If I could turn back the hands of time, as Tyrone Davis sang, there isn’t a whole lot I’d change. A few boyfriends would remain strangers, I would have paid closer attention in high school Russian class, I would have taken more chances. But for someone whose big mouth has gotten her into so much trouble, I don’t regret all that much. The remarks that were hurtful, yes. The ones that gave voice to a truth everyone in the room was thinking but which were impolitic to give voice to, not really. Every step on that road took me to this spot on the road, or not exactly on the road, more like off in the ditch, spinning my wheels, shrieking to passing traffic, “Sure! That road seems like the one you should take! But beware! Beware!” — I don’t mind this spot too too much. All part of the journey, etc. Soon the tow truck will arrive, or maybe it won’t, maybe I’ll start walking, and…
OK. Abandon metaphor.
My point: If I had it to do over again I wouldn’t have chosen journalism. Time Inc. laid off nearly 300 people yesterday, eliminated three bureaus. Yes, yes, the next Britney Spears story in People may not have five reporters, what a tragedy, etc. I don’t want to sound any big themes about journalism here; in a lot of ways we made our bed and now we’re lying in it, only it turns out it’s no longer a bed but just this sort of narrow cot, and people keep falling out, and…
What particularly cheeses me is the timing. Speaking out of pure selfishness, this could not come at a worse time. For me, anyway. Too young for retirement, too old to make a graceful sidestep into another field, it seems that those of us who were drawn to journalism by its two great movements of recent memory — New Journalism and Woodstein-style investigation — are now in the worst possible position. Tough times may make tough people, but they also shred a few in the bargain. Again, speaking selfishly, those 289 jobs eliminated yesterday represent 289 lives turned upside down, and not all will be righted. Yes, it happens in every industry. No, I’m not asking for sympathy. I’m just taking note.
Pout, pout, pout.
I remember, many years ago, my newspaper sent a couple of reporters to some training sponsored by our parent company, Knight Ridder. They came back with their heads spinning; some Free Press people were at the same session, bitching about their latest degradation — the paper would not employ stenographers to transcribe taped interviews. How were they supposed to do their jobs, etc. I feel like Scarlett O’Hara, starved to a ravenous husk, remembering the antebellum tables groaning with food as she’s puking up that radish in the Twelve Oaks garden.
As God as my witness, I’ll never…well, I’d better get to work.
But first! Bloggage! Because that’s why you come here, right? A few snarky remarks, a report on how we’re doing in the D, maybe a dinner menu, and then some tasty linkage, after which we turn the floor show over to the commenters. See? We evolved a new form of journalism, justlikethat. Let’s make it pay for the proprietress, and we’ll all be happy. I will, anyway.
Salon reports on the latest alt-foods craze — raw milk. One of my college boyfriends rented a place in the country for a while, next door to a dairy farm, where he bought gallons of raw milk for something like a buck or two. I mentioned this in passing to my mother, who nearly leapt from her chair in alarm, then commenced telling a hair-raising tale about a girl she knew who got undulant fever (medical name: brucellosis, for you Zevon fans) from drinking unpasteurized milk. She made me promise never to touch the stuff, and I did. It was an easy promise to make, as what little I’d had so far was sort of like drinking liquified butter. In the Salon story, people say raw milk keeps them away from sweets. I’ll say — liquified butter will do that.
It made good coffee cream, I’ll allow. Still: Thank God for Louis Pasteur.
With a 10-year-old in the house, “American Idol” is simply an element that we must live with, and the lack thereof would make life impossible, kind of like oxygen. Eric Zorn tried to put up his dukes against the juggernaut of humiliation that is the early episodes, but on this, I’m more with Jody Rosen at the Slate AI blog, who points out “you couldn’t help but suspect that most of the ‘bad’ singers were actually savvy performance artists, angling for a few minutes of airtime.” Yup. And there were teachable moments, just the same; Alan told Kate the moral of this story is, “Always wear a bra.” How true that is.
Do you hate Pachelbel’s Canon in D? Rob Paravonian does.
UPDATE: And while I was feeling sorry for myself a little while ago, I forgot to thank my lucky stars that while I may not work for the New York Times, that also means I’ll never have to write a story like this:
For some people, the most elusive aspect of owning a vacation home that sits beyond big-city borders isn’t finding the time to enjoy it. It’s finding someone to service the deluxe appliances inside.
“We called Viking over the holidays every year,�? Rosemary Devlin said of her half-decade-long (and mostly futile) efforts to schedule manufacturer service for her mutinous dishwasher. The appliance was installed along with a suite of Viking cousins when Ms. Devlin and her husband, Fay, whose main house is about 20 miles north of Manhattan in Irvington, N.Y., built their six-bedroom ski house on Okemo Mountain in Ludlow, Vt.
I mean: Whew.