February 2, 2009
Cut the Crap, Guys
Howard Weaver brings it:
People who wish some billionaire would endow newsrooms so they don’t have to change — you know who you are — have the musty smell of the mausoleum all about them. They move through twilight, walking stiffly toward a setting sun. They will find no pot of gold there.
Yet the digitalistas who suggest those newsrooms can be readily duplicated or replaced act like willful children, unmindful that substance, craft and capacity matter in the real world, that no group of 10,000 monkeys has ever written Shakespeare, that 98 of the 100 most important pieces of public service journalism last year flowed from professionals in the newsrooms they recklessly disregard.
This is a fool’s game. It’s time for grown-ups to intervene, to end the debate and move beyond the empty calories of nostalgia and the masturbatory fantasies of a theory-based future. A long-deceased, much missed colleague often referred to people with mature judgment and a steady hand by saying, “She knows where babies come from.” Those are the folks we need on the case now.
Really, what else is there to say? Howard’s style here reminds me of Ezra Pound at his caustic, humanistic best. And yes, that’s a compliment.