Welcome to Motormanmark.com. I am a subway motorman named Mark, hence the website name. I hail from Media, Pennsylvania but have lived mostly in NYC since my days at NYU. Professionally, I’ve served as NYC Probation Officer and NYS Court Clerk, and, as activist, I organized various NYC events a few years back aimed at stopping the Sudanese genocide. I am a writer, an artist, and, most importantly, a father.
I have heard lots of publishers and reporters recently bemoaning the internet-generated changes to their industry. They say things like, “Oh, it’s a very good thing, of course,” (they all start with that,) “…but a lot of these bloggers haven’t even gone to journalism school.” Then, they talk very vaguely about “responsibility,” as if bloggers don’t care about the quality of their work and as if journalists are ever truly taken to task for their sloppiness.
Journalism is painfully irresponsible. Just consider the coverage of the invasion of Iraq as an example.
The final Clinton-Obama debate clearly exposed the decrepit state of US journalism. Tilting at Tim Russert’s windmill, little George Snuffleupagus and Charley Gibson figured, hell, with the way pop news is going, let’s just go all the way with the “gotcha” questions and forget the issues altogether. Screw dignity. Like they were going to be able to score market share for ABC’s news division the same reprobate way Jerry Springer did in the talk show industry with his asinine shenanigans.
It wasn’t until they were getting booed in their own studio that the two of them–each exhibiting that blank toddler-with-a-dirty-diaper gaze–started asking some very predictable policy questions.
Snuffy and Charlie fell flat not because US journalistic success isn’t exclusively about riveting news, but because it has to be spoon-food. Russert was the kind of guy who could ask insulting and stupid questions without conflict, because he had a frat-boy’s entertaining cheeriness you never could take very seriously.
These talents are beyond the reach of the clearly manipulative Georgie, or his sidekick, Charlie, a funeral-directorly bore.
Nowadays we have a problem. Listen to Democracy Now’s free downloads and you will see all sorts of important news we never hear about. Did you know that perhaps the most famous prosecutor of the past 50 years, Vincent Bugliosi, has a new book out indicting George Bush of “Murder?” He complains no one but Democracy Now will interview him. Had he put out a book about an assassination or a serial killer or rapist or something, he would’ve been invited on all the talk shows, coast-to-coast, but this media chooses very carefully not to offend too many too harshly.
Erring on the side of choosing not to offend is a good thing when you are running a YMCA or an electronics superstore, but it just makes no sense when you are the fourth freaking branch of a government that has the military firepower needed to kill every person on Earth several times over.
Sometimes people need to be offended.
Take for example the recent shocking news stories recounting religion-inspired murders of albinos in Tanzania, or politically-inspired gang murders against immigrants in South Africa. If a majority in a democratic state wishes a minority harm, what is to protect the minority?
Let’s say a whacko minority takes control of a country’s very spirit–as happened here in the USA during the Fox-Invasion period from 2002 to 2003–and makes the politicians believe the whackos are actually the majority. All of a sudden, you have senators and congresspersons, editors and reporters, even judges and bureaucrats racing each other to see who can get on the front line of the president’s war parade. This has a backfeeding effect as it inspires whackiness in what we euphemistically call the “undecideds,” a group of Americans who are ruddered with no convictions but perhaps a love of icons, a desire for money, and a devotion to sports.
There are times when a publisher must offend his readers and even risk losing them. People should be given Bugliosi’s critique of Bush, especially Bush voters, so that what Bush and his minions did can never be done again. When corporations control media, media becomes incapable of offending both the majority and even the perceived majority. Minorities, like Gay people, immigrants, and prisoners lose their ability to protect themselves. Our death chambers start goosing up production, walls rise along our borders, and we hand over our state constitutions to homophobic fools with scissors and paste.
So, I’m not going to be too afraid about offending people here at Motormanmark.com.
Except you, of course.
And I do mean you. I am not writing some cutesy note to my wife or my kids. I really am writing directly to you, the person who is reading this right now at your IP address.
Don’t be silly. I don’t know which IP addresses are logged on to my site, and if I did, how would I write these words, just as the page is loading? Maybe I found out your IP address ahead of time, and set my computer so to change the webpage automatically the second you logged on.
That would be scary. Some day they’ll be doing things like that, right?
The possibilities of the internet for creative mode-changing are endless. I expect I will be messing with your mind some as I tap away in the coming months, but I assure you it will be harshly edited so as not to waste your time.
You may not know how serious I am because, as Charlie Chaplin let us see, kicking the Kaiser in the seat of his pants, there is no person to whom seriousness is not a pompous and scaredy-cat ruse, and of course it is also true that there is never humor without truth at its core. Offering you a delineation between what’s serious and what’s not is a fluffing of your pillow that will give your life a sore neck. I won’t subject you to it.
I have some very important “journalism” planned, too, but a court battle over documents has been–and I assume will continue to be–delaying me. More about that later. Until then, my cogent insight should be challenging enough and, if not…
Just because this site is named Motormanmark.com, don’t expect to only see my writing. I do accept submissions of material that is of interest to the kind of people who read the kind of material being published here. I challenge you to publish your work here, and help to build an exceptional community.
Where did I put the keys?
Mark Crane, July 4, 2008