originally posted March 2009
Djelloul Marbrook has been maintaining his online commentary on culture and journalism for just over three years now. He is a one-man assault of reason on the bullshit apparatus closing in around us. Without bitterness, with no resort to irony, he picks apart the issues of the day: Iraq, media standards, the car industry, the election campaigns, the financial crisis.
For decades he worked inside the belly of the beast: Marbrook has had a long career as a journalist with papers such as The Providence Journal, The Elmira (NY) Star-Gazette, The Baltimore Sun, The Winston-Salem (NC) Journal & Sentinel, and The Washington Star. He has witnessed at first hand the changing nature of newspapers, the manifest decline in respect for the truth. His breadth of perspective is not measured in the days or weeks, but stretches from the 1950’s to the present.
Marbrook began his blog when he was 74. He has been making several posts each week since then. The energy, acuity, and variety of the writing is truly astonishing. It is always the whole man talking – not a mud slinger, nor an exhibitionist, nor someone trying to make a name in journalism. He has already been down that road, but finally found the freedom to say what he needs to say in this new medium of the internet blog. The topics range from the political to the personal, from art to climate change. Always the topic is grounded in the events of the day, though the perspective broadens out. The energy and occasional experimentation with style suggest a much younger mind grappling with the world. There’s nothing to suggest a writer of over 75, except where he explicitly brings in his own experiences. He is a man of integrity in an age when such a statement sounds quaint.
It comes as a surprise – given the close acquaintance with current affairs – to find out that he is a poet. That is to say, he had a collection of poetry, his first, published last year. Far From Algiers won the Wick Poetry Prize last year. He keeps track of reviews here.
Here’s my pick of Marbrook’s posts from 2008.
Journalism as Imperial Circus, Jan 2008
Are too many books being published? Feb 2008
The triumph of packaging over content, April 2008
An appreciation of Brenda Shaughnessy’s poems, April 2008
Though there are not many posts on the topic, but Djelloul has some experience in how the art world operates. Here he takes a look at the galleries of Hudson, New York and gives some tips to art buyers. June 2008
America’s drugged press, Oct 2008
The commercially censored press, Dec 2008