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Imaginary Journalism

December 19, 2009

In the absence of investigative journalism, a new brand of literary “thought-experiment journalism” seems to have cropped up.  These stories, likely written from the comfort of a local Starbucks rather than getting the journalist’s hands dirty while trying to uncover some truth that is actively being hidden, do at least produce some entertaining and often wry observations about our culture if not anything particularly factually revealing.

For example, the inside report of the meeting at Mattel approving a vibrating Nimbus 2000 gave me a laugh or two:

Cloer: This is just not going to…Hang on. Whoa.

Koo: She’s feeling the magic.

Cloer: Ah.

Sinagra: Nice, huh? I feel like I’m sitting here watching an actual real-life game of Flying Broomball or whatever the hell it’s called.

Cloer: Oh yeah.

Koo: It’s a simple device, really, boss. Should be pretty cheap to manufacture. But think of the pleasure it’ll bring millions of kids.

Cloer: I’m … yeah. Yes.

Sinagra: Me, personally, I can’t wait to see all those rosy cheeks come Christmastime. It’s what this job is all about.

Cloer: Oh god. Oh my god.

John Hodgman’s analysis of the Illuminati-like control exercised by Goldman Sachs was also great satire:

Do they secretly run the U.S. government?

No. Goldman Sachs abandoned that part of its charter after commissioning the Great Depression, when the Goldman board (also known as the Council of the Invisible Hand) determined that the day-to-day work of governance—taxation, defense, figuring out how to keep impoverished children from dying in the streets, hobo fighting, etc. —was boring.

Since then, the Invisible Hand has been content to simply keep a few highly placed agents within the government to make sure it does not get in the way.

Seems like yet another good prompt for us lazy writers trying to do something creative with our free printing presses but lack of willpower to venture beyond our doorsteps: just pretend like you found something worth sharing.

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