Stumped

Journalism has been dying a slow, agonising death for years now and it is in sore need of a mercy clipping. Dr Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) called it in Ghostbusters back in 1984 and nothing has improved in the 35 years hence.


"News" articles with animated gifs instead of due diligence, listicles, at least three fundamental spelling errors in every article. My personal bugbear is rugby league "journalists" not being aware of the difference between "defuse" and "diffuse" which, like Campbell Graham, gets an embarrassing run once a week.


There is one last bastion of classical journalism left and it can be found in the most unlikely of places.


Cricket.


For some reason that escapes me, cricket reporting itself has escaped the calamity that has befallen the rest of the discipline.


Reading a match report for a game of cricket, particularly a test match, and particularly for something as hallowed as an Ashes test match, is a brief glimpse into a parallel universe where Keith Rupert Murdoch Jr did not become the evil galactic emperor.


Words like "bastion" are glibly thrown around like they are nothing. As are "garrulous", "sangfroid", and "decathect" - that last I'll admit that even I had to consult the dictionary on.


These cricket journos aren't afraid to tell the story. To weave the narrative. To sell the sizzle. In some cases it's like Hunter S Thompson never died, and had traded his heroic consumption of alcohol for the more civilised cup of tea. Cricket journalism isn't a mere recitation of the game, it's an adventure. The author grabs your hand and steals you away on an adventure into a world you'd only glanced at from the outside. Like those classic Rolling Stone articles - the ones that have you feeling you're sharing a tour bus with the Mothers of Invention, or a fireside chat with a briefly lucid David Foster Wallace.


They're not afraid to be smart. They're not afraid to think the best of their audience and if they're not up to the task then challenge them to be better. They don't pander to the lowest common denominator.


I read a match report of the first Ashes test that described Steve Smith as "the Tick-Tock Man". Not only did the journalist in question reference literary great Harlan Ellison, he quoted one of the more obscure works and dropped it like it was goddamn nothing!


This is what all journalism should aspire to be. Better. Rise above. Stop pandering to imbeciles. Instead of indulging Corey Parker's school of mangled metaphor.


"The wolves are knocking." Are they Corey? How polite of them.


What might have been. I guess I'll just have to decathect my hopes for a better class of journalism.