Memo to any bright, ambitious, young person keen to make their way in the “meeja”. First, pick a topic ripe for easy demolition, such as the way in which TV, the press, PR, advertising, politics and big business all use spin, persuasion and distorted reality to influence our lives:
Second, write a book fearlessly exposing the way in which TV, advertising, politics, big business, etc have distorted reality and created a dumbed-down world of phoney illusion. Give it a snappy, tell-it-like-it-is title. Get Real: How to tell it like it is in a world of illusions by Eliane Glaser (Fourth Estate, £14.99) is a great start.
Third, affect a folksy style to “relate” to your readers and not put them off by appearing too highbrow.
Phrases like “kinda helps”, “Marx was cool again” or “zone out” show your common touch, but name-drop modish theorists like Lacan, Althusser or Derrida and give a brisk tutorial in their ideas, to prove you’re an intellectual heavyweight.
Liberally sprinkle your text with media jargon like “false consciousness”, “nudge politics” and “democratic deficit” to demonstrate how au courant you are, and provide helpful, potted descriptions of all the thinkers you quote, such as “the German philosopher Immanuel Kant” or “the psychologist and social theorist Erich Fromm”.
Fourth, take pot shots at the political left and right alike and bemoan the lack of any clear-cut ideologies in the modern world; reiterate your impartial disapproval of cant and hypocrisy from whatever source.
Intimate that your own sympathies are humanitarian and radical but don’t give too much away, because that might detract from your stance as clear-eyed champion of the people.
And, finally, having scourged politics, advertising, multinational companies and the communications industry for their deceits and deliberate falsities, proclaim your own credo: that safe old standby, saving the planet from ecological disaster.
Nobody could object to that and your future in the media should be assured, as I hope it is for Eliane Glaser.