I've written more than a million words, and only one article I've ever written had a demonstrable on anything. Did it comfort the afflicted? Did it afflict the comfortable? No, it helped pressure the city of Chicago to improve the Park District golf courses.
Big fucking whoop, right? Well, what's the biggest measurable change your writing has effected?
Why? Because people aren't doing what he's telling them to do:
I've done this for 20 years. I started out by warning people about
General Motors, and my whole career has been trying to say the emperor
has no clothes here, and we better do something about it. I've been having to sort of knock my head against the wall here for 20
years saying these things.
Two years ago, I tried to get the health-care debate going, and it did
eventually, and now where are we? We may not even have it. What am I
supposed to do at a certain point?
You're supposed to … keep making documentaries, fool! What else are you going to do fatass, join the NBA? This is what you do. It's the only thing anybody will pay you to do.
And you know as well as I do—just like any professional communicator who promises his or her work will lead to demonstrable results—that communication is faith: The belief that what you're dishing out is providing comfort to someone who needs it, is upsetting someone who has it coming, and is doing some good, somehow, somewhere, some way.
And anybody who demands more control than that from mass communications either has a dictator complex or is trying to promote a movie.