Papa Hemingway Rebuts

Coffee With Hemingway, by Kirk Curnutt   Ever dream about a little face time with one of your favorite celebrities? Streisand, perhaps? Sinatra? Elvis? Bono? Would such a meet-up edify, or would it disappoint? I’ve never thought that I’d enjoy such an encounter with my favorite writer, but in Curnutt’s imaginative hands, the story reveals…

Unvarnished Journalism in Random Order

The Unwinding – An Inner History of The New America, by George Packer     I came by this book via a serendipitous path, and it’s proven quite a gift. Anyone who hasn’t been living underneath a rock for the past two decades understands that the U.S. – and possibly the world – is undergoing…

Selling the Obvious

    The Atlantic, May 2013   If you’re a political and cultural junkie like me, then you surely know that the media delivers its insights on those phenomena in a multi-repetitive way. This issue of The Atlantic is an example of that, but you can’t really blame them; some harried people want their news…

Romantic Truths

  Harper’s Magazine/April 2013 Once more, mag week rears its journalistic head: One thing that keeps the better magazines in business is digging into a given subject hard enough and long enough to separate spin from what’s intended, i.e., image from the deeper roots of truth. This issue of Harper’s is an example of just…

If Nonfiction Were Truth

Creative Nonfiction, Winter 2013 This is one of those issues I just couldn’t stay interested in. Still, I’m glad I made it to the back pages and a roundtable discussion between Chris Jones, Thomas Lake and Ben Montgomery, roughly on the state of journalism today. What with the urge to beat bloggers to a story,…

The End of Newsweek-ly Journalism

Newsweek hasn’t been a news weekly for a while now. In this devoted reader’s mind, it’s been a journalistic sham since Tina Brown took over and the magazine had to carry the blogger baggage of The Daily Beast. In this final edition, Brown does give credit to Christopher Dickey for carrying the journalistic ball, but…

Being Funny and Writing Funny

I read something today by a respected journalist about his early career. He wrote funny stuff, he said, but you can’t be funny yourself in journalism – you have to collect funny data and let the data be funny.