Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Journalism is ambulance chasing, it's an important part of democracy, but it's not an art. Serial is "true crime" theater, trying to make art out of the living whether those depicted like it or not. It's the moral equivalent of photojournalism, war or trauma photography: poeticizingvoyeuristic "artistic" illustration. Serial was cheap before it was offensive—illustration before it was soft-core porn—but it became popular for the same reasons critics saw problems. Its popularity was based in prurience, and in getting away with prurience under the guise of seriousness. Without pretension, cheap is just cheap, and harmless, or even in the case of journalism important as a trade. It's possible for journalism or photojournalism to become art -as I've said before it was an old standard among journalists that the best writers were sportswriters- but that that has nothing to do with seriousness of purpose; it's the ability to recognized when it might be needed.

The affirmative form of the assumptions of the makers of Serial are in their own self-images, and it's safe to say that many critics of the show are equally as optimistic about themselves

It won a Pulitzer.
In retrospect especially, this post by Eric Rauchway, who's bemoaned "our anti-elitist day and age" [I've quoted it enough] is pretty funny.

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