by Robert Boyd
Douglas Britt-Darby (née Douglas Britt) is apparently trying real hard to get himself fired by The Houston Chronicle. Evidently he would like to use the newspaper as a forum to speak truth to power in Houston, as they say. The Houston Chronicle has long an instrument of power in Houston. It was bought by Jesse H. Jones in 1926, then ownership was transferred to the Houston Endowment in 1937. The Houston Endowment was Jones's own personal non-profit. The Houston Endowment exists today as a grant-making non-profit endowment. Glasstire is a Houston Endowment grantee, for example. So speaking truth to power has never really been The Chron's thing.
Somehow, this is all connected to an extended roadtrip Britt-Darby will be taking, and to his personal history as an escort. I don't quite understand the connection, but I suspect all will be revealed on his video-blog, Reliable Narratives. One thing he wants to know is, does his past as an escort (and a tweaker) make you think differently about his criticism? In other words, do you think his criticism is less valid if you know this part of his personal history? But writers often have complicated personal histories (see The Night of the Gun by David Carr, for example), so why should it? The work is what counts.
Update: The Houston Press reports that Britt has been let go by the Chronicle for the duration of his road trip/performance, but is free to reapply for the job when he gets back.