Friday, May 13, 2005

Inaugural Post

Welcome to my blog! Wow! That was so easy to set up. I can't believe I put that off until after finals. My name is Rick Mortensen and this is my blog. I stole the name from a weekly column I wrote for the Daily Utah Chronicle during my senior year of college, and I chose it because 1) it's easy to remember and 2) it reminds me of a time when journalism was fun. You see after I accidentally graduated from the University of Utah (really! they mailed me a diploma!) I got married and moved to San Diego, where I freelanced for the Union-Trib and a mind-bogglingly ill-conceived website (not conceived by me of course) called levelred. That went on for 9 months until I got a full-time gig with the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in Ontario California. The Bulletin was the third-Easternmost paper of the 6 or 8 paper group known as the Los Angeles Newspaper group. The whole group had been bought and packaged together by magnate Dean Singleton shortly before I got there, and during the three years I stayed, I got to watch its descent from a reasonably good local paper into a soulless, mindless cog in a wholly mediocre journalistic machine. One good part of my stay there was that I maneuvered myself into covering Los Angeles Opera for all the papers in the group (for over a half-million readers). I loved the Opera, but hated the other music critics I met at premieres and press conferences, and realized that, if I perservered for a few more years, I could, if I were lucky, have one of their jobs and be just as useless and miserable. It was time to get out, and, after some false starts, I'm now in law school in Des Moine Iowa, slated for a December graduation.

It wasn't just the Bulletin and the other critics I hated. It was the whole process of writing about art and entertainment that was starting to wear on me. I enjoy interviewing people and going to events, but it was hard to shake the sense that I wasn't doing much good in the world, and that the subjects that I covered often just saw me as a necessary evil. I had a constant sense that I was being patronized -- even when I wasn't, and thus, felt a strong urge to show my subjects how smart I really was. Entertainment journalists can respond in one of two ways to the little voice in their head that tells them they're worthless: they can deny it and start to believe that they really are brilliant and important and deserve all the occupational fawning and perks, or they can pay heed to the voice and start to hate the people they write about for being such ass-kissers. The second type often get out.

So here I am in Des Moines, slogging through law school and writing an opera based on a historical sports figure and the contradictions in his life. (I don't want to reveal more, for fear someone will steal the idea. That's how paranoid I get at 2 o'clock in the morning after my last final). Did I mention I was a piano almost-prodigy and my undergrad is in music? Well it hardly matters. What does matter is I have an adorable one-year-old daughter named Julie who needs a father who will support her financially and while setting a good example of how to follow your bliss. Wish me luck


Blogger Doug said...

You misspelled "Inaugural", but I'm glad you finally got around to starting a blog. Good first post.

10:17 PM  

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