Friday, November 12, 2010

The Devil is a Chain Smoker - Book Extract

SHOOT: In late 2009 David Bullard sent me an email congratulating me on getting fired.  Other ex-workers have said that if you do not get fired from [a particular company] there must be something wrong with you.

Note: Below is an extract based on a true events.  'The Devil' chronicles the more memorable episodes of  the ridiculous cast of characters that occupy one of  South Africa's major media houses - I documented them between 2007 and 2009. The story is a sometimes critical, always satirical look at media organisations.  What I discovered, working in the newsroom, is that rather than perform a public service, media companies have become increasingly like corporate individuals, beholden only to themselves, distracted and increasingly afflicted with ADD. During my employ, the media missed some of the biggest news stories of the decade, including the credit crunch, the energy [oil and electricity] crisis, or passed over entirely on other vital issues, such as Swine Flu. 
I was shocked to discover appalling double standards; the integrity editors impose on the world and their news subjects don't seem to apply to themselves or their favorites in the newsroom. Published each Friday afternoon and written by Nick van der Leek

Part One
A Devilish Setup

Digging in the Dirt
God has a sick sense of humor

Smite me, oh mighty Smiter. – Bruce, in Bruce Almighty

This is what happened to me, and in writing this, I hope to flush out some of the human excrement I encountered before I reached for the toilet spray and found a better job outside the Lavatory.  I hope in writing this I will gain some perspective (I can guess you’re saying – He really needs it); that the time spent at The Company wasn’t an absolute waste of my time and efforts.  That my talents actually meant something.  That I grew in some way.  That it wasn’t God being a mean kid with a magnifying glass.  Perhaps I can look up in the sky after this and not see a big eye behind the looking glass glaring and glinting at me. Perhaps I’ll see blue sky again, and like Bruce Almighty, see how B.E.A Yewtiful everything is.  So let’s see.

I joined The Company in July, 2007, that’s 14 months ago as from today's writing, with the blessings of friends and lovers who declared: “You now have a launching pad for greatness.”  In the bosom of The Company how could I, a budding photojournalist, not be fruitful, and not see my success multiplied to Biblical proportions? I had found my calling, to write stories (right?) and I would now be working in posh ol’ Bougainvillea Hill, the most cosmopolitan of Hansonburg’s Northern suburbs.  I would have my station in the bowels of one of South Africa’s largest Media Companies – Treacle Media.   

 I had dreamed of being a writer as a young teenager, and somehow the boomerang of Destiny had whisked me all the way back, swooping me on the wings of abandoned dreams…  It all seemed too good to be true, and that is because it fucking was.

God has a sick sense of humor when he wants to teach you a lesson.  He offers you one of the biggest and best opportunities in your life, but then gives the key to your personal Happiness and Success Gateway to The Devil.  Do you think The Devil is ever going to say: “Well, son.  I see this is what you want and you’ve worked very hard for it, so I’m going to unlock the door and usher you right in.  Mind the step.  There you go?”  Does that sound likely to you?  Think there is a small chance of that happening?  Here’s a clue:


See, when I joined Treacle, on the very first day, The Devil said to me: “Nick, you are not writer because you can’t write.”
You now have a launching pad for greatness.
The Devil, my boss said: “Nick, you are not writer because you can’t write.”
How could I, a budding photojournalist, not be fruitful, and not see my success multiplied to Biblical proportions.
The Devil, my boss, Esther Spynful gave me That Cynical Look, and without a hint of humor or irony said: “Nick, you are not writer because you can’t write.”
So why am I here?


Somewhere in all of those ‘O’s’ are the lost souls that have slipped into eternal frustration before me, and the gamut of mine own lost opportunities that contrive to make me another loser L.O.S.E.R. in a world full of losers.
What is a loser? No, it’s not a Light Oscillation by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, although some losers do need to get a little more solar radiation.
L.O.S.E.R. stands for Let’s Ogle Someone Evidently Retarded. Light On the sorry-assed Schmuck in front of you for evER. Because after enough exposure to The Devil, what else can you become but a Limp Obtuse Stooge, an Enigma of Rudeness ?  With The Devil as your keeper you find:

One fails to win, becoming a poor loser.
One becomes the loser of the game.
One fails consistently, becoming a person with bad luck or poor skills: "losers at home seeking wealth and glory in undeveloped countries" [we’ll come to that later].
One that is bad in quality.

There you have it.  Loser.

More next week.

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