NEW PALTZ — SUNY New Paltz professor Howard Good’s latest book, The Drunken Journalist: The Biography of a Film Stereotype, has recently been published by Scarecrow Press.
According to Good, who has taught journalism at New Paltz since 1985, there is a long and complicated history to the prevalent film stereotype of the “drunken journalist.” He said, “My book delves into where it began and how it developed and why it has persisted for so long.”
Good not only traces the evolution of the stereotype from its beginnings in 19th-century popular literature to its enshrinement in Hollywood films, but also reviews the shifting definitions of alcoholism from colonial days to the present.
“What this stereotype signifies in our culture in any given time depends largely on the prevailing concept of habitual drinking,” explained Good. “When alcoholism was considered a moral vice, rather than a disease, the ‘drunken journalist’ symbolized the corrupt power of the press. But once the disease concept of alcoholism began to take hold in the 1940s and 1950s, the symbolic meaning became increasingly ambiguous.”
Among films Good examines in his book are old classics such as The Front Page, CitizenKane and Meet John Doe, and newer classics including Network, All the President’s Men and Absence of Malice.
Good, coordinator of the SUNY New Paltz Journalism Program and a former newspaper editor, has published five previous books, including Diamonds in the Dark: America, Baseball, and the Movies (1997) and Girl Reporter: Gender, Journalism, and the Movies (1998). Additionally, he has published numerous poems, essays and scholarly articles.
Good is in the process of writing Media Ethics Goes to the Movies with Michael Dillon of Duquesne University. Intended for use in college courses in media ethics, this book will be published by Greenwood Press/Praeger Publishers. He is the originator of the media ethics course at New Paltz.
Good has a bachelor’s degree from Bard College, a master’s degree from the University of Iowa, and a doctoral degree from the University of Michigan. He is vice president of the Highland Central School District Board of Education. He and his wife, Barbara, have four children.