news

Dog Bites Man

There’s an old tale of a newsroom editor educating a copy boy thus:  “When a dog bites a man, that is not news, because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, that is news.”  Another, pithier version runs as follows:  “You never read about a plane that didn’t crash.”

The average reader of modern news would be stunned to realize just how rare it is that planes actually do crash, or that the world is about to end, or  even that people get killed by rogue policemen.  That last is actually quite a remarkable statistic:  The odds of someone’s (more…)

Fear and Loathing 2020: A Step Back

I’ve got upwards of 37,000 words assembled thus far and there’s an end in sight.  So far so good, right?  Time to take a quick step back from the task and survey the whole, to see if there’s any major adjustments that ought to be made before it goes too far to recover.  On any other project I might instead be looking to see if it’s worth finishing, but this one’s gone too far for that.  It’s got momentum of its own, and I wouldn’t dare try to stop; the book would devour me.

Which is a problem, because I’m thinking book, and events are going too fast (more…)

But What Can I Do?

It used to be that our exposure to the horrible things in the world was limited to the paper in the morning and Uncle Walter’s broadcast in the evening.  Now that we’ve got 24-hour news channels, though, we’re inundated.  Awful things are happening all the time and the whole universe is eager to tell us.  It’s coming from our speakers, our car radio, even social media.  There’s fear and terror and horror everywhere, and there’s no escape. (more…)

Chicago Shooting Isn’t News, Dammit

I’ve just read a CNN news story that’s miles away from objective journalism.  It’s the top-trending article, above the Tunisian bombing, above what seems to be World War Three starting in Turkey.  And it’s not even news.

So a year and more ago, Chicago cops apparently (more…)