Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"It is inexcusable for scientists to torture animals. Let them make experiments on journalists and politicians."

This quote comes from Brooke Gladstone's The Influencing Machine, illustrated by Josh Neufeld.    I know Brooke Gladstone from her radio show On The Media, so I picked  it up from the new books section at Loussac Library.  The Meet the Author section (plus the cartoon style) caused me to check it out.

Click to get it clearer

 I don't like to pry.  I like to engage people in conversation, but I'm not comfortable at all pushing for more information than someone wants to give.  I want to hear the important stuff, and certainly the complicated stuff.  The personal stuff is important when it helps explain their behavior.  I certainly don't want to make people cry!   But I wanted to read what she was thinking.   Did she have things I should know about, as a blogger? 

Being a reporter is a diagnosis?   I do have a compulsion to know why.  I like to take pictures;  it's a way of processing what I'm seeing.  The camera allows me, forces me, to focus in on parts of what's there and it blocks out the other parts.  I get to see things close up, to look at the parts I would otherwise miss when all the data in the scene bombards me.  But I'm not at all comfortable photographing people who don't want to be photographed.  

And I can relate to processing things by writing about them.  But I don't need to post them to the world.  That's an extra that blogs afford people today.  But I was just as happy writing in my private journal where no one could see. 

Well, the book isn't really about her, it's about her take on the history of media. (So, in a way you could say it's about her.)  A basic lesson is that as bad as things might look to some today, even in the US, the idea of freedom of the press has gotten a lot of bruises over the years, and reporters are usually not very popular - particularly in the eyes of those covered, but also among readers.  And often with good reason. 

I'm only partway through the book.

I'm really curious about why she chose to use the cartoon style.  Is that how she envisioned the book?  I can see that if you also do the drawings, but in this case she has an illustrator.  Did she think it would be read by people who normally wouldn't read a book on the media?  I saw at least one 'fuck' in there, so she wasn't writing this for high schools to buy.  How much did she work with Josh Neufeld on the layout? 

Still looking for the quote in the title of the post?  It's in one of the images. 

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