I never read Lloyd Grove’s gossip column in New York’s Daily News. So I dunno how good, bad or indifferent it was. But he seems to be getting lots of mileage out of being dumped, including an op-ed piece in Sunday’s LA Times (thank you, Romenesko). Here’s what grabbed my eye:
From time to time, distinguished papers such as [T]he New York Times and the Los Angeles Times have ventured into this frisky territory, but have usually ended their walk on the wild side in a hand-wringing identity crisis: Can we be serious journalists and still publish a gossip column?
To “venture into frisky territory” is lame journospeak, far too prim to equate with “A Walk on the Wild Side,” the title of Nelson Algren’s classic 1956 novel (set among the pimps, whores and con men of Depression-era New Orleans). It’s just one more proof of Algren’s devaluation.
I’ve written before that the title of the novel has been “popularized and co-opted as an idiomatic phrase by Hollywood and Madison Avenue.” I should have added journalists, of course, especially headline writers, along with crossdresser boutiques, nature tour operators, animal rescuers, bloggers, nudist surfers, academics, gay activists, and so on.
All of them would have earned a contemptuous chuckle from Algren, if only because of injured pride. But Jimmy Smith’s bluesy, laid-back “Walk,” though not stellar to my taste, is one use I’m sure he would have approved.