Gay Talese: these are not good times

Gay Talese: these are not good times
Gay Talese by David Shankbone

Gay Talese by David Shankbone

Last week I’ve read an interview with Gay Talese (February 7, 1932). Nice clothes, man! I might choose Tom Wolfe and Gay Talese as ‘the two best worn men in the world’… But more than his photo, he answered some interesting questions. He said that good journalism finished one fatidic date in N.Y. (sorry, mates, I don’t talk about politics). After that, after internet, news are now faster but with lower quality than before. That’s the prize of modernity, that’s the prize of times. I know we cannot continue using horse and cart to go on a highway but we can feel a certainly nostalgia to those great times.

Blinded By Journalism

Blinded By Journalism

Yes, I know Talese left the NY Times to investigate, to create more than news devoured like chips during the movie. He created pieces of great journalism and he is, maybe, one of the most representative writers of the called New Journalism (the other member of our new clubs, Mr. Woolfe, said it)… and I could read something very similar to the final defeat in his words. ‘There’re no good times’ his interview finished.

No, Mr. Talese, and there’re no good times for journalists and there’re horrible times for novelists. I can feel that when something important changes everything do too. It’s like the famous example of Carl Jung: for some reason, there’s a change in the unconscious that we cannot explain that make us to change everything… and we are not the same people we were 20 years ago.

If you don’t know, I studied Journalism (waste of time, sorry; my time should be more useful studying old Polish). I never wanted to work on it and I always knew I want to write novels but my colleagues imagined themselves working on they were studying. Life changes! Today, a journalist must write cents of news by 20 euros to make ends meet. Social networks are now the main source to investigate and a piece of information must be finished in minutes to continue with the next. It’s impossible to investigate, Gay Talese knew it and we all know, journalists or not… actuality, tweets and re-tweets and information dies before its birth. What’s next? The Reason is not the queen for more and we can combine news talking about a cannibal in Toronto with politics and sports… I believe in this formula –this entertainment mix- but in this torrent of information someone have forgotten the terrible question for the journalism: who, where, what… you all know about the six (or five) Ws. Of course, there are still good newspapers and good reviews but here’s another scaring question: how many years will they put up with this? The ‘vampires of information’ are maybe not so good as the older journalist but they offer a cheap and easy product. Can this little selected good media to compete with the faster, easier, cheaper one?

I would like it… but I won’t bet my left hand (even I won’t bet 100$). Things changes, my friends, and we, the men who are becoming older and older every day, liked old things and some of us can still think that not all in the past was so good to be forgotten.


A comfortable old age is the reward of a well-spent youth. Instead of its bringing sad and melancholy prospects of decay, it would give us hopes of eternal youth in a better world.

Maurice Chevalier

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