Seaton: I’m Trademarking “Journalist”

A Teen Vogue Op-Ed recently stumbled into my newsfeed. After giving the matter some thought, and consulting with the local Junior Curmudgeon’s Legal Aid Society, I’m announcing today that I’m applying to trademark the word “journalist” to stop Teen Vogue writers from ever using it as a descriptor.

Before you immediately dismiss my application as some sort of conservative/Republican stunt, I can assure you this is no partisan political issue. I also want to profess my respect for actual journalists like Radley Balko, Liliana Segura, and Brad Heath. All three and their colleagues are deserving of the “journalist” title for tirelessly working to expose truth to the public.

No, what’s troubling is hack writers for a site with front page listicles like “22 Gifts For Your Friend Who Would Rather Be Napping” and deep insights like “Miley Cyrus Said She Had To Be Gay in An Instagram Live” calling themselves “journalists.” It’s an embarrassment to the profession* and something needs to be done about it.

Here’s a couple of tips for Ms. Emily Bloch, the op-ed writer who unfortunately failed to list her pronouns in her Teen Vogue bio. First, just because you and your friends don’t like an insult doesn’t mean you get carte blanche to stop people from using it on you. And if you’re concerned with a particular individual’s “hefty use” of an insult, do what adults do: grow a thicker skin and keep doing your fucking job.

Second, there’s a reason the American public’s trust in the media is at an all-time low. Instead of actually reporting on the news or, heaven forbid, reporting facts and then offering an opinion, most American media personalities have so terminal a case of Trump Derangement Syndrome they either stroke out or foam at the mouth every time the Cheeto-in-Chief twits from his gold-plated shitter.

But apparently Ms. Bloch, President of the Florida Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists**, decided to apply for a trademark for the term “Fake News” to curb the President’s excessive use of it. So I figure turnabout is fair play. If an alleged “journalist” wants to waste the time of multiple organizations and organizational resources to send fruitless Cease and Desist letters to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, DC, I can pull a similar stunt.

Expect me to email the first Cease and Desist to Teen Vogue’s Editorial Board as soon as I get a free minute. Hell, I’ll even use their language:

“Referring to yourselves as JOURNALISTS (™ pending) is indeed trademark infringement. You may not be aware, but referring to yourselves as JOURNALISTS (™ pending) has greatly confused the American people and shaken their trust in the actual journalism so vital to our democracy.”

I’m also getting sick and tired of journalists wrapping themselves in a cloak of victimhood. I’d remind Ms. Bloch, whose career is far more in its infancy than mine, that there are more dangerous professions*** than journalism. Want to know of one? Criminal Defense Lawyers.

My professional career only extends back to 2011, but in eight years of practicing criminal defense and family law, I’ve been on the receiving end of my fair share of mockery, threats, and ridicule. And as far as pay—hoo, boy—if I let out how much money I’ve been shafted out of in work by clients and the State, I bet I’d get far more victim points than Ms. Bloch’s poor career in “journalism.”

However, Ms. Bloch and her ilk can save any sad feelings they might have for someone who gives a damn. I figured out pretty damn quickly what I signed up for when I started this job, and I ask for no one’s sympathy. My profession is cleaning up other peoples’ messes. Ms. Bloch’s usually involves starting those messes.

The grand irony in this is the Society of Professional Journalists is actually one of the most respected journalism organizations in the country, with a code of ethics. Ms. Bloch links to it in her op-ed and then proceeds to shit all over. A few of her violations are listed as follows:

  • Identify sources clearly. The public is entitled to as much information as possible to judge the reliability and motivations of sources.
  • Support the open and civil exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.
  • Avoid stereotyping. Journalists should examine the ways their values and experiences may shape their reporting. (specifically Ms. Bloch’s comments on Republicans and “The President’s favorite news channel)
  • Label advocacy and commentary.
  • Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity, even if others do.

I would go on, but I need to actually finish insulting Ms. Bloch and her Teen Vogue colleagues.

Look, I know if I actually apply for a trademark on “journalist,” I’ll never get it. I’m actually a lawyer and even though I’ve never dabbled in trademark law, I know enough about what happened to Xerox and Kleenex to never give time or money to a shot at trademarking “journalist.”

I also have a wonderful family I enjoy spending time with far too much to waste a second spending it on a frivolous trademark application. I bet the national office of the Society of Professional Journalists loves the way their Florida Pro chapter is supposedly managing their money, but I digress.

So since this is the Friday Funny, if you’ve made it this far I know you’re smart enough to understand this is all jokes and to not take a word of it seriously.**** The hack writers at Teen Vogue won’t be able to understand the difference.

And if Ms. Bloch or any of her Teen Vogue cohorts take offense at my words, I humbly invite them all to kiss my dimpled white redneck ass.

*Ed. Note: It’s an occupation, not a profession. smh.

**Ed. Note: It’s still an occupation, not a profession. Getting whiplash.

***Ed. Note: Nope, nothing has changed. Law is a profession. Journalism? Not a profession.

****Ed. Note: Chris speaks for himself. Calling an ambulance now.

10 thoughts on “Seaton: I’m Trademarking “Journalist”

  1. CLS

    While I’ll own a couple of those missteps, I cannot help the organization now known as the SPJ cannot be bothered to differentiate between an occupation and a profession.

    Ladies and gentlemen, the edits for today’s funny should serve as Exhibit A for why calling our esteemed host my “mean-ass editor” isn’t an insult. He wears that badge with honor.

    1. CLS

      Unless GuitarDave tops this Howl wins the YouTube battle today. That’s one of my all-time favorite songs.

  2. Jeffrey

    Hmm, a “scary” and “frightening” time indeed for “journalists.” Ms. Bloch and her Teen Vogue colleagues should learn to code.

    I see an opportunity here to assuage their fears and brighten their future. While JOURNALISTS ™ is pending, I will forward my suggested alternative vocation to Bloch and colleagues, my programming credentials, contact info, and rates; I’m available for both private and group hack-journalists-learn-to-code sessions.

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