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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Moral Masochism

posted by on July 12 at 17:02 PM

The other day, a friend gave me a copy of The Journalist and the Murderer by Janet Malcom which, I’m ashamed to admit, I hadn’t read before. “Read the first sentence,” he said, “and tell me you don’t want to keep reading.”

The first sentence goes like this:

Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible.

It gave me a warm, wistful feeling, the exact same feeling I got this first time I read this passage in Didion’s introduction to Slouching Towards Bethlehem:

My only advantage as a reporter is that I am so physically small, so temperamentally unobtrusive, and so neurotically inarticulate that people tend to forget that my presence runs counter to their best interests. And it always does. That is one last thing to remember: writers are always selling somebody out.

I don’t know why, but those sad condemnations give me pleasure, scratch some deep itch—the kind of itch masochists must feel when they think about corporal punishment.

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Janet Malcolm would HATE Savage.

That said, Didion was a child molester who spent years in Sri Lanka just to scratch the itch. The guy is an asshole. I am eagerly awaiting Savage to rush out and post an in depth, word for word, transcript of Didion's tales of perversion with small children. It makes for compelling reading.

Posted by ecce homo | July 12, 2007 5:53 PM

I am a journalist, I write to you to show you, I am an incurable, and nothin' else behaves like meeeee

GBV, baby.

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 12, 2007 6:32 PM

Joan Didion is a woman, you moron.

Posted by Nat | July 12, 2007 7:26 PM


Liar, go back to journalism school.

Posted by ecce homo | July 12, 2007 7:41 PM

@4 Nat is correct, JOAN Didion is a woman. She just wrote a book about HER husband dying.

Posted by RedGrapes | July 12, 2007 9:06 PM

Yes, Nat is definately correct, and her newest book, The Year of Magical Thinking was wonderful.

just curious... where did you come up with that bullshit about child molestation? or was it a joke?

Posted by citrus | July 12, 2007 10:56 PM

Didion is indeed a man. Just cause she presents himself as a woman, doesn't mean dick.

Readers of the Stranger and SLOG should have a more enlightened view of the vaguries of "Gender".

Posted by ecce homo | July 12, 2007 11:19 PM

Ecce: You're an idiot.

Posted by JessB | July 13, 2007 6:44 AM

Janet Malcolm would hate Savage? You do realize that this post was written by Brendan Kiley, right? Or are you really that stupid?

Posted by keshmeshi | July 13, 2007 11:31 AM

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