Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
THE DECAY OF AMERICAN MEDIA — Patrick L. Smith on the decline and fall of American journalism; Peter Lee on China and its Uyghur problem; Dave Macaray on brain trauma, profits and the NFL; Lee Ballinger on the bloody history of cotton. PLUS: “The Vindication of Love” by JoAnn Wypijewski; “The Age of SurrealPolitick” by Jeffrey St. Clair; “The Radiation Zone” by Kristin Kolb; “Washington’s Enemies List” by Mike Whitney; “The School of Moral Statecraft” by Chris Floyd and “The Surveillance Films of Laura Poitras” by Kim Nicolini.
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Write Your Own Editorial!


Greetings, moist and tender reader. This week, we have a special treat JUST FOR YOU. Mr. Tripp is far too busy to write his own essay this week, so this is YOUR CHANCE to write one just like his! You’ve said it a million times: you could write one of those in your sleep. You could write it better. You could teach your grandmother to suck eggs. Now, with this simple kit, you can write your own humorous petite-feuille and prove to the world that you’re just as amusing as Mr. Tripp, as are most rocks.

Before we get started, you’ll need to print these instructions. Otherwise you’ll have to write on your computer screen, or if you’re reading this in the New York Times, you’ll have to write in between the lines of the obituary section. All printed? Hair combed? Breath reeking of gin? You’re READ TO GO! The formula is simple. First, you must choose a topic. It’s easy as pie. Simply open your newspaper or other news delivery organ and look at the headlines. Does one of them sound interesting? GREAT! Read the article underneath the headline. Now think about what the article said. Did you agree with it? Did you think it was well written? Did it answer all the questions it raised? Was it truthful, or a pack of stinking lies? Who cares! Now you will make up a PRETEND ARTICLE based on the article you just read.

What is a pretend article? It’s just the same as a real article, except you didn’t go to journalism school. Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it. It is! But Mr. Tripp has done most of the work for you. All you have to do is fill in the blanks of the following template (a fancy word for a thing with blanks to fill in). When you’re done, submit the resulting PRETEND ARTICLE to the editors of your favorite magazine, newspaper, web site, or this publication. It’s THAT EASY! This example uses lots of big words and some quotes from famous people nobody actually reads, so you will sound IMPORTANT and SMART, just like Mr. Tripp.

A Few Words About [subject of article]

By [your pseudonym here]

It seems like only ___________ when I was _____________ by the old mill stream. In those days, you could ___________ a hundred ___________ and not see a single __________.

But times have changed. Nowadays, for every _________ there are ___________ _______ _________ than you can throw a stick at. So how come every time you __________ it seems like there’s a ____ _________ waiting to ___________ your _______?

I talked to ____________ about this ______. [He or She] said, "__________________ girth __________, egads! ___________ sacculiform, but ___________ nidifice."

Sounds reasonable enough, but what happens when the __________ enough air? In fact, ______ __ ______ the size of your head. As Nietzche said, or maybe it was _________, "You can’t get ______ from a _______." Nor, for that matter, can you lead a __ thysiastery. But does that mean you shouldn’t try? After, all, _______ _ _______ _______ ______, and he ended up ______. You could say this entire ___ ______ in 1787, but in revolutionary France people took that sort of thing for granted. Hey also took snuff, and look where that ___________. [Insert metaphor here].

In this same way, George W. Bush is a twiddlepated monster. But _________ exchequer, _______ Greenspan ___________ hokum _____. Simple twist the legs into position and tap into the sockets with the mallet. Use a piece of card or scrap lumber to ensure ______ the _______. Otherwise, _______. It should look more or less like [choose one: 'the finished product', 'a model of the Eiffel Tower made out of asparagus', 'Lyle Lovett'].

As the sage of the desert, Saint-Euxpéry, once wrote, "Il y avait des graines terribles sur la planète du petit prince… c’étaient les graines de baobabs. Le sol de la planète en était infesté. Or un baobab, si l’on s’y prend trop tard, on ne peut jamais plus s’en débarasser. Il encombre toute la planète. Il la perfore de ses racines. Et si la planète est trop petite, et si les baobabs sont trop nombreux, ils la font éclater."

How can you ________ with that?

[Now merely end the essay with a pithy closing sentence such as the following: 'There can be no doubt that history repeats itself no less than gorgonzola eaten late at night. But unlike gorgonzola, history leaves a mark that cannot be laundered out.']

BEN TRIPP is an independent filmmaker and all-around swine. His book, Square In The Nuts, may be purchased here, with other outlets to follow: http://www.lulu.com/Squareinthenuts. Swag is available as always from http://www.cafeshops/tarantulabros. And Mr. Tripp may be reached at credel@earthlink.net.