I have to admit it: It’s hard to get excited about job-hunting in journalism, not only because there are so few of them available, I just know what all the job-listing language is really saying. Plan, coordinate, assign and edit = answer to vague directives from on high, struggle to translate them to assignments that can be understood by freelancers, beat the bushes for a few writers who are both a) literate and b) willing to work for peanuts, hector them until the pieces are done, try to shape them into what you really wanted, mail out tiny checks.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Meanwhile, when I think of what I want the next chapter in my work life to be, I find myself inspired by…well, this guy, who was the subject of a Wall Street Journal A-hed story way back in the day. He’s an Ohio U. grad, a few years ahead of my time, whom I met and chatted with at one of our college-newspaper reunions. He’d been the Israeli correspondent for the Dallas Morning News and was among the very first to be downsized. So he took his considerable portfolio of skills and ended up PR guy/day manager of one of those mega strip clubs that the Sun Belt is so famous for. Now that’s a goddamn transition.
As I come to the end of my career, I want my work to encompass more experiences outside journalism, not another office staffed by the depressed and overworked. The websites I’ve been examining for jobs this morning include casinos, professional sports, and if anyone knows some URLs for what a friend describes as Big Marijuana, pass them along. (Big Marijuana is gathering on the state’s borders, I’m told. Salivating. They need someone like me.)
However, I’m 59 and realistic. But you never know.
Thanks for all your support. In the end, I think Bridge will move in a new direction, and it’s just as well I won’t be moving with it, because I’d be miserable. My plan for the next few weeks, besides updating my resume, are to restore my sleep, relax, pinch pennies, exercise every day, chip off the eight pounds that accumulated over the last year and listen to my nerves sigh, rather than gasp for air.
So, need to hit that gym yet today. On to the bloggage:
I agree with Neil Steinberg that this piece is too long, but it’s delicious just the same — Matt Taibbi on the Madness of Donald Trump. If you’ll forgive this breaking of the three-paragraph rule, a description of the Phoenix rally a few weeks ago:
The audience seems into it for a while. But it goes on too long. During the campaign, Trump was expert at keeping a hall buzzed with resentment for an hour or so. But he hits weird notes now. He goes off on a tangent about his enemies, it’s not clear which ones. “They’re elite?” he says. “I went to better schools than they did. I was a better student than they were. I live in a bigger, more beautiful apartment, and I live in the White House, too, which is really great.”
“You know what?” he goes on. “I think we’re the elites. They’re not the elites.”
No one is counting fingers, but you can tell people are having trouble making the math work. We’re elite because you have a nice apartment? Campaign Trump bragged endlessly about his wealth – “I have a Gucci store that’s worth more than Romney” was a classic line – but back then he was selling a vicarious fantasy. Trump’s Ferrari-underpants lifestyle was the silent-majority vision of how they would all live once the winning started. But candidate Trump was never dumb enough to try to tell debt-ridden, angry crowds they were already living the dream.
At one point, Trump ends up standing with a piece of paper in hand, haranguing all with transcripts of his own remarks on Charlottesville. To prove that he’s been misquoted or misunderstood, he goes through the whole story, from the beginning. It gets quiet in the hall.
It’s an agonizing parody of late-stage Lenny Bruce. The great Sixties comedian’s act degenerated into tendentious soliloquies about his legal situation (he had been charged with obscenity). Bruce too stood onstage in his last years for interminable periods, court papers in hand, quoting himself to audiences bored to insanity by the spectacle.
This, too, is another piece that’s on the long side, but it certainly captures the particular blend of soft-focus nostalgia and blindered self-delusion that is the contemporary Confederacy. The Sons of the Confederacy is there to make sure it stays that way:
We linger at the mausoleum of Jefferson Davis, whom my escort refers to as “the president.” “You probably don’t like President Trump, and to be honest I’m not too thrilled with President Obama,” he tells me. “But like it or not, they were president, and President Davis was our president.” I must look skeptical. “Aren’t you the folks who want to go around giving everyone a participation trophy?” he snaps.
The bronze effigy of Davis winks in the sunshine, a participation trophy if I’ve ever seen one. Earnest, meanwhile, has withdrawn once more into the 19th century. Not among these dead, he intones, is Davis’ son Jim Limber, a black boy freed and then adopted by Davis’ wife. “Union troops took Jim Limber away” when the first couple of the Confederacy retreated to Danville, Virginia, he says mournfully. “They didn’t think it was right to have an African child in a white family. But I tell people that we Southerners were way ahead of President Obama: We put a black in the Confederate White House.”
Finally, on Mike Pence and Obamacare, this:
As governor of Indiana, he implemented the ACA’s Medicaid expansion to great success, modifying the program to address what he perceived to be his state’s unique needs. Now Pence is championing a bill that would undo much of what he accomplished in Indiana, stripping insurance from the very people who received it under his plan. Graham-Cassidy redistributes federal funds from blue states to some red states—but not to Indiana: The bill would slash federal funding for Indiana by $7 billion between 2020 and 2027, denying health coverage to nearly 500,000 Hoosiers over the next 10 years. It is, in other words, another version of the same concept that Republicans have pushed for months: a massive cut to Medicaid under the guise of ACA repeal.
As vice president, Pence has unceasingly promoted measures that would undo his signature achievement as governor. (As of this writing, Graham-Cassidy appears to be dead, but recent history suggests the repeal effort isn’t truly over until the Sept. 30 reconciliation deadline passes.) More pointedly, he has promoted these measures using a rationale he has already himself disproved. Why? Pence obviously wants to remain loyal to his boss and the GOP agenda—but he’s also boxed in by his own past success. If the vice president told the whole truth, he’d have to admit that as governor he showed that the ACA already allows states to “innovate” with “new ideas” about health care. According to Republicans, Graham-Cassidy seeks to solve the alleged inflexibility of Obamacare toward states that want to color outside the lines. But Pence’s own record proves that this problem is simply nonexistent.
And that’s it for now. Again, thanks for all you do to buoy me up at times like this. It helps. It really does.