Tuesday, May 15, 2012

So, this weekend the worm turned and now it's time for the world to rise up in arms against David Sedaris. If by arms we mean "strongly worded media insider blog posts and tweets" and by world we mean "obsessive guardians of media orthodoxy with time on their hands now that the Lena Dunham thing is in remission". 

Even the WaPo article that set off this "firestorm" has a hard time finding anyone who gives a shit about this, and you know Eric Farhi was calling far and wide to get the incensed comments needed to start this fire. Okay, maybe "incensed" was never going to happen—for an argument like this apparently all you need is media's new horrified buzzword: BLURRY LINES. 

BLURRY LINES is the new watchword, presumably because in a more perfect world none of our lines would ever be blurry, and that would solve the deep, entrenched problems in our media.

Except it doesn't. If people actually gave a sincere shit about BLURRY LINES, we'd be talking about FOX News. But media pundits get tired of talking about FOX News because it never goes anywhere, because FOX News is a massive corporation who frankly doesn't give a shit about these pundits, and ignores them. And humans hate being ignored.

So instead of doing the hard work of chipping away at real media injustices, it's easier to find an individual, who are always less armored than corporations are, and shit on them, because then you can make your points and pretend that you moved the needle. And the left has never tired of policing its own—a pattern we see again and again, as I write these words in a cellar bar in Prague—so why not see if we can get Sedaris fact-checked?

First, no-one is upset with Mr. Sedaris' work. NO ONE. No one is listening to SANTALAND DIARIES and then saying to themselves, "I am now informed about the true nature of Macy's elf policies from the early nineties, which is good as I am writing a PhD thesis on that very subject." No one is calling NPR complaining that they were terribly tricked by Mr. Sedaris' feelings about the pleasures of smoking, or cutlery, or whatever the fuck it is that David is talking about. No one cares what is factually accurate in the details of what his aunt said to him in his childhood, except maybe his family members, and they should be fucking used to it by now.

Second, this is about me, not David Sedaris. It's about what I did on TAL, and how everyone, including me, agrees it was unethical. We've had an entire hour of TAL dedicated to retracting that episode, and then hundreds of articles across the world wherein every last person who writes for a newspaper agreed that my actions violated journalistic trust. I've been open with the media and spoken publicly repeatedly about my actions, and I've apologized fully and completely for those whose trust I've breached. I haven't vanished, I'm right here, and I'm accountable for the decisions I have made.

You want to talk about that some more, fine. But it's mine. It's not the vanguard of some "movement", like one of those NYT Style section pieces where we've found two instances of something and now there is a "trend". It's not an excuse for media watchdogs to clamp down as though they are protecting the public from stories as though they need their food chewed for them.

None of this gives anyone the right to go headhunting for someone else who did *nothing* I have done, who has been open and clear in his work, and with whom no one has an argument. It's despicable. Just because you can't find any more meat on my bones in this matter doesn't allow you the right to hunt someone else. 

Leave David Sedaris the fuck alone.