Suddenly We Find this Kanye West Fellow A Bit Difficult to Accept.

Has any major pop star, of any era, required the level of indulgence that Kanye West demands? He’s a brilliant producer, an ingenious curator, and arguably the most consequential pop star of the last decade, but liking Kanye has always meant making peace with the arrogant, petulant, sometimes infuriating character in the foreground. For a…

via Album Review: Kanye West’s ‘Ye’ — Variety

For the record, I can take or leave him, music-wise (in terms of personality and politics, I take him about as seriously now as I did when he declared that George W. Bush didn’t care about black people). His stuff is interesting but I wouldn’t be heartbroken if I never heard any again. But I am not at all surprised to see the caste that held him up now prepared to drop him. And to be fair, this review does us the courtesy of not pretending that their reception isn’t colored by politics. So that’s something.

I liked Pop Culture better when it didn’t take itself so seriously.

William Gibson’s Source Code: An Interesting Mini-Memoir

He covers all the basics in a short period of time.

This struck me:

Brian Aldiss believes that if you look at the life of any novelist, you’ll find an early traumatic break, and mine seems no exception.

Because I think everyone can examine their childhood and find moments of sublime clarity, when reality takes its mask off and murders the idyll in front of you. So I don’t know that such is restricted only to novelists. Perhaps novelists access it fastest.

This amused me:

Google me and you can learn that I do it all on a manual typewriter, something that hasn’t been true since 1985, but which makes such an easy hook for a lazy journalist that I expect to be reading it for the rest of my life.

Journalists are the laziest bastards on the planet. They find a hook, and then stuff everything else through that hook like it was a funnel. A plague on their houses.

Read the whole thing, if you’re a Gibson fan and you’ve never hit up his web site before. It has an archaic, Geocities-ish design that’s almost charming.

Harrison Ford Hates Journalists

It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that what he really wants to say is “Oh, for God’s Sakes. I did a movie. I acted. It’s coming out soon. It’s not high art, but it’s not bad. People will enjoy it. Stop trying to dredge for controversey, you numb-skulled little guttersnipe.”

I suspect that deep down, Ford does enjoy working on a movie, putting a character together. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t keep doing it. But he hates talking about it with people who don’t know anything about it and aren’t really interested beyond mining his words for a click-baiting quote.

Why Bias is Inevitable

Walter Russel Mead, in his usual long-but-worth-your-time style, explains the obvious:

 At bottom press bias is the consequence of honest efforts to report the real news by sincere and thoughtful people.

There is a lot going on in our busy world these days, and every reporter and every editor has be selective. They have to scan the vast flow of events and select a relative handful of stories that seem more important than the rest. To do this, you have to have a view of the world. In putting together the international news section, you can only run a few stories a day. Do you write about a cabinet change in Austria, a provincial election in India, a political show trial in Russia, a trade dispute at the WTO, ethnic conflict in Burma, a troubled vaccination campaign in Nigeria, a corporate merger in Italy, a lèse majesté case in Thailand, an anti-American demonstration in Pakistan, a statement on Iran from an Israeli opposition leader, the coca harvest in Bolivia, a central bank scandal in Malaysia, a budget crisis in Ukraine or a debate over the euro in Germany? And these would be just a few of the events that you might be looking at every day of the week.

How do you separate the wheat from the chaff? How do you sift out less than one tenth of one percent of all the events that happen in any given 24 hours and put them in your paper?

Unless you use the dartboard method, you have to make conscious choices about what is important and what your audience will likely want to read about. These decisions inevitably reflect your sense of where the world is headed, what the driving forces of history really are, and how important different issues and different regions in the world are to your readers.

In other words, you must exercise your bias to function as a journalist. There is simply no other way to do it—and the more information at your disposal, the greater the flow of news, the more important your bias becomes.

So the media has never been and can never be objective. Which is fine. If you consider a news item to be a product – and really, there’s no other way to look at it and be honest – then each news item reflects the people who produce it. This is not a crime against Journalism, it is human nature, as natural as breathing.

All we ask is that they own their worldviews.

Stacy McCain is Funnier Than a Chimp on Phenobarbitols

Ripping the newsblogs, and the whole profession of journalism, a new one, with the same joke.

My point is that there is nothing wrong with 21st-century journalism except (a) the continued existence of the Columbia Journalism Reviewand (b) the shortage of good, cheap mescaline. And if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. IYKWIMAITYD.

Journalists are a degree below lawyers in my book, in that I can concieve of circumstances wherein I might need the services of a lawyer.

If McCain keeps this up, I might just change my opinion of Hunter Thompson enough to read some of his crap besides the Las Vegas dope trip. Probably not The Rum Diary, however. If the movie was that bad, the book must be wretched.

At the New York Post, Kyle Smith Affirms Everything I Could Have Expected About “The Newsroom.”

I didn’t mind The West Wing. Didn’t watch it a whole lot, but I didn’t mind it. The hero was a Democratic President, who was smart, sophisticated, and occasionally gutsy. The politics were blatant, but in a show about politics, they should have been. And Sorkin usually gave the Right its State of the Union Response.

But The Newsroom? Bah. The premise stinks to high heaven: a journalist suddenly decides to Tell the Truth. And to declare said Truth in an highly impassioned, hectoring style, liberally sprinkled with I-Despair-For-America.

Later in the show, Daniels’ character is galvanized by his impassioned producer (Emily Mortimer) after an argument representing the only political positions Sorkin knows: Cynical Left and Idealistic Left. She warns (in 2010) that “there’s gonna be a huge conversation: Is government an instrument of good or is it every man for himself?” and the anchor is needed to “frame that debate,” i.e. blatantly editorialize and slant, which doesn’t really sound like the thing that will, in her words, “restore journalism as an honorable profession” since it is, in fact, the reason Americans hate journalists.

This is the same dull fantasy that permeated those stentorian proggie bores The American President and Dave: why, if some brave soul would just tell the Truth, problems would wash away and America would rise again to Greatness. Problems aren’t problems because they abound with multiple complexities: problems are problems because a conspiracy of rich white men inflame our fears, the better to  feast on our sweet, sweet tears.

And if people would just Stop Arguing and Do As We Say, everything would be fine.