Sacred Disorder | Cliff Bostock's blog – 'Finally, I came to regard as sacred the disorder of my mind' (Rimbaud)

More on Creative Loafing’s travails and the decline of journalism


The plot continues to thicken at Creative Loafing. The paper is back in bankruptcy court this week. Nothing will be decided until next week, since court proceedings will resume on Tuesday.

I’ve found the most up-to-date information on Wayne Garcia’s “Political Whore” blog on the Tampa Creative Loafing site. Former Atlanta Loafer Steve Fennessey is also following the story on the “Resurgens” blog for Atlanta Magazine.

Meanwhile, Ken Edelstein, the former Atlanta editor fired by owner Ben Eason, has started a news blog, “Atlanta Unsheltered.” It includes commentary about the bankruptcy hearing.

Meanwhile, too, Creative Loafing has redesigned its website. I urge you to compare Ken’s site to the new Creative Loafing one. CL’s homepage is almost entirely links to other publications, whereas Ken appears to be developing his own material or at least commenting on the links that he publishes.

And furthermore….

Also, check out this discussion on former Loafer Rodger Brown’s Facebook page. CB Hackworth, another former editor of CL, participates. It’s apparently inspired in part by the rumor that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution management is about to stage a third editorial pogrom, eliminating another 25 percent of the already decimated staff. Rodger remarks that the awful content might have a lot to do with the paper’s failure and cites his own experience:

I contributed a bunch of features back in the mid-90s and the editors consistently cut anything that dared presume the reader was capable of understanding the function of a comma. I still remember an editor grimacing at me while he rewrote paragraphs, saying, “Got to get it down where the cows can get at it.” It’s that low expectation of their readers (which overwhelmed them in the post-Kovach era) that seems to have sent them careening into irrelevance and oblivion.

Oddly, I had just the opposite experience at the AJC when I was under contract to the old Sunday Magazine supplement in the ’80s. For the few years I was with them, the magazine was directed by a crew from Texas Monthly and I got to write 5,000-word stories on everything from cockroaches to mannequins. But those days ended and the magazine was eventually discontinued. (Do any dailies besides the New York Times still publish Sunday mags?)

I have written a zillion columns about the triumph of (usually snarky) style over substance in newspapers and magazines. Clients in my psychology practice often tell me that my complaints about this are generational, making me feel like one of those dinosaurs who whined constantly that TV ruined print media. One client is writing a novel in a blog-like style. Another has begun work on a graphic novel that has the post-linear style of Internet browsing.

I approach psychology from an aesthetic perspective and I’m always interested in what’s being revealed or hidden at depth by the client’s choice of images and words. I must say that clients working in these newer, experimental forms always seem shocked when I reflect subtextual themes and patterns. It’s hard for me, schooled in McLuhan, not to see thought being shaped by media. This is great for psychological inquiry. I’m not so sure about its effect on art itself.

I do work with some clients through blogging with words and images. It is always shocking to see how a single blog post will reveal something, usually unintentionally, that has been effectively hidden in one-on-one meetings, sometimes for years. In this, the blog functions much like a dream or sandtray work. It’s pretty hard to deny unconscious reality when it presents itself in concrete form. (On the other hand, I did have a perpetually annoyed client deny that she was angry, even when she produced a sandtray that featured only an alligator swallowing a baby.)

So my clients argue that what I call “snark”  or see as decontextualized images are meant to evoke associations rather than form an analytical argument or narrative. To a more linear (book-trained) mind, they say, this appears superficial. To the (younger) mind that grew up with the Internet, the image IS the narrative.

As I said, I can see this from an aesthetic perspective. As an approach to journalism, I don’t think so.

UPDATE: Wayne Garcia recounts Ben Eason’s testimony yesterday.

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