While newspapers and literary blogs got excited over the Pulitzers, primed to post and publish within minutes of the announcement, one grumpy Slate editor decided enough was enough. For Jack Shafer was a man who never smiled. He walked though the Slate offices with a hard gait and an even harder heart. No cookie or ice cream cone in his hand, no sir. Those trivialities were for the heaving pukes. He could find no joy in turning Times reporters into irregular verbs.
Because Shafer was dead serious. There were more pressing matters for his Press Box. He’ll rake you across the coals, amigo. Because that’s the kind of man he is. Tough as nails. No stone unturned. Where ordinary men would overlook Jayson Blair, Shafer’s a guy who will clarify his review. Because that’s what real men do. Real men sue for libel. That’s right. Get with the program or Shafer will pound your ass into an early grave. And that means you too, you pesky anonymice! If you can’t get inside the other guy’s head, you have no business being in journalism.
Jack Shafer means business. He’s an old hand from older times. Never mind when. The old days, he calls it. Back when reporters came to their desk with a pistol in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other. Where were the rewrite guys? Cowering behind their desks when Jack walked in, no doubt. But Jack was ready to bust chops with a single stare.
Washington Post, be a man! If you can’t fight dirty in the streets, you have no business being on the newsstands! Steal your moves from neocons if you have to, but if you can’t stand the heat, cry me a frickin’ river!
Jack Shafer. Fierce and friendless. But in the end, Jack’s a legend in his own mind.