Water skiing monkeys

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Readers/viewers tend to think hacks are frivolous. Obsessed with the trivial. Unserious people. Hacks feel the same about readers/viewers.

My favourite hack anecdote:

A bunch of reporters travel with an African tribe for two weeks. The tribe has been displaced by war, and must move to a new home 1000 miles away.

They carry their homes on their backs. The hacks record their terrible adventure. The young and old who don’t make the journey. Their sometimes wise, sometimes strange rituals.

Back at a bar in Nairobi, the hacks are feeling pleased with themselves. For once, they have done good work of which they can rightly be proud.

They have not been over sentimental. They have not exaggerated. They told the truth on a story no-one else cared about.

The editor joins them with a look of despair.

“They aren’t going to run it,” he tells the horrified hacks. Why not? “Forget about it,” says the editor. “They have just found a monkey in Japan that can water-ski.”


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