Mitch Albom was conceived by parents who should have known better. He was born. He’s 52, two years over the age to get AARP benefits. The public thinks he’s a pathetic windbag. This would be a tragic story if it were an isolated story.
It’s more tragic because it’s not.
Albom was not the first unfortunate spawn born during the heady post-Atomic era. He wasn’t the first born in New Jersey, nor was he the first in Passaic. Just 7 years earlier, Joe Piscopo was born there too. His parents probably did the same thing. Alcohol, according the the town folk, were likely involved in that conception too.
Mitch’s stories get more attention than they deserve because he’s an untalented, amoral hack who generates a lot of consternation, and thus a lot of ad revenue for the Detroit Free Press and ESPN, a figure most noted for its framing by two elephantine ears and hair that’s looked like a bad wig since he was in the 6th grade. Since his career began, the populace has been robbed by opportunity costs and left to wonder what it could have done with all those precious minutes lost reading his tripe. Mitch Albom is widely regarded as a monster or a ghoul.
Many wonder how it is that Albom was never given up for adoption. Most think it preposterous that he earns his living writing opinion pieces for a major media outlet rather than leaping from burning stage pieces into tiny, shallow pools.
Everyone wants to know how a 52 year old man is allowed to contribute to the deterioration of the nation’s overall allocation of funds or why nobody will stop him from hurting America in general. Imagine how many auto workers could feed their families on his salary.
In fact, when we ask members of the media about Albom’s employment, we’re often told that we’re being naive, and that his lack of any or all actual literary talent doesn’t matter so long as he generates advertising revenue for a dying paper.
Perhaps. And that’s the entire problem.
We’re not naive about it at all.
If anything, the trade in of talent and integrity for ad revenue is the real story here. Since Albom’s journalism and writing career began, he’s been published in dozens of advertising outlets. Read that again. Dozens. And I call them advertising outlets because, when it comes to what they really want to serve the public, that’s what they are.
Which begs the question, especially given the public’s options these days: Why is Albom still able to keep a job? Since when is one poorly explored concept spread across 700 words a good idea for reading material?
How much more evidence do we need to understand that Mitch Albom needs to be put out to pasture? There is an awful history of trite, banal writing with a heavy glaze of saccharine schlock atop it within his body of work. Sometimes, he’s busy writing things that many people leave unsaid because most people have too much class to say it, fully understanding that one small anecdote could be forced into a bigger picture if they wanted to serve their own interests of advertising revenue generation at the expense of a grieving family. Sometimes, he’s writing Tuesdays with Morrie. Worse still, sometimes he’s writing The Five People You Meet in Heaven.
And sometimes, he’s the guest on Oprah between the episode featuring Jenny McCarthy’s “cure” for autism and the episode where Oprah gets a bunch of women to act like yippy little lap dogs by offering up free slippers.
In any and all cases, Mitch’s work is work without any contribution made to his fellow man. I don’t care how many times he might earnestly deliver a line during a Sports Reporters monologue. I don’t care how many papers syndicate his columns. And I really don’t care what his readership say. Come on. Most of us were blessed with a brain. Between the pressure to generate ad revenue, the ease of keeping Albom on staff rather than hiring some actual talent, and the likelihood that Albom will think of any contrary notions as “a good angle,” Albom’s “work” will always be a waste of resources that harms this planet.
How do you mitigate that?
You don’t read his stuff.
Now of course, our prayers go out to the major media players. Watching this country’s free press try to kill itself with poor attempts at evolution and the continued employment of high-dollar, low-talent people like Albom is heartbreaking.
But dying in a war is one thing. Dying because you refuse to adapt to the major technological advances of the century is another. There is no kind way to say this. But you cannot, in good conscience, paint the newspaper industry as a tragic hero. At best, it is a victim of folly, thinking that if they just ignore new media and the influx of talent, it’ll all go away.
At worst, and more likely, the newspaper industry is an example of brazen hubris that major, institutionalized corporations exude, inevitably with deadly results. What, one imagines, could possibly have made these institutions think that the romance of the presses and their over-inflated staffing numbers in the newsroom would be enough to save them?
Probably something that would make you say, “Eh. That’s the way the institutions work.” And that’s the point. If you are involved in one of these institutions, then you’re part of the problem, and you need to fix it. Then, hopefully, Mitch Albom will become unemployed.
Note: After this exercise, I found Albom’s style of writing so horrendous that I found the results of the exercise difficult to review. Apologies for typos or anything that doesn’t make sense.