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Culture Shock and Career Musings


I spend a significant portion of every week reading articles via feed from The New Republic, The Atlantic, and others. I "know from" good writing, you might say. So there was quite the cognitive shift yesterday when I settled in for a lengthy wait at the doctor's office and had to choose some reading material.

I had my Web-capable cell phone with me, but that particular office gets little to no reception, so I had to turn to the magazine rack in the corner. After thumbing through the January issue of Money, my next field of choices was a very narrow one. It consisted of two issues of, well, let's just call it The Glob.
If TNR is written for an 11th-grade reading level, and Money aims for more like 7th or 8th grade, then The Glob appeals toward approximately 4th or 5th grade. Small words, short paragraphs, lots of pictures. Lots of schoolyard judgments, too. Adjectives galore, with very little to support them. 

It was nice to hear my name called so I could abandon my perusal and save a few brain cells. Nice to get home and say hi to Marty Peretz and Conor Friedorsdorf again.

But it did cross my mind:  I could write like that if I wanted to.  I mean, on Facebook, I share giggles with friends about the feasibility of banishing Rush Limbaugh to an imaginary land called Douchebagistan. That's juvenile enough; all I need to do is set my sights lower and aim them at innocent celebrities. I can indict Paula Deen for eating a cheeseburger in public just as well as anyone else can. I have credentials, too -- my late grandmother taught me everything I need to know about watching soap operas and labeling the characters and the actors who portrayed them in broad, black-and-white terms.  "He's up to no good -- you can just see it in his face," she'd announce. Or "That sow! She needs to get run over by a bus, before she can ruin Jennifer's life.  Poor little Jennifer!"  Maybe that's where that fuzzy nostalgic feeling came from yesterday -- reading The Glob made me feel like I was communing with Grandma. 

I know people who write for tabloids make decent money. I could do that sort of thing freelance, in my spare time. In my sleep.  All I'd have to do is rent out a storage unit and lock away my self-respect for awhile...


You could ... but please don't. I would rather read your well-written analyses of reading material in waiting rooms.
Kay Dennison said…
LOL I understand and identify completely!!!

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