Uncharacteristically sunny and almost nostalgic piece by Christopher Hitchens about the portrayal of journalists in novels and film. Waugh, Orwell, Frayn, Powell, Greene — they’re all here. Sample:
In the opening pages of Scoop, as William Boot is still in the train from Somerset to London and as yet has no idea what awaits him at the offices of the Daily Beast, he recalls that:
“He had once seen in Taunton a barely intelligible film about newspaper life in New York where neurotic men in shirt-sleeves and eye-shades had rushed from telephone to tape-machines, insulting and betraying one another in circumstances of unredeemed squalor.”
One of the most disorienting things about modern newspaper offices, by the way (for those of us who remember the good old bad old days), is that the squalor has disappeared. Too many newspaper premises now resemble Toyota dealerships. And nobody drinks at lunchtime any more. Sigh.