Friday, May 17, 2019

The Final WORD


This is the WORDmeister stepping in with a bulletin: Shortly after midnight (is that Thursday night or Friday morning?), the WORD simply evaporated. 

I know the poor guy is tired — this year, he’s passed along 172 messages on the state of journalism in the world today since emerging from St. Mumbles Home for the Terminally Verbose last August. But I wish the bugger had stuck around for this one Final WORD before hitting the road. 

He didn’t even wait for the knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers in the padded St. Mumbles van. They found him with his suitcase, walking north in the southbound lanes of Highway 101, heading for his hammock at the sanitarium. 

With the help of the Fake President, that dangerous wingnut, and his slathering sidekicks, the 2018-2019 season of the WORD has been both the best of times, and the worst for the WORD. 24 years, he’s been doing this, and this one has got to have been the toughest. It’s hard to know whether anyone gives a damn, really, about the press and free expression and all that other dreamy stuff that used to get students’ blood pumping. 

Sure, as Ed Abbey said, “I write to entertain my friends and to exasperate our enemies.” The WORD still thinks this is as good a raison d’etre as any. Back in November, fancypants lawyer Ted Olson made an appearance, this time on the side of the good guys: “We can’t have a president acting like dictators do all over the world.” 

And remember Jimmy Kimmel in March? “You stop being terrible, we’ll stop pointing it out, OK?” Or the late, great cartoonist Tony Auth on truth; the latest NYTimes Sulzberger, pushing back against “enemy of the people,” or good old Molly Ivins and her pledge to protect free expression.

OK, so it hasn’t been all bad, this year. Friends seem to lose heart, and the enemies are gaining ground, but there will always be a WORD. For now, though, he’ll be prepping for his 25th Season from the deck at St. Mumbles. Don’t despair. He’ll be back. If you need a fix, check the summer reruns of the WORD. There are thousands there, all the way back to 2007.

Meantime, summer well, friends.
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FREE! Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email This free “service” is sent to 2,000,000 or so subscribers around the planet more or less every weekday morning during WORD season. If you have recovered from whatever illness led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. 
(Be)Friend The WORD

“I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Take That, Algorithms



“Along the way you will become absorbed in stories no mathematical formula would have selected for you. And if your flight is grounded, you will end up reading the entire paper, down to the small ads, and possibly come away with several new interests as a consequence.”  

—Luc Sante, writer, “The Daily Miracle: Finding Magic Inside the Times’s Printing Plant,” The New York Times, March 26, 2019.



Editorial Comment: Now, that’s interesting.



Fair Warning: The WORD hears the clear siren of St. Mumbles calling. That, and the salmon season opens here soon. Thus, the 2018-19 season will end Friday when the nice men with broken noses and white coats come to collect him. Brace yourselves.


PeezPix

9 Days to Kinetics 2019














FREE! Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email This free “service” is sent to 2,000,000 or so subscribers around the planet more or less every weekday morning during WORD season. If you have recovered from whatever illness led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. 
(Be)Friend The WORD

“I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Ostriches




“If there is a media lesson to be drawn from the Trump years, it is that most of the profound problems of the United States — the ingrained racism, the xenophobia, the rank sexism — have been percolating for years, unnoticed by much of the American press; it took a singularly racist, sexist, xenophobic leader to finally force the media to reckon with the stew that had long been simmering.” 

—Mark Hertsgaard and Kyle Pope, reporters, “The media are complacent while the world burns,” Columbia Journalism Review, April 30, 2019.




Editorial Comment: Where’s Paul Revere when you need him?



Fair Warning: The WORD hears the clear siren of St. Mumbles calling. That, and the salmon season opens here soon. Thus, the 2018-19 season will end Friday when the nice men with broken noses and white coats come to collect him. Brace yourselves.




PeezPix

Squirrel Point, Maine


















FREE! Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email This free “service” is sent to 2,000,000 or so subscribers around the planet more or less every weekday morning during WORD season. If you have recovered from whatever illness led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. 
(Be)Friend The WORD

“I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Write a Poppy


write, erase, rewrite,
erase again, and then,
a poppy blooms.

—Hokushi (Tachibana Genjiro) (1667-1718), Zen monk and haiku poet of the Edo Period, from “Japanese Death Poems written by Zen monks and haiku poets on the verge of death,” Yoel Hoffman, ed. 1998) (Thanks to alert WORDster and rewriter Andrew Merton)








Editorial Comment: I wrote, erased, rewrote . . . Made a dandelion. Starting over.



Fair Warning: The WORD hears the clear siren of St. Mumbles calling. That, and the salmon season opens here soon. Thus, the 2018-19 season will end Friday when the nice men with broken noses and white coats come to collect him. Brace yourselves.



PeezPix

haiku wannabe













FREE! Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email This free “service” is sent to 2,000,000 or so subscribers around the planet more or less every weekday morning during WORD season. If you have recovered from whatever illness led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. 
(Be)Friend The WORD

“I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

Monday, May 13, 2019

News-Drunk



“This country is on the verge of getting news-drunk anyway; a democracy cannot survive merely by being well informed, it must also be contemplative, and wise. We believe news should be readily available to all who seek it, but should never be imposed on any who are engaged in digging it out for themselves, or who need sleep.”

—E.B. White (1899-1985), essayist, “Talk of the Town,” The New Yorker, January 30, 1954.




Editorial Comment: When I’m news-drunk I usually need sleep, too.



Fair Warning: The WORD also needs sleep, and hears the clear siren of St. Mumbles calling. Thus, the 2018-19 season will end Friday when the nice men with broken noses and white coats come to collect him. Brace yourselves.



PeezPix

Springtime on the Pacific













FREE! Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email This free “service” is sent to 2,000,000 or so subscribers around the planet more or less every weekday morning during WORD season. If you have recovered from whatever illness led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. 
(Be)Friend The WORD

“I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

Friday, May 10, 2019

On the Precipice


“You just have to worry about your own job and the story you’re working on. Newspapers have folded, the mass media has been fractured into niches, and that’s all a reporter there can do now: write good stuff and bust their ass. 

“Anybody left in American journalism today knows they could be out tomorrow.” 

—David Yepsen, veteran political reporter, The Des Moines Register, in “Inside the Shrinking Newsroom of the Newspaper that Shapes the Primaries,” POLITICO, April 26, 2019.


Editorial Comment: The troops are dwindling.




PeezPix

Boathouse, Kennebec River, Maine













FREE! Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email This free “service” is sent to 2,000,000 or so subscribers around the planet more or less every weekday morning during WORD season. If you have recovered from whatever illness led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. 
(Be)Friend The WORD

“I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

511 Days Off


“Since their arrests 511 days ago, they have become symbols of the importance of press freedom around the world. We welcome their return.”

—Stephen Adler, editor in chief, Reuters, on the release of reporters U Wa Lone and U Kyaw Soe Oo, jailed for 511 days. They won Pulitzers last month for their reporting, “Myanmar Releases Reuters Journalists Jailed for Reporting on Rohingya Crackdown,” New York Times, May 6, 2019.



Editorial Comment: Back to work.





PeezPix

Sheepish Lion


















FREE! Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email This free “service” is sent to 2,000,000 or so subscribers around the planet more or less every weekday morning during WORD season. If you have recovered from whatever illness led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. 
(Be)Friend The WORD

“I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

Friday, May 3, 2019

Indigestible

 
“I hate television. I hate it as much as peanuts. But I can’t stop eating peanuts.” 

—Orson Welles (1915-1985), actor, director and filmmaker, 1956.












Editorial Comment: Eat your TV.




PeezPix

May 25 Salmon Opener is coming. Hope this guy has grown up big.







FREE! Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email This free “service” is sent to 2,000,000 or so subscribers around the planet more or less every weekday morning during WORD season. If you have recovered from whatever illness led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. 
(Be)Friend The WORD

“I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Failing the Climate Test

 
“[A]t a time when civilization is accelerating toward disaster, climate silence continues to reign across the bulk of the US news media. Especially on television, where most Americans still get their news, the brutal demands of ratings and money work against adequate coverage of the biggest story of our time. Many newspapers, too, are failing the climate test.” 

—Mark Hertsgaard and Kyle Pope, reporters, “The media are complacent while the world burns,” Columbia Journalism Review, April 30, 2019. Image: The remains of a neighborhood in Paradise, California.



Editorial Comment: Ain’t no ratings in climate change. Not many people left in Paradise either.






PeezPix

Echium

















FREE! Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email This free “service” is sent to 2,000,000 or so subscribers around the planet more or less every weekday morning during WORD season. If you have recovered from whatever illness led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. 
(Be)Friend The WORD

“I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Bad Fiction



“The historian made clear his distaste for the Trump administration’s embrace of ‘alternative facts’ and false narratives. 

“‘Without the facts we cannot have an honest disagreement. I applaud any president who aspires to the Nobel prize for peace, but we don’t want one in the running for the Nobel prize for fiction.’”  

—David Smith, correspondent, quoting Ron Chernow, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer of Andrew Hamilton and Ulysses S. Grant, “Trump is just one chapter of bad fiction in America's history, White House press dinner told,” The Guardian, April 28, 2019.





Editorial Comment: So history will record that this chapter has been fiction? Or just a bad dream.



PeezPix

Cup Plate














FREE! Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email This free “service” is sent to 2,000,000 or so subscribers around the planet more or less every weekday morning during WORD season. If you have recovered from whatever illness led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. 
(Be)Friend The WORD

“I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard