Paid for Ideas

There’s a lesson here about the history or future of journalism, I just can’t figure out quite what that lesson is.

First, a story: how a man with no writing samples landed a job The New York World in 1924 as the guy who just sits around “thinking up articles, ideas”:

I said I knew articles didn’t grow on trees. Surely it was practically a full-time job, thinking up articles for a newspaper. I went on like this, with Lippmann staring at me while I tried to talk myself into a job. I knew I was getting somewhere in a direction altogether different, that he was listening to what I had to say, and though disregarding it, he was meditating. I thought, What the hell is with this guy? He interrupted to ask if I had any specimens of my writing. Writing, I thought, what has writing got to do with it? I was still talking about thinking up articles. Later, when we got to be easy friends, I asked him about this first interview and he said, I began to realize as I listened to you talk, that none of your infinitives were split, all of your pronouns were correct, and that none of your participles dangled.

Evidence: the power of grammar.

The only thing I’d add to this is that split infinitives aren’t something you need to be worried over.



Recent Posts




Criticism Isn't Free


CR is dedicated to thoughtful, in-depth criticism without regard to what's commercially appealing. It takes tens of hours each month to provide this. Please help make this sort of writing sustainable, either with a subscription or a one-time donation. Thank you!

You could also purchase one of my acclaimed ebooks.





Got Something To Say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

THE SURRENDER

The Surrender is Veronica Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning how she embraced her true gender.


LADY CHATTERLEY'S BROTHER

Two long essays of 10,000 words each on sex in—and out of—literature . . .

The first essay dives in to Nicholson Baker’s “sex trilogy,” explaining just what Baker is up to here and why these books ultimately fail to be as sexy as Baker might wish.

From there the book moves on to the second essay, which explains just why Spaniard Javier Marías does right what Baker does wrong . . .


THE LATIN AMERICAN MIXTAPE

5 essays. 2 interviews.

All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

Shop though these links = Support this site

Copyright © 2018. Powered by WordPress & Romangie Theme.