Monday, June 23, 2008

Nailed Again

Thank you, Pajama Guy, via Geraldo.

Classic Profile

Janet Macolm's classic New Yorker essay "The Journalist and the Murderer" begins: ""Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible."

A bit strong, but there's an important point. Journalists are out to get their story, and will often do it at the expense of the people they report on.

I thought of that when reading this in a New York Times Magazine profile of Mad Men and its creator, Matthew Weiner:

After my first day on the set, I met Weiner for dinner at L’Ermitage hotel in Beverly Hills, AMC’s base for out-of-towners. He was outside finishing a cigarette. Earlier in the day he commanded, “Don’t say I smoke!” Why not? His face changed, and he seemed about 12 years old. “My parents don’t know.” I found that appealing, though I could see him wince once he said it.

This is a good detail, the kind that spices up a piece. It's also a betrayal, but one so common in journalism that I'm not sure writer Alex Witchel even sees it as such. I'm not even sure if readers notice it either.

Do I have a bigger point? Not really. I guess you should think twice before agreeing to be the center of a big article in a magazine read by millions. At least remember your parents are bound to see it.

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Banjo said...

This helps explain the glee being expressed over the demise of newspapers. Punks, pimps and paparazzi preying on people. Or do I understate it?

....J.Michael Robertson said...

Of course, I would have done the same thing. Now if Banjo is who I think Banjo is, Banjo would have done the same, while pointing out the subject's yellow teeth and bad breath, his shambling walk and all of his facial tics.

That was the greatness of Banjo -- if he be who I think he be.