There are times when Jesse is ungenerous. I have already pointed this out to him (as gently as possible, in fact), so I am not talking out of school here.
I have suggested Jesse lend his name, his imprimatur, even, but not a single red cent to two Worthy Canadian Initiatives.
Standards training for hacks
1,500people sponsor your ass. I’m suggesting you Give Back to the Community in a way that will annoy you at first but which you will ultimately agree to, I predict.
You whined in our interview that I complain about picayune subjects (my terminology) that nobody else seems to give a shit about. You were obviously talking about your blog’s lousy spelling, punctuation, type, and copy-editing; your (link) inability (link) to write (link) link text; and your crap slugs. Well, kiddo, the reason your adoring fanbase doesn’t write in to critique any of those is because they’re just as bad as you are.
Toronto journalists, especially the young crowd that is the core of your support, know how to use their MacsBook for Gmail, Twitter, and Facebook, and can type into a WordPress box, but that’s it, really. (Do I have to link you to what I and others have written about this?) They have no technical skills whatsoever and have no experience reading, writing, and above all editing copy. (Specifically, they have no experience with professionally edited copy because among the countless categories they refuse to read are New York magazines.)
I, with some friends, have for many years (it really is “many” at this point) offered to solve the problem by training hacks. (And publishers – they’re even worse.) But the same people with these absent skills are the ones who are told by their leaders to hate my fucking guts. They’d prefer to stay ignorant and keep making mistakes if the alternative is to learn from me. I have said this for years, too.
You, Jesse, can be the, or at least a, solution to this problem. You need this training. Your listeners need it. Toronto hacks need it, above all at the Globe. People who believe they are expected to hate me will soften their stance once they hear that mighty Jesse Brown, Canada’s sole independent media critic, not only endorses this technical training but will show up and take it, too.
You and CanadaLand become gold-level sponsors (with no gelt changing hands) of hack training in Unicode, type, and copy-editing. If you sponsor this project for the zero dollars and zero cents I am asking from you, in return I’ll teach the first classes for free. And these will be substantive lessons, not loss leaders.
It is with delight and amusement that I visualize the reactions of downtown progressive journos, who can type only what is imprinted on their keycaps and who know nothing, when they find out that the esteemed Jesse Brown endorses professional development. For free, no less.
To paraphrase: You have nothing to lose but your HTMLs.
I’ve made this offer on various occasions before. This offer to Jesse met with deafening silence.
Isn’t this the sort of thing that Hacks & Hackers should be doing? Of course. But they don’t even understand that their name is not Hacks/Hackers (“Hack Shackers”). All they do now is run pub nights. Further, Hacks & Hackers is fundamentally about training hacks to write enough Python to produce automated Google maps you can’t actually read. Hacks & Hackers has failed to make any efforts to teach hackers to write.
The offer stands. Jesse’s imprimatur would mean a lot. (He can sit in the front row.)
Hack Mental Help Week
Modelled after the admittedly modest project organized by my standardista friends, namely Geek Mental Help Week, I proposed that Jesse in some way put his heft behind “ur variation: Hack Mental Help Week. I would draw your attention to our mutual heroine Ms Jan Wong.”
Compare and contrast the reaction to two hacks’ recent mental-health crises:
- Ed Champion: Reviled; general theme of “About time he did that”; unworthy of life because a mob decided they hate him
- Andrew Parker: As via John Doyle (among many others) on Twitter and his own blog post, he was just automatically and rightfully given every benefit of the doubt
Andrew Parker, whom you might not even have heard of before, and Jan Wong, of whom you did, warrant intervention in their mental-health crises while the world is just better off with some other people dead. Or, I guess, suffering. That’s the impression I get.
It isn’t up to you hateful fucks to decide which writer’s suicide threat sounds like a great idea vs. which one warrants massive community intervention. You’re the kind of people who use the phrase “Get help” as a weapon.
Hypocrisy is one thing. Hypocrisy that ostracizes and threatens the lives and recovery of actual people you purport to include in your “community” is quite another.
So then: Hack Mental Help Week. Try opposing that idea because you’re getting it from me.
Jesse didn’t even bother responding to this idea, either.