The Hatreds, and 7 Paragraphs for Jayson Blair
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The Hatreds: A Game
by Francis Raven
The idea behind the game is that you can tell just as much about a person by what they hate as by what they like and it's more fun. So I invented this game: Tell me what you hate (and it can't be anything trite or regular; it has to be unique but not obscure). Then explain in a humorous or a philosophical way why it is that you hate what you hate. Take my stock hatreds for example: I hate fantasy/sci-fi books and girls who like dolphins (otherwise known as dolphin girls) so much that they believe that dolphins have a higher consciousness and a better language (they might even dare to say that they have a more loving language than people do). By it's very nature this exercise should get the participant into trouble but they should not intentionally get into trouble using this exercise, it should just accidentally happen. Here are a couple of examples:
1.) Although I sometimes sell out and give into frequenting Starbucks I refuse to order a "Vente Coffee." I always say, "I'd like a big coffee," or "Can I get a large cup of coffee?" or even indicate what I want using the ordered pair "(coffee, large)." But I will never ever say "Vente Coffee." Nobody else should use these words either. They make customers look like they actually believe they are fancy enough to be in Tuscany just because they order a cup of coffee. But Starbucks clientele knows this is not the case. They know they're just regular people trying to drink a good cup of coffee.
So I say, Stop saying Vente and invoke the solidity of the middle class by staying plain and saying large.
2.) It’s been over two years since 9/11. That is, two years since security at airports was tightened. Since then people’s luggage and persons have been scrutinized for contraband which has then been confiscated. It is true that much of what is contraband now was not before 9/11 and thus this conversation began: Whenever anyone flew anywhere they would describe what items security too from them, what items security overlooked, and how long the process took. And this conversation was fine, even good, for people were discussing a new cultural phenomenon. The problem is that people are still having this conversation. Whenever anyone flies they still recount how their knives and fingernail clippers were taken from them and if they weren't impounded the passenger will talk about how inconsistent and shoddy airport security really is. But it's old news, it's a boring conversation, people need to stop engaging in it.
(Actually, I think I screwed up. The second one counts: a hatred of people talking about what was confiscated at the airport. But the first example doesn't really fit. You would have to say the hatred so complicated. Like, "I hate when people say Vente coffee, but I hate it when I do it too, but I don't hate the people who do it, I just think they've been duped by a multinational corporation." It just wouldn't work.)
7 Paragraphs for Jayson Blair
by Jeff Bacon and Francis Raven
1.) Blair threw his marginalized voice and was thus able to accept the voices of others without ever gathering them in his choice for selfhood. His poetic relationship with the truth was only aided by drug induced synaethesia (with respect to the literal and the metaphoric). Of course, his story appears to reflect shame on the New York Times, but actually solidifies its position as the Premier Truth Organ (PTO). The Blair scandal was a deathblow to the postmodernist’s stories of truth that still daring to rear their heads after "the tragedy of 9-11." Thus, Jayson Blair was but a pawn in his further marginalization.
2.) Some terminology with which to discuss the Blair Affair: "Diminutive ubermensch," "The Pendulum of Psychosexual Tension," "plasticity of absence," "discourse longitude," "fake black mentor,” “unstated implications of veracity,” “trivial bastardization," "derelict staging-ground," "disciplines of deception," and "Rising Star Result (RSR)."
3.) The levers of racism and affirmative action smashed Jayson's head such that he was forced to spit out article after article of lies and contradiction. As they say, you become what almost kills you. Using and abusing marginalized-differentiated power to abort criticism concerning said marginalized persons is now prevalent at all levels of American culture. The questions remain: Which was the supplement? Was it determinations of race or determinations of journalism? Which card is conveniently being pulled on whose watch?
4.) We have heard so much about the idyllic meeting of reporters and editors whose silence pointed to the moose out the window. Raines, of course, replaced the clichéd "pink elephant" with a "moose," which was, as we have recently learned, Jayson Blair wearing a brown-antlered suit and showing the world his prowess at eavesdropping. But this affirmative action, angled at our metaphors for pregnant silences, reversed itself into the most pregnant silence of all, the "trojan moose," the right-wing plant. The precipice is often too weak for such a moose. But in the suburbs of our capitol, our stuffed hero, Blair, faces Chief Moose in a duel for the savage book-deal. (All readers by now know that Blair successfully pinched the dust jacket.)
5.) The camera must shine on Gerald Boyd. It has to call him a mentor. The commentator even has to use that word. But the fact that the black managing editor no longer has to be a mentor to the young black reporter is truly a sign of progress. The son fabricates stories for the father to later inspect (in a museum controlled setting) for fraud and even shine a flickering flashlight on the waste of the imagination. We all wish to believe that the lost compass is not broken, but sometimes it appears like fodder that will grow in the eyes of such a searching editor. While the collective pen Raines controlled was stuck not winning Pulitzers on the fourth hole of liberal guilt at the Augusta National Golf Club, his beloved, even compassionate, "Portraits of Grief" were rapidly being transformed into "Portraits of Guilt." In the last scene of the movie the protagonist always exits the building with his straw hat in hand signifying his return to farming and a humbler way of life. Whenever I set my eyes on these frames I shed a little tear for I know that it means the conservative army (paleocon and neocon alike) has infiltrated my spirited homeland.
6.) The shadow of the maker on the reporter of creation (the annotator) creates both jealousy and pity in said journalist, which is why we have the Clark Kent/Superman complex. The road to deception begins with one small step smearing sand with one's foot. This is but one more skirmish between the literal and the metaphoric; one more boozy debate in the seemingly never-ending quarrel between philosophy and poetry. To ask either side for a ceasefire would be to deny human nature entirely. The confabulator tells his story with a complicit (fake ironic) listener in mind, someone the liar believes was too weak or dumb to do what he did. And if the liar calls a man honest, can that same man still be honest? His hands change color. He once walked on the Land but now sinks in the sea, or almost sinks while writing a lot of emails never directly giving support but sometimes (maybe sometimes) insinuating progress.
7.) For now we must attempt to begin the healing process: Blair should lose a drinking contest with Christopher Hitchens. Everybody now, grab your Polish girlfriend and do the Obscurantist Forced Apology. Or perhaps you should try Media Saturation as self-medication. But as you go home tonight, I want you to remember just one thing: We are all outsider artists, every last one of us.
Francis Raven and Jeff Bacon play The Hatreds with Jayson Blair, who drinks coffee from a Grande cup.