And the horse you rode in on.

“I’ve been meaning to speak to you about your profanity.”

The scene between Klebanow and Hayes is getting a little buzz in the j-world. Salon’s Slate’s TV Club said it “defied belief;” Romenesko puts out the call for personal anecdotes and gets a few, while others chatter away on their own blogs. (And may I please ask: When did David Simon piss in Bill Wyman’s cornflakes, anyway?)

I think the case has been made pretty well that this scene was not beyond belief, but once again I’m amazed at how many people are missing the point: This exchange wasn’t about Klebanow being a tightass or Haynes an abusive pottymouth. It’s about how the suits — any suits — exert control in a million subtle ways to bring a staff to heel. Start with cutbacks, so that everyone fears for their job. Make sure the atmosphere, once open and raucous and encouraging of dissent, becomes just a little bit chillier, day by day. Reprimand the troublesome ones with bullshit. Before long, you can announce the next round of layoffs without hearing a peep from anyone.

And if any of these flatdicks can’t see that, well, I can’t save their sorry asses.

11 Comments

  1. well, speaking as a total J-outsider, the scene read as a total power play to me.

    Undercut the popular middle management guy (who’s smarter than you and has more staff allegiance than you ever will).

  2. Speaking as a total J-outsider, I just gotta say…present company excluded, but journalists sound like a bunch of whiny-ass bitches.

  3. Bill Wyman doesn’t seem to not be of any relevance to any matter whatsoever. His entire website is a “David Simon is a hack writer, bad journalist, and I CAN PROVE IT. HIRE ME! And it’s ludicrous how he dated that 16 year old.

    Anyway, yeah, it just looked like Marimow was trying to put Gus in his place. Can’t have no uppity editors making the brass look less than perfect….in other words, the theme of the series.

  4. BTW, in the mid 80s I worked at a paper called the “Pensacola News Weekly”. All the money came from ads and legal notices. The layout guys (raising hand meekly) wrote the stories and did whatever else. I was one of two white guys working there. I had a fucking ball.

    Now, my reputation may preceed me, but my language was considered mild there. Especially when we were doing the layout manually, and somebody came in with a piece that was 4 inches too long or too short.

  5. Ash, Bill Wyman, the journalist, was actually involved in an amusing lawsuit some years back, when Bill Wyman, the Rolling Stone, tried to get him to cease and desist using his own name. It didn’t help that Journalist Wyman’s beat was rock ‘n’ roll, but as I recall, sanity prevailed, and the lawyers decided there was room for two Bill Wymans in the world.

  6. We actually got a straight up link from Wyman in this post, which is mostly about the Nick Hornby interview with Simon. Note Wyman’s non-typo: Horby

    And am I paranoid or is “lots of good links” sort of damning-with-faint-praise?

    Hitsville / Updated! The David Simon reading list

  7. In Wymanland, “lots of good links” means “they like Simon, so I must hate them and not talk about if they write well or not”. Is it just me, or does Wyman not come across as a spoiled brat in every piece?

  8. Sorry to be an bitchy nitpicker my first post but,

    “Salon’s TV Club said it “defied belief;”

    should be

    “Slate’s TV Club said it “defied belief,”

  9. birchbayh, you’re in good company.

    Most, if not all, of us are bitchy nitpickers too.

    Hope to see you again.

  10. Thanks! It’s fixed. Most appreciative of the catch.

  11. This quote from Wyman pretty much sums up his website: I’m glad Simon is no longer a journalist; he’s an asshole and a liar, and he doesn’t check his facts.


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