THE INFORMATION #1033
WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER TWELVE: PART FIFTY: THE EASTERN GATE OF PARADISE
Soon, almost before he knew it, it was nearly the end of Billy Tallent’s Fourth Form school year. Exams were over, and Glen Phillips and Billy Tallent were taking their ease like proper gentlemen, snugly ensconced in the senior lounge smoking room, located in the basement of their dormitory, a drafty castle named after the venerable Bede. The room itself was somewhat damp, but not entirely uncomfortable, and the lighting was dim. A spherical glass whale oil lamp, once transparent but now opaque, was in one corner, and gave off a strong odor, but also provided a light sufficient to read by. The cheerless wooden walls of the dungeon-like room had been made more homey by being plastered all over with various colorful felt school and college pennants.
“I suppose,” said Glen Phillips to Billy Batchelder Tallent, biting the end off of a cigar and lighting it, “that the reason my old man is such a sourpuss is that he’s seen too much.”
Billy lit his Meerschaum pipe, a parting gift from his mentor Lon. “You said he runs a newspaper.”
“That’s right. He is the publisher of the Noxtown Chronicker. And I told him all about you. He’d like to meet you.”
“You flatter me.”
“Not at all. He’s always on the lookout for bright young men. College-educated, if at all possible. You see, for too long newspapers have been rags. All about twisting the facts to suit the advertisers, and reporting on the doings of unimportant people who want to be seen as important. Reporters have no grounding in history. They’re little better than death-hunters. They tend to report what is false, rather than what is true, because it is less work and more convenient to do so. Oh, they’ll give you the bare facts of the case, but they never seem to wander into the perilous minefield of why and how. As a matter of fact, they’re not really very interested in the truth. With them, it’s always the story. Does it make a good story? That’s all they want to know about the matter. And the rabble who lay down their pennies for the news want blood and thunder, not dry details. Keyhole journalism, my Paterfamilias calls it. They also go in for all the human-interest stuff. Hackwork churned out by wordy wordmen who write with the sole purpose of filling the hungry news hole.
“And the middle and upper classes are no better. They want propriety, and they’ll have it at all costs. Or they’ll pretend to. But they’ll secretly lust after every last one of the sordid details, unless, of course, it’s a story about them. Then they’ll bend bloody heaven and earth to kill it. Yes, they’re very sinister-minded behind all their sanctimony, but they don’t want anybody else to know it, so you got to serve their garbage up with a heapin’ helpin’ of sugar on top.
“As for the self-styled educated classes, they profess to scorn newspapers. Instead, they read stodgy journals where the authors take fifteen single-spaced pages to make the same damn point that any halfway decent cub could make in a kicker, a nut graf, and eight column inches. But don’t kid yourself. Even these so-called intellectuals will peep at the Daily Blight to see what new fresh living hell is on display above the fold.
“Reporters are not what you would call men of sincerity. They play favorites, or they dance to the tune of their editors, who also play favorites. They are cynical about other people’s prejudices, and oblivious to their own. Pick up today’s paper and read it. Some society toff cashes in his chips, and he gets a thousand words. You can read it all right here–all about his yacht, and his grieving wife, and the fact that his fucking gun dog took the blue ribbon at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Now, go to page 51. The second to last page. Look here! Some country younker named Homer Miller who lives in some jerkwater town has bought the farm because a mule kicked him in the head. Now, he registers barely two column inches. And that’s probably because he owned a lot of land. You see what I mean? The doin’s of the rich get the society page; the doin’s of the poor show up on the police blotter, if they show up at all. Do you notice a trend? The rich are noteworthy because of how they live, and the poor only rate a bare mention when they’re stiff and cold as a mackerel.
“I’ll tell you something though. If they dressed that second story up a bit–had him done in by a hobo ax-murderer who was cutting up a trail of bloody corpses and heading for the big city–then it would be the front page news.”
“I actually know Homer Miller,” said Billy to Glen. “If it’s the same man. He’s an ornery cuss. He’d shoot any hobo who came within a country mile of his place, and it wouldn’t be with no rock salt, either.”
“Ah, but that’s not the point. Do you want to know why you can never recognize a person you happen to know who’s being talked about in the paper? Because reporters aren’t interested in the person. What they’re after is the story. Let me tell you something about editors, Mawny. They dance to the tune of the money boys–publishers. And most of these publishers are corrupt parrots who spit and chatter balderdash from their filth-encrusted perches. Their sole concern is What’s In It For Me? Your editor will tell them he’s got aholt of a hot scoop, and what the publisher will answer back is, So What’s In It For Me? If it’ll sell papers, in it goes. If it’ll offend someone important, he’ll tell the editor to bury the lead. If he even lets the story run at all. That’s why you’re not likely to read about the depredations of vile officials, or about the infamies perpetrated by the police department, or about the society doctor who provides quick abortions to the daughters of his well-heeled clientele. That’s why in all the news you read, all reformers are crackpots; all senile captains of industry are enterprising geniuses; all defenders of the status quo are true patriots, and all the frock-cloaked champions of purity and decency–which is always a code word for “kill the poor”–are puffed up in the news columns to be tinhorn saints. Nowadays, the news is just the shit they conjure up willy-nilly to fill the spaces between the advertisements. And such advertisements! Look right here: “Ho! For the New Eldorado! Millions of Acres! The Light in the East! Harper’s Patent Fly Trap!”
“I tell you, it’s enough to make a white man want to retire to a quiet corner and look for a potted plant in which to quietly evacuate the contents of his stomach!”
Whole Foods on the East Side of Providence is OK. Lots of crunchy granola types. But the one on the bottom of the hill on North Main Street is the fucking 10th Circle of Hell.
This particular Whole Foods plays all the hits of the 70s (e.g. Horse With No Name), and I have to wonder how I would feel if I were 18 years old and working in a store that was playing all the biggest hits of 1927.
Whole Foods caters to wingnuts of all stripes who wouldn’t shop anywhere else because they are convinced that ordinary food is being poisoned by Worldwide Mad Deadly Communist/Fascist Gangster Computer God Frankenstein Robots.
There is a case to be made, however, for eating only wild fish, grass-fed beef, poultry and eggs from free-range hens, and lamb. They are all superior sources of Tryptophan. (They also happen to taste better.)
SWEET SWEETBACK TRAILER
5*AVATAR OF THE ZEITGEIST
CHAINSAW AL, RIP
6* DAILY UTILITY
BAD HABITS AT WORK
THE ANDY CAPP TELEVISION SHOW
A NEW LEAF
Every Single Cognitive Bias in One Infographic
COGNITIVE BIAS CHEAT SHEET
LIST OF COGNITIVE BIASES
9* RUMOR PATROL
MARK DEVLIN, ASCENDED MASTER
BOBBY SCOTT PLAYS THE ORIGINAL MUSIC FOR A TASTE OF HONEY
11*DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIA
THE SECRET ORIGIN OF THE POPEYE AND BLUTO FEUD
For close to 90 years, Popeye and Bluto have really been fighting over a boy.
Nowhere is this more apparent than here:
The new Popeye cartoons have replaced Popeye’s pipe with an inexplicable whistle. A whistle!
Also, it’s pretty obvious to me that Dagwood and Mr. Dithers share a special, but bewildering relationship. Check out this cover blow-job:
EXECUTIVE ACTION #1
Superman goes back in time to prevent the assassination of JFK–but Lex Luthor with his Magic Bullet has other plans! Superman: “Choke” Ironic! I suppose that even I, with all my great powers, can’t change history!
12* CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE
JORDAN PETERSON VS. THE STRAW MEN