civil. Whatever writing skills I had have waned, I’m far more cynical, far less optimistic, and my tolerance for accepting “new journalism” has been cut beyond the quick. I don’t presume to assume that what I have to say is either insightful or enlightening. So read, or don’t.
I do relish the opportunity to spar though — nothing grabs the attention more than a crisp jab to the nose.
Until the next time, let me me leave you with the words of my great-grandfather, whom I favor. When asked, in 4th grade in the 1913 school year, what he wanted to be, he responded thusly, “I want to be intrepid and adroit.”
To intrepidity. And the adroitness that must surely follow.