The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Friday, October 29, 2004
 

The new journalism: the French have a word for it...


There's been silence radio for the last couple of days while I bone up a bit (Bush v Gore, Title 3, Article II, yadda, yadda, yadda...) for the legal armageddon that a close Electoral College would bring.

(Reluctantly, since past exercises in investing time in possible stories have been singularly fruitless: la révolution bolivienne n'eut pas lieu...)

Meanwhile, I serendipitously come across a word that comes in handy to describe much of what passes for journalism: romanquête. A portmanteau word of roman and enquête, or novel and investigation.

The term used by iconic French pundit [1] Bernard-Henri Lévy to describe his book Qui a tué Daniel Pearl ? seems apt to describe - to pick a name at random - the works of Uncle Bob Woodward: all that dialogue he 'reconstructs', the lack of footnotes... Or feature stuff like Peter Landesman's A Girl Next Door (much discussed here).

Giving respectability to the imaginative leap made in the cause of the larger truth, to make the bare bones of corroborated fact congenial for a general audience, to ensure the powerful don't escape censure on a technicality.

Lubrication for a slippery slope already slick with grease of moolah - not to mention the product of sanctimonious media onanism.

(BHL's star is waning, it seems; also here.)

  1. He is to philosophy what the late Serge Gainsbourg is to music.


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