This Blog Has Stated a Nonexistent Fact!

I had written — in Brazil: “The Absolution of the Sex Senator Is a Defeat for the News Media!”  — that

Mauro Malin recently quit the Observatório, citing the nasty partisan slant he said it had acquired. I think he might have been referring to Dines, who throws a violent fit of the screaming memes here.

A reader wrote in expressing surprise at that statement.

I expressed surprise that this blog actually has readers.

(I apologize for taking so long to get back to you on that, by the way.

A rampaging boi zebu apparently knocked all NET broadband users offline yesterday in my part of town.)

I see now that Malin was announcing only that he was no longer taking part in the OI’s daily radio program.

Thank you for preventing me from continuing to believe in nonexistent facts.

I inevitably will at some point, but I really do try not to.

I was referring to Malin’s explanation of this decision, published in OI on August 16, 2007, as cited in

As I translated (draft-quality, as always, unless I have time to go back and do the work of polishing):

OI’s mission is as relevant as it ever was, if not more so. But something has changed. Tempers are high among all the actors — journalists and their sources, media critics and a certain segment of the public that takes part in the project. In same cases — I hate to say it but my conscience compels me to — we have had insane contributions to our Web site. Both from Observatório writers and from readers. If the readers and my colleagues will permit me, I would like to suggest that OI take a critical look at the spirit of guerrilla war that has infected these pages.

The OI does get some funding from the Ford Foundation.

The humanitarian face of the company that brought you the infamous caveirão.

He concludes:

Essa disputa politizada serve mais para reiterar convicções já firmadas do que para trocar opiniões e esclarecer como os meios de comunicação selecionam o que apuram e o que não apuram, como apuram, como editam. E como são lidos.

This politicized dispute serves more to reinforce set convictions than to exchange opinions and clarify how the media select what they report and do not report, how they report it, how they edit it. And how the reporting is read.

I am very sympathetic with that point of view.
First of all, just because it is just plain interesting, and professionally enriching, to learn how the other guy makes the sausage.

And secondly, because it tends to fit my  “politicians are bears” theory.

  1. Bears are noble, useful creatures in their own habitat, doing their own thing.
  2. Bears are not to mistaken for fluffy animal friends. They WILL eat you, as Werner Herzog pointed out in a recent documentary.
  3. Bears are a plague from hell when they start nosing through your garbage instead of just sticking to what they are supposed to be doing.
  4. So there are times when bears need to be tranquilized and transported back to their native habitat, where they can be their noble selves rather than a garbage-scavenging plague.

The upshot of which is: Keep bears at a safe distance and make sure to keep a close eye on them.

One of the horrors of the Bush ibn Bush era has been the concerted effort by both national political parties — neither of which I am a member of, because I happen to think that the fact that there are only two is a symptom of the sickness of American democracy — to convince us that politics is everything!

This notion is simply un-American.

Politicians should keep the roads in good repair, not waste my tax money, and otherwise just stay the hell out of my way so long as my weird little life project is not infringing on the rights of other rugged, self-reliant citizens.

I learned that from my Missouri granddaddy, and I still believe it. And I think that sentiment actually does translate, mutatis mutandis, to the tropical jungles.

Except to the extent it doesn’t.

Still, it’s worth a try.

And finally, just because I resent paying good money to be lied to, confabulated at, and have my human, all too human tendency to wallow in intellectual sloth and ignorance appealed to.

I can wallow in my own prejudices just fine, for free, thank you.

That’s what the Internet is there for!

Hence the NMM motto:

Time is money, because life is short. More signal. Less noise.

So what is Mauro up to these days?

I do not have a complete dossier on the life and works of this Brazilian journalist — and if I did, I promise you I would not use it for evil.

I am just looking for a few good writers to read regularly.
Mauro made my bookmark list for further reading just because I though his commentary on the empty, gabbling wicked wit of Diogo Mainardi was pretty much on point:

Malin, according to an online profile, is an historian who does research at Unicamp’s Laboratory on Advanced Studies in Journalism and edits “journalistic content” on the Web site of the American Chamber of Commerce of São Paulo, as well as AMCHAM-SP’s Update magazine.

(Which has a title in English why? When its readers are Lusophones?

It reminds me of that mania among Japanese teenagers for T-shirts with weird little English expressions on them that do not actually mean anything.

“High-hat me, happy camper!”

“Fat cat, your hot rod is highly juiced!”)

Both of which I will have to add to my magazine rack and have a good read of someday soon.

Maybe I should just e-mail the guy and invite him over for a beer (or guaraná champagne) at the local boteco.

I am here at the moment, after all, rather than there.

So maybe I should start actually interfacing with local colleagues.


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