Model Practitioner

Chris Lehmann in The Baffler:

WHEN I FIRST LAUNCHED my accidental career in journalism more than thirty years ago, as an intern at Mother Jones, one of my first assignments was to fact-check a column by Barbara Ehrenreich. I can still remember the topic: a characteristically biting and witty takedown of the daft notion of “reverse sexism” and some of its trademark turns of phrase. (A passing reference to men as the category of human responsible for hair growing out of their ears still makes me laugh whenever I’m forced to contemplate this unlovely truth.)

Most of all, though, the whole idea that I was trusted to work on this kind of thing—an energetic, incisive, and funny work of polemic journalism—gave me a direct and thrilling sense of the possibilities ahead on the dubious vocation I was then exploring. Given the generally squalid and chaotic condition of my mental life back then, the effect was roughly equivalent to hearing the clear and resounding sound of a tuning fork at the end of a command performance of Lou Reed’s dirge-and-noise opus Metal Machine Music.

More here.