Israeli Fiction Writers and Poets Fucking TAKE a Newspaper for a Day
Last Tuesday in Israel, a group of 31 famous fiction writers and poets were allowed to write all the articles for the newspaper "Haaretz." There wasn't much of an agenda behind it; everybody just wanted to see what would happen.

From a "Forward" article about "The Writer's Haaretz":

"Writers used the first person and showed up in nearly every photograph alongside their interview subjects, including the likes of Defense Minister Ehud Barak and President Shimon Peres."

"Among those articles were gems like the stock market summary, by author Avri Herling. It went like this: "Everything's okay. Everything's like usual. Yesterday trading ended. Everything's okay. The economists went to their homes, the laundry is drying on the lines, dinners are waiting in place... Dow Jones traded steadily and closed with 8,761 points, Nasdaq added 0.9% to a level of 1,860 points... The guy from the shakshuka [an Israeli egg-and-tomato dish] shop raised his prices again..." The TV review by Eshkol Nevo opened with these words: "I didn't watch TV yesterday." And the weather report was a poem by Roni Somek, titled "Summer Sonnet." ("Summer is the pencil/that is least sharp/in the seasons' pencil case.") News junkies might call this a postmodern farce, but considering that the stock market won't be soaring anytime soon, and that "hot" is really the only weather forecast there is during Israeli summers, who's to say these articles aren't factual?"

Newspapers are closing down left and right all over America. The job of journalism -- reporting facts quickly -- is being replaced by a 24-hour, internet-addicted global society. Don't lie. You know you didn't read a newspaper this morning.

Could we let authors run the New York Times for a day? Could real writers write the news for once?

I don't know anything about poets, but here are some off-the-cuff picks for assigning beats to contemporary, working fiction writers:

Arthur Phillips: Style (Dining & Wine)
Stephen King: Arts (Music)
Jonathan Franzen: Sports
Neal Stephenson: Technology
Larry McMurtry: New York / Region
Toni Morrison: Arts (Television)
Ursula LeGuin: Politics
Judy Blume: Classifieds
Stephenie Meyer: Style (Weddings / Celebrations)
Joyce Carol Oates: Business
James Patterson: Crossword / Games

I would pay fifty bucks for a copy of that newspaper. Fifty dollars cold cash. And I think this should happen every year. Like, a tradition. At least for the next three years, until the New York Times goes out of business.

"Thirty-one writers decided, what are the real events of the day?" said Dov Alfon, editor-in-chief of "Haaretz" after the experiment. "What is really important in their eyes? They wrote about it, and our priorities as journalists were suddenly shaken by this."

Posted by miracle on Wed, 17 Jun 2009 07:09:23 -0400 -- permanent link

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