Monday, September 04, 2006

Hot Journalist Gossip from Burning Man.

Jane Stillwater's Web Log:

Jane Stillwater went to Burning Man. Clearly, I should too.

" Much to my surprise, at the world's most jankity Media Center this side of Lebanon, I met one of the world's most renowned journalists. And what are top journalists if not sources of magnified hot gossip? This guy knew ALL of the juicy tidbits. And was actually willing to spill....

Before talking with him last night, I had NO idea how many prominent Republicans were gay -- but not the gay-marriage type of gay. "I'm talking about the closet types who have orgies in the White House and then denounce homosexuality on the floor of Congress the very next day." Oh. Those kind.

So. Who was Jeff Gannon actually sleeping with? "My bet is Scott McClellan." Not Tony Blair?

I love hot gossip and this guy named names. "Jane, all that stuff that Dick Cheney said at the VFW convention in Reno about the NSA only wire-tapping foreign-originating phone conversations is a complete lie. He taps the phones of every journalist in America. I know for a fact that I've got a tap on my phone." Gee. I wonder if my phone is tapped too. That would definitely promote me to being a "real" journalist and not just a Molly Ivins wannabe!

Then I talked with another representative of the press as we went on a wonderful after-dark media tour of the Art Projects of Burning Man. They drove us around in a gigantic three-story bus tricked out to be a fire-breathing dragon and escorted by eight glow-in-the-dark Samurai. It was awesome.

"There's a blog run by U.S. soldiers in Iraq that has adopted me as their current object of scorn," I told this journalist, who had just gotten back from Iraq. "Here's my question -- this blog is one of the most up-scale efforts I've ever seen. Graphics to die for. Fabulous writing. Oxford dictionary-style grammar and spelling. Comment forms that actually work. How can they pull all that together if they are stuck out there in Iraq?"

"They can't. Soldiers stationed in Iraq ARE NOT ALLOWED TO HAVE BLOGS. In many cases, they aren't even allowed to get e-mail. It sounds like this blog is a psy-ops operation." Journalists know everything!"

That last tidbit is worth following up. It makes a great deal of sense to me, and probably explains a lot of what I've noticed about "from the front" blogs of late. They don't seem like they are written by armed, scared kids who are mostly worried about individual concerns of individual soldiers, like mail from home, jock itch, GI cuisine, bitching about officers, bitching about intel, bitching about the intelligence of intelligence officers, bitching about broken equipment, bragging about "field expedients" and most important of all, getting laid in a place where getting laid can get you killed and other concerns of 20-somethings. Instead, they talk about "The War on Terror."

As freakin' if. People in full contact with reality do NOT sound like Pentagon information officers - whatever their opinions. Period.

When I read the writings of a soldier - from ANY war in US history - and the terms SNAFU or FUBAR do not appear - I am suspicious of it's authenticity. There is a long tradition of sanitizing the opinions and behaviors of soldiers for Home Front consumption and of course there is a realistic point to that.

But they ain't no plaster saints, and trust me, they are not especially concerned with the socio-political implications of what they are doing. Those that are thinking men realizes that in fact, THEY are the socio-political manifestation of the fuckups of civilian leadership.

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