Saturday, 13 May 2017

Samuel Taylor Coleridge on Fake News


April 21st. 1832.
INTELLECTUAL REVOLUTIONS. MODERN STYLE.
There have been three silent revolutions in England: —first, when the professions fell off from the church; secondly, when literature fell off from the professions ; and, thirdly, when the press fell off from literature.
Common phrases are, as it were, so stereotyped now by conventional use, that it is really much easier to write on the ordinary politics of the day in the common newspaper style, than it is to make a good pair of shoes. An apprentice has as much to learn now to be a shoemaker as ever he had ; but an ignorant coxcomb with a competent want of honesty, may very effectively wield a pen in a newspaper office with infinitely less pains and preparation than were necessary formerly.
(from Table Talk)

Things have not improved particularly since the professionalisation of journalism in Ireland via a communications degree. Previously the better writers might have started out as office boys and brewers of tea and attenders at conflagrations to count the tenders. Gradually they came to develop their independent style and views. Now the graduates are quite progressively predictable and not worth reading or should I say not worth paying for the privilege of reading. For news I read aertel headlines being aware that any interpretation past the bare facts will be a partisan distortion.

4 comments:

john doyle said...

Aboard the Breath o'Dunoon...
"I'm Albert Loss. I'd be Albert Ross -- I have Scottish blood -- but I can't say my Rs, being also Hakka Chinese. Right?"
"Why can't other people call you Albert Ross?"
"You can, if you want. They did at school. And they called me Coleridge..."

- Jane Gardam, Old Filth, 2004

ombhurbhuva said...

Confession: Never as much as heard of Jane Gardam but will rectify that soon. But why did they call him Coleridge?

john doyle said...

"...'Albat Ross.' Right? Ancient Mariner. They like having me on board ships, sailors. Albatrosses bring them luck."

ombhurbhuva said...

Very Good Sir. If Albert Ross played in goal and wasn’t very good he would be known as the Ancient Mariner:

It is an ancient Mariner
And he stoppeth one of three.