“Journalism is journalistic”

I hope I shall always speak of the journalistic trade with as much respect as it is decent for a man to feel for something which he has discovered to be not too difficult for him to do — a discovery which, in a well-regulated mind, will always prevent any positively prostrate adoration. But I know that my fellow-journalists will agree with me when I say that they are in a peculiar position towards life — in the fact that they are forbidden to be so careless as are happier men about what happens in the world. Poetry, it has been said, is a criticism of life; but it is not a criticism that need be offered in large quantities at short and regular intervals. No poet is expected to write an ode to the skylark every morning, even on the improbable supposition that every morning he is up with the lark. No spiritual child of Shakespeare or Wordsworth is expected to unlock his heart with the key of the sonnet every night when he unlocks his house with the latchkey. But journalism is journalistic, often in the literal sense of being daily; and it is a criticism of life that must always be criticising. It is no matter for wonder if it sometimes criticises too much, or if (which is the much more real complaint) it criticises the wrong thing.

Illustrated London News, 9 February 1918.

Published in: on January 22, 2020 at 6:58 pm  Leave a Comment