Sometimes muck just has to be raked
Not only did I enjoy the gossip, I enjoyed the tale even more because it involved a schadenfreude thrill; that is, misfortune befell somebody I don’t like very much.
Then, as I revelled in the woe-filled scuttlebutt, I paused for thought: Is that a sin? Is it wicked to take pleasure in the fuckup of another? A fuckup that anybody with an ounce of common sense could foresee coming? Oh, don’t worry, what happened didn’t involve anybody else; everybody kept their pants on; nobody was injured; nobody fell ill. So, that being the case, I don’t think I am guilty of bad thoughts.
But, at another level, I don’t really care if it is sinful. I am sure there have been tales about transgressions of mine in years past that others took pleasure in. That’s OK. I was happy to add some spice to the vacuous and hollow lives of others. The point being, humans tend to ice to poke muck with a stick, just to see what they might find.
To the outer world, and to high school journalism classes, I always protested that I went into journalism because I wanted to follow in the footsteps of the great scribes of history like Edward R. Murrow, Ernie Pyle, HL Mencken, Ernest Hemingway, Nelly Bly, Edward Agee, and even Winston Churchill who first gained note a reporter in the South African War at the beginning of the 20th Century.
Yep, that was what I told folks, but I realized that along with such valiant quests as advocacy for the downtrodden, and assailing political knaves, I also was drawn the crud that governs the human condition.
We’re like that, we are.
In Canada, for example, there are stunning examples of valid and newsworthy matters involving such things as the hideous price of fossil fuels and how people are suffering, the Afghan War, the ineptitude of our immigration department, incompetent and cowardly judges who throw out charges against really bad people, and so on. You know, just like in any other country. But, what in this country has caught the intrigue of the public? A certain (now fired) cabinet minister and his erstwhile cavorting with a bountiful looking woman who is known to have had ties with the Hell’s Angels. That’s right, a big-titted biker broad easily trumps the state of the national economy in pubic interest.
So, from the day I first walked into a newsroom, I realized I was home. Gossip was always the order of the day, and news people know the bad stuff before the general pubic does. Sometimes we know stuff that will never be seen by the public due to libel laws, like the case of a long ago BC cabinet minister who used his government credit card to buy the services of hookers. Well, the public learned that, but they did not learn such details as what he really liked was to have the paid ladies of the evening (ahem) ‘urinate’ on him. It was felt that the public did not ‘need’ to know that. To that, I say, pshaw. I think the public has every right to see its tax dollars at work and to judge the ‘outflow’ for itself. Sorry, I couldn’t resist that last jab.
At one point in my career I thought that what I'd really like to do is work for a sleazy tabloid. You know, get right down to the vile underbelly of society. That is, after all, what really sells papers. Just ask Rupert Murdoch. However, I stayed with the mainstream. It seemed a bit more honorable.
When I left the regular day-to-day routine of newspapering in favor of freelancing, I commented to Wendy that what I would miss the most was being on the inside track and knowing things that the public might never know. Also, good gossipy tales tend, like watching Jerry Springer, to make us as individuals feel we’re nowhere near as bad as some other people.
Labels: We really are all fallen angels