Yesterday, the Weekly ran a list of reasons why it is permissible for music journalists to drink and do drugs on the job. While the intent behind this article was to compose a work of humor that may or may not have presented legitimate reasons to vindicate such practices, there are certainly solid counterpoints to many of those arguments. While it may not be the “cool” thing to do in an entertainment rag such as this, it is at the behest of good conscience and public service that we provide the readers of OC Weekly with the following list of reasons why it is NOT okay for music journalists to drink and do drugs on the job. Enjoy!
5. IMPAIRMENT: Let us begin with the obvious. If a reporter has deliberately ingested substances which are commonly known to impair one’s senses and / or motor skills, then that reporter’s senses and / or motor skills are going to be impaired. If the reporter in question is a photojournalist, this may affect his / her ability to operate a camera; this could result in a bunch of soft [blurry] shots that would have otherwise been historic photographs. If the reporter in question is not a photographer, then various substances could result in poor note-taking and memory loss; thus, when it comes time to draft the article, the poor soul might find him / herself listening to the band’s album and trying to remember what the concert was like (beyond remembering that it was merely “awesome” or “bogus”).
4. TIME BECOMES AN ENEMY: Whether the intoxicants ingested during the evening’s event are still circulating through the subject’s bloodstream or the subject believes that a little sum sum will help facilitate the writing process, said intoxicants are likely to complicate matters. One scenario is that the writing will be a straight-up sloppy mess; another scenario is that the writer may wind up staring at the screen for a long time, trying to think of the most ingenious lines of prose ever committed to a digital document, only to write a few brilliant sentences and then cash out. Of course, by the light of the morning sun, those “brilliant” lines will likely yield shame and — if the subject has the capacity for learning — humility.
3. GIVING CREDIT WHERE IT’S NOT DUE: In the same way that members of the opposite sex tend to become more attractive when viewed through beer goggles, music and live performances can become enhanced when viewed under the influence. Case in point, a music journalist may think that a band truly and profoundly sucks; however, that same journalist, while drunk or stoned, may give that same band a good review. The result of this is not only that the journalist’s credibility / reputation will become tarnished, but a terrible band may wind up getting more attention than it deserves (and given the mainstream music industry already commits this sin on a wholesale level, it is quite a disservice to art for a journalist to do the same).
2. SOBRIETY CHANGES PERSPECTIVE: In some ways, this is a more advanced version of reason #5. In the event that heavy hallucinogens had been ingested, then not only could the reporter’s notes be inadequate, but they provide evidence of deeds and trains of thought that are better buried than published. For example, if the reporter’s notebook contains strings of words like: “The guitar player knows just which molecules to activate and in the right order,” then it is a good idea for that writer to tell his / her editor that they received a whack on the head, and when they woke up, they didn’t remember anything and their notebook was gone.
1. HST SYNDROME: In the event that we’re not talking about the casual boozer or the lightweight partier, then there’s a strong possibility that a writer who believes that drugs and alcohol will enhance his / her abilities is likely afflicted with HSTS (Hunter Stockton Thompson Syndrome). While the infamous outlaw journalist never wrote about music (sports and politics were what he usually set out to cover before winding up on some strange and hysterical tangent), some writers experience a perverse attraction to his M.O. The only problem is that they are not him. Thompson was an anomaly. If writers think that getting loaded, making a spectacle out of themselves, and going off-topic on a self-indulgent, stream-of-consciousness white rabbit chase is going to make literary history, they are wrong. 99.9% of the time, the product of such an experiment is going to yield a big, steaming pile of mediocre excrement.