Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Newspapers reached incredible levels of popularity during the latter half of the 18th century, with over a hundred newspapers being published in France during the first half of the French Revolution (i.e. before the Terror). Journalists were held in some esteem during the French Revolution. One of the greatest celebrities of the Revolution, Camille Desmoulins, was as famous for inspiring the people of Paris to direct their furious rioting towards tearing down the Bastille as for his newspapers, and it is impossible to seperate Marat from his L'Ami du Peuple or Herbert from his Pere Duchene. However, newspaper journalists were not quite so popular outside of France.
Sir Walter Scott told his son-in-law, "Your connection with any newspaper would be a disgrace and degredation. I would rather sell gin to poor people and poison them that way."
I believe Kierkegaard topped that when he wrote, "The lowest depth to which people can sink before God is defined by the word "journalist." If I were a father and had a daughter who was sedueced I should despair over her; I would hope for her salvation. But if I had a son who became a journalist and continued to be one for five years, I would give him up."