A BRUTALLY HONEST job ad was posted last week on journalism.jobs.com by the Illinois Valley News, a US newspaper:
“How bad do you want to be a reporter? Bad enough to work nights and weekends? In exchange for your long hours and tireless efforts you will be rewarded with low pay and marginal health insurance.”
A sneering banker read the ad out loud to me in the bar.
“That’s not fair,” I said. “There are loads of POSITIVE things you can say about working as a journalist, a deeply noble profession which is all about the fight for global justice.”
Unfortunately my declaration was undermined by the fact that I was reading “Test Your Knowledge of Hollywood Homes” in the latest People magazine at the time.
But at the least that job ad was honest. And it reminded me that this month is the 52nd anniversary of the application letter written by the late Hunter S. Thompson to the Vancouver Sun.
In 1958 he offered his skills to the editor, but admitted that he had never read the paper.
”By the time you get this letter, I'll have gotten hold of some of the recent issues of the Sun. Unless it looks totally worthless, I'll let my offer stand.”
A well-dressed woman in the advertising business stepped in to the conversation with a warning: “The whole brutal-honesty-as-a-bonus thing ONLY works in recruitment ads,” she said. “It does NOT work in product advertising.”
So the ad-woman was right. Truth-in-advertising only works for job ads.
At this point, I noticed that the banker was backing out of the discussion.
Ah. Of course. He drives a Ferrari.