Posted by: RC | August 3, 2010

In depth (get deeper)

I began as a doe-eyed journalist — and Miriam’s post got me thinking of all the reasons I left journalism. I was drawn to it initially because I love writing and interviewing people is incredible. It is a sport for literary voyeurs — meaning producers of words who like watching humanity — for better or worse.

I idolized Hunter S. Thompson. Initially the way you look up to the guy who can do the longest keg stand at a party — but for real reasons as well. He gave a full picture of an event, wrote nonfiction prose and proved that journalism is more than just reporting. His first gonzo piece about the Kentucky Derby (decadent and depraved) is about Thompson and his illustrator entirely fucking up their assignment, in a way completely enabled by the Kentucky Derby.

In journalism school I didn’t have the patience to be objective when it did not matter. I had to pick up terrible assignments and human interest stories — the lowest point being the opening of a new American Girl Doll Store — wouldn’t you know I was the only 20-year-old male their, and most of the father’s unwillingly at the event were looking at me sideways.

Hell — if I was a father dragged by my daughter to an American Girl Doll Store, I would look sideways at all the single adult males in attendance too. Worse — the more acutely aware of this, the sweatier I got. I had the opportunity of working with perverts during the worst rotation I have ever done, and I’ll tell you — they are sweaty. Confirmed. And even sweatier than a pervert is an uncomfortable pseudo-pervert.

Enough was enough. I abandoned journalism based on principle — it didn’t help that every professor over 50 continually reminded me that print journalism was dying a rapid and unseemly death. And in medicine every day I get to ask the tough questions, and I don’t have to be objective at all.

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