I think I've mentioned at least 457,000 times that I am fourth-generation journalist. The other day, my dad told me about my grandfather's theory on journalism: Journalism is ruined as soon as the journalist is paid enough that he can no longer quit in protest.
As soon as a journalist is paid enough that his pay starts to matter -- when he or she reaches the point that they can no longer say to themselves "Fuck this, I can go sling lattes for the same pay and less aggravation." -- honest journalism is ruined, according to my Papa*.
By this standard, my benevolent employer should be commended for keeping me honest.
What the hell is up with this story? According to the story, " The Houston Astros are the first World Series team in more than a half-century with a roster that doesn't include a single black player."
Ezequiel Astacio was on the mound last night for Houston; is he not black?
If you were to hold up his picture and ask people, "What is this man's race?" I am willing to bet that at least 90 percent of people would say "black." But, apparently, he is not black. Because Houston has no black players, according to the story. Willy Taveras is also not black. Does being born in the Dominican Republic mean that Astacio and Taveras are not black? I'm assuming that the definition of "black" here means "U.S.-born individual exhibiting African features (and possibly certain cultural characteristics)." By this definition, there are almost no black people in Jamaica. Or Africa, for that matter.
I am happy to tell you, then, that after I brought this up with The Collective at the headquarters of my benevolent employer (there is no real one person to make decisions in the news department of my benevolent employer. Instead, issues are raised via an e-mail list. Anyone on the list who so desires then offers their opinion on said issue and somehow out of this discussion a decision is made) we chose to drop the story altogether.
Wow. Responsible journalism.
Don't you love it when your benevolent employer actually manages to do something right? I always want to write down these incidents of competency** on Post-It notes and keep them around for the times when we massively fuck things up: "What? We're running a story that says Bush has cancelled the 2008 election and installed himself as president for life? And our only source is an Arab blogger? Oh, sweet bejeezus. Where are my Post-It notes?"
The Butter State? The first two minutes of this film tell you all you need to know about Minnesota.
The four minutes that come after are quality pro-newspaper propaganda. To contradict my grandfather's theory, I think journalism was ruined when they stopped letting us smoke pipes at work.
My wife and I save money on carbon monoxide and radon detectors by living in an apartment that is incredibly drafty.
This is pretty cool. It suffers from one major flaw, though. Why would anyone want to feed a cat?
*Who gave up journalism to do public relations for Dow Chemical Co.
**Ooh, good name for a band: Incidents of Competency