Hunter S. Thompson, Miami Book Fair International, 1988 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I don’t know about you but I am addicted to politics, news and current affairs. I’m certainly not guilty about it but it is an addiction nonetheless.
For me politics and current affairs is the best game in town. There aren’t many games that are constantly in play, have so many variables to them, change all the time, have almost no rules, and in the event you don’t like the current set of rules you can either ignore them or write your own ones.
It is fun, and I certainly enjoy myself, and I certainly don’t believe it should be taken at all seriously…except to be seriously good at it.
Maria Popova has dug up some awesome Hunter S. Thompson quotes that relate to this addiction to politics, news and current affairs.
Take this one on advocacy journalism. John Campbell is one of those who practices advocacy journalism, he is good at it, he even fooled Leighton Smith the other day with his conspiracy-fest on the GCSB. The left wing love John Campbell because he sings their tune, yet they turn on anyone else and sanctimoniously point the finger if they behave in this manner though.
There are a lot of ways to practice the art of journalism, and one of them is to use your art like a hammer to destroy the right people — who are almost always your enemies, for one reason or another, and who usually deserve to be crippled, because they are wrong. This is a dangerous notion, and very few professional journalists will endorse it — calling it “vengeful” and “primitive” and “perverse” regardless of how often they might do the same thing themselves. “That kind of stuff is opinion,” they say, “and the reader is cheated if it’s not labelled as opinion.” Well, maybe so. Maybe Tom Paine cheated his readers and Mark Twain was a devious fraud with no morals at all who used journalism for his own foul ends. And maybe H. L. Mencken should have been locked up for trying to pass off his opinions on gullible readers and normal “objective journalism.” Mencken understood that politics — as used in journalism — was the art of controlling his environment, and he made no apologies for it. In my case, using what politely might be called “advocacy journalism,” I’ve used reporting as a weapon to affect political situations that bear down on my environment. Read more »