This Day in Death

1.7.13: Journalist Richard Ben Cramer – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 10:22 pm January 9, 2013

RICHARD_BEN_CRAMERCramer begins his physical transformation in preparation of going deep undercover as a member of Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem.

 

Whenever I solemnly put on my trenchcoat and fedora it usually just means I’m planning to expose myself to single mothers on the bus again. But today I’m doing it for a less sexy reason; as a tribute to reporter Richard Ben Cramer, who died due to complications from lung cancer on Monday. I might still do the bus thing later today, though.

Before the Geraldoization of America, serious journalists like me and Richard Ben Cramer dug deep to get the hard truths about the world we live in, sitting down with those in power to ask the burning questions, like “why do you guys act like such anal prolapses about everything?” or “I didn’t do any research, can you tell me who you are?” or “have you read my blog? It’s super funny, I bet you’d like it.” You know, the kinds of things real Americans want answers to.

Perhaps the most unorthodox thing in any of Mr. Cramer’s books appears — or, more precisely, does not appear — at the end of [Cramer’s book about 1988 presidential election] “What It Takes.” The book has no index, an omission insisted upon, in a kind of gleeful malice aforethought, by Mr. Cramer himself.

“For years I watched all these Washington jerks, all these Capitol Hill, executive-branch, agency wiseguys and reporters go into, say, Trover bookstore, take a political book off the shelf, look up their names, glance at the page and put the book back,” Mr. Cramer told The New York Times in 1992. “Washington reads by index, and I wanted those people to read the damn thing.”

That’s pretty clever, but you have to be careful when messing with people’s expectations like that. When I thought I wasn’t given any credit in Diary of a Wimpy Kid I was *this close* to pipe bombing that B. Dalton’s on the spot. Just decimating everything and everyone in there. But then I saw that I was mentioned in the dedication and I just laughed and laughed. It really was your classic story of overcoming adversity. Hey! That would make a good book, too! Writing is easy!

 

Source: The New York Times

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