I observed to a friend recently that I tend to think of publications as individuals. I've got the long, unrequited crush on that well-dressed literary hottie Esquire, I've got my fun, fiery girlfriend with BUST, a lust thing for the savvy nerd that is WIRED (can't explain it, geeks makes me hot) and my up-on-a-pedestal thing going for the brainy, outdoor genius of National Geographic. Strange then, that I should recently discover that the publication closest to my own mind is the 'staid and boring' - The Wall Street Journal.
Admittedly, I only read WSJ out of professional necessity – my company pays for the subscription. Every morning, I lay the paper out and see who has bought whom, who has fired whom and what tech trends I might find interesting and/or inevitable.
Earlier this week, I'd had a dream involving North Dakota. Bizarre, I know, but I often worry about the place. Its population is dwindling, the small farmer is struggling and I've just got a soft spot for all underdogs in general. The next morning, the WSJ calms my fears with a left column, A1, piece entitled: "Energy Boom Lifts Small-Town Hope on Northern Plains – Ethanol Plant Lures Outsiders to Tiny Washburn, N.D.; Population Skid on Hold; Remembrance of Busts Pasts." Whew. Okay, that's exactly the kind of news I needed.
Next, I prepared to screen a DVD entitled "Goodnight, We Love You" for a radio show in San Francisco, my beloved, "Movie Magazine International." The film is a documentary about Phyllis Diller's final stand up performance and I am currently reviewing it for broadcast. Before watching the film, I opened the WSJ to see a huge feature entitled "Comedy Comes Clean: In a backlash against racy and gross-out material, some comics are turning to still-biting but less salacious jokes." The article was a perfect primer for Diller's material, which is plenty salty but noticeably free of the F-bomb.
The next day, I read an intense front pager detailing the long journey of a war photographer, entitled: "A Chilling Photograph's Hidden History: Twenty-six years ago, a picture of an execution in Iran won the Pulitzer Prize. But the man who took it remained anonymous. Until now." The gripping article follows the photo's creation in 1979, its explosive trail all the way to the Prize and the final uncloaking of the photographer's identity in 2006. It is a truly phenomenal story – wish I could link ya'll to it.
So, I thoughtfully absorb all this and then go about my day – organizing my office, returning phone calls, making soup, filing papers and cleaning house. While dusting the living room, I spot a Netflix envelope and realize I have completely forgotten about my cinematic expenditure. "Damn, I better watch whatever it is," I said to the cat, "I'm paying for it!" So, later that evening, I plop down with some homemade soup to enjoy a highly disturbing documentary called: "WAR PHOTOGRAPHER."
I mean, it's just starting to get creepy. Should I be concerned that a major media outlet knows my thoughts before I do? Sigh. If only WSJ had horoscopes ….