Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Horror, The Horror

Not as you might first surmise, a reference to the majestic opener to Deadringer by RJD2, although you'd do well to stop by his head.

This is more a little note about the eerie similarities between Howard Kurtz the evil genius media correspondent at the Washington Post, or WaPo, and his namesake, the evil genius at the heart of Heart of Darkness, Colonel Kurtz.

This may take some time to expain, because we will try not to write as one overly dependent on political blogs. But we've been consistently astonished by the capacity of Mr. Kurtz to send the leftist bloggers into a frenzy, as exemplified by this pleading letter from Daily Kos for the WaPo to look into Mr. Kurtz' errors.

We were going to make passing note of this, and then tack on a dreadful pun, what with us having to spend so much time writing about Transport commissioners and all that. But while mulling over the dreadful pun, several parallels between the two and the way they influence their environment became apparent. We will own that the physical similarities between the Brando Kurtz and the Kurtz Kurtz are scant, to say the least.

But let's kick this feeble anlogy around for a while, positing the mainstream media as the overseers of the squalid plantation that is contemporary media, and the bloggers as the suffering native inhabitants, brought out into the open but brutally exploited, when they are not ignored.

And at the centre of this stands Kurtz, the biggest, smartest beast on the plantation, whose word is law. Kurtz, brilliant and capricious, is the only way that the whole edifice can keep functioning. He may be hated, but he will also be missed, even by his slaves. And is there a slight hint that he has gone native?

We think that this is a reasonable approximation of the Kurtz/blogger dynamic. They do hate him, they may be exploited by him, but they crave his approval, recognise what he can achieve. Could anyone say the same about Elisabeth Bumiller?

This media criticism is a funny business - the one area where blogs have pretty much as much power as the mainstream media to throw rocks at shoddy reporting, and the blogs spend a huge amount of time whining about the lone prominent practitioner. Jack Shafer, we note, has a much easier time, if only because he doesn't have a gig on CNN.

Anyway, enough pattern recognition for one day, we have our own Kurtz. It's called the Texas transport commissioner.

Or possibly Sugarzine, which wants more articles. should we oblige, or should we take them over and put them to work mining bauxite?


Post a Comment

<< Home