From the Editor's Desk: July 15 2010
Author: Francis Hugnillian Erstwhile Editor in Chief
"Sunlight clears the rot."
For those of you who have a passing familiarity with Planasthai that statement should be instantly recognizable. It is the motto that has been printed, inked, carved, burned, chiseled and etched into the pages of this publication since its very first incarnation. Many changes have taken place in the halls of our organization since then. The publication was a newsletter entitled "Brilliance" at first, secretly distributed among arcanists during the Second Renaissance. The circulation was small, the accuracy questionable, the political leanings of the editorial staff were obvious and the handwritten script was atrocious. In spite of these flaws "Brilliance" had a dedicated staff with vision, a staff that wanted to be the first voice of history, that wanted to see the unseen and expose the dark corrupting forces of the world to purifying daylight. The motto was the original staff's expression of this impulse. The motto and the values it purports have remained true since their initial recognition.
The motto persisted as "Brilliance" metamorphosed into a bimonthy professional journal, a weekly newspaper, a radio show, a guerilla journalism mob, a television program and a readership-owned collectivist nation until it reached the apotheosis of print journalism, the weekly magazine known as Planasthai. We carry this torch with the grave, stern solemnity required of such a history.
There is much to be proud of in our history. The publication in one form of another has contributed to 15 revolutions, 342 scandals, 12398 riots and protests, 68 inventions, 37 assassinations, 4 religious schisms, and 49.28 wars. We have covered births, deaths, love, hate, tragedy, triumph, spectacle, solitude, great minds, movers, shakers, candlestick makers, itinerant magicians and frauds. We were first at the scene of the "Expository Dialog" of 1908, alone in our coverage of the "Jinn Civil Rights Movement" and the only news outlet to have accurately predicted all celebrity births in the last decade. We were the first to publish in an all interpretive dance format. Our organization broke barriers when we hired the first ex-human reporter, the first female glottslag, the first vukodlak editor and the first stellar-echo photographer. The floors of our offices would be unnavigable if we literally broke all of the glass ceilings that have been so irrevocably shattered by our staff.
At Planasthai our calling, our duty, our sacred trust is to fill the neural ganglia of our readership with a cornucopia of stalwart, honest, high-class news. The editorial staff hand selects the most top-notch reporters, the most seasoned veterans, the most promising of new talent from as diverse of backgrounds as biochemical requirements will permit. In addition we at the editorial board work tirelessly, endlessly to bring forth the most ethical and conscious news conceivable by sentients that posses a morality similar to that of the editorial staff. You our readership are fond of sending letters, fruit baskets and novelty undergarments as tokens of appreciation for our service in addition to pointed, nagging criticism when you believe we have failed. Our editorial, reporting and maintenance staffs are all happy to receive the thoughtful items and notes that you are adoring readership have sent to all of us and our immediate relations.
On a personal level journalism is not a job; it is a vocation. I was called to tell the stories of others, to spread information to the hinterlands and the outer reaches. I will fill the world with words, fight the silence that reverberates after a story dies. Nothing shall be left unchronicled if I can be reasonably expected to record it. I have spent the better part of my life pursuing the fickle Lady Journalism. I remember the first beat I worked, the "Cops and Crimes" beat for the Braintree Pesterer. I was handed my first assignment by a man whose name I cannot remember. However, his distinctive nasal piercings and fabulous mustache have anchored his urucu-like face in my memory. He held out the assignment in his gruff but well-manicured hands and said,
I was off to cover the recent developments in Provincetown out on the Cape. Fishing had been poor that season, due in no small part to the Portland Gale. A new hotel had opened in town and gotten a reputation for attracting some colorful characters. The school had recently closed due to an epidemic of whooping cough among the students. Those fortunate enough to remain unaffiliated had been encouraged by the parents and the local doctor to play on the windswept dunes at the very tip of the Cape. On my train ride up I spied a schooner pulling out of East Harbor on a strong breeze, the crew a troop of monkeys in the rigging. It was good to see some life return to the fishery.
When I arrived I found the town as I had expected, quaint, coastal, quiet. There was still some damage from the Gale but the artists had taken over some of the abandoned fishery buildings. The smell of oil paints mingled with the brine of the sea and the many years of catches. I noted that the town smelled like change. I checked in at the Pilgrim House, left my bag on the bed and went back out into town armed only with my notebook, my credentials and a list of names.
Fat lot of good that did me. The list of names produced four slammed doors, three scaling knives dangerously waggled in my direction and seven polite sighs of declination. Providence was not with me in Provincetown. The people had closed ranks, irritated by my mainland accent and lack of care-worn fish stench. My only reprieve came from the baker who informed me through his thick and tangy Portuguese accent that I best head out toward "The Ends of the Earth". There I would find the schoolmarm shepherding her students on the windswept sand. In those days everybody had it in their heads that fresh air kept illness at bay. Times have changed; we believe in alpaca dream-catchers now.
So off I went, confident of the advise of foreign strangers. Bravely I went, ruining my shoes on the sand and fraying my summer sweater in the salt-spray roses. My confidence was sorely misplaced for when I arrived at the End the Earth there was no sign of the children or the schoolmarm. I would have rushed right back to the baker to give him a piece of my mind where it not for the starkly literal interpretation of the term "Ends of the Earth" that I was faced with.
Instead of the famous lighthouse and spit of seal-bothered sand thrusting nobly out into the sea, dividing the Atlantic from the Bay I saw a sea of stars. It was as if the night sky had replaced the water. The wind had stopped dead; the scent of lamb kebab hung like so many broken promises. My feet moved of their own accord, my mind blank and abuzz with wonder. I stood at edge of the sandbar as waves of space lapped at my ankles, strands of stars became entangled in the fabric of my pants. A large wave tackled me and I learned that the night was salty and had a strong undertow.
I turned to leave but found that the Cape was gone, all was night-sea. Below me the sands were retreating and I found myself first treading water, then sinking into the night. So I began my swim. Astute, loyal, savant-like readers will recognize this as the opening anecdote of my bestselling memoir. Less keen observers will no doubt glean that this was the beginning of my career at Planasthai. The sea of night would bring me to the brink of the "War of the Frabulous"(sic), infiltration of the hospitality of The Wayfinder's Communal Baby Shower Society, and famously into the manly, gaseous arms of the love of my life Guxlias The Haunted Nebula. The Golden Age of Journalism would flower while I was recruited by Buxom Pennywise to record the goings on of the Kingdom of Lunchmeat.
That's the trouble with news outlets these days you see. Their editors are too young, dry behind the ears, unwilling to step out into the uncertain sea of Lady Journalism. They are too uncertain to snap stellar fish and learn the languages of the Great Pelagic Intelligentsia! Other news outlets are content to drink in the milk of human kindness and bathe regularly, fat and sheeplike. Planasthasi is like the persona of the youthful me that I have just recounted for you in rambling anecdote. Boldly stumbling! Wondering! Guileless! Unafraid!
Good fortune is upon thee our dear readers for you are one of the privileged subscribers to Planasthai. Your eyes are blessed by our acid-free parchment.
Sunlight clears the rot!