The summer issue of the Ryerson Review of Journalism provides a glimpse into the state of narrative writing in North America. A great many stories in its pages open with reporters reporting on themselves: “I’m standing at reception in the X hotel”; “I first meet X outside the Y”; “Standing inside X, I’m watching Y”; “I’m sitting in a government office in X, waiting for Y”; “I’m standing inside the lobby of X, looking for Y.” We read these sentences and we can hear the imaginary cameras running. Other stories pretend to the “objective” third person (“X stands in front of a class”; “Y stands in the middle of the room”), as if to demonstrate that in this world, first and third persons alike are to be found standing, watching, sitting, meeting, looking—and never doing anything. Several stories begin with It, in violation of the valuable prohibition against the ungendered pronoun given by Harold Ross, founding editor of The New Yorker (“I never read a book that begins with the word ‘It’,” he said to E. B. White a few months before his death), and paragraphs beginning with It is and There are can be found throughout the magazine. Symptomatic then of literary journalism in the pages of the Ryerson Review are pronouns that don’t mean anything, combined with verbs that don’t do anything. Narrative has been usurped by the enumerative and the materials of narrative reduced to mere information. Another name for this genre is creative non-fiction, the wearying effects of which must be suffered by readers, but apparently not by editors who promote it and teachers who teach it. An analogous enumerative method can be found in the fiction pouring out of creative writing schools: elaborate notes for movies that will never be made. Robert Louis Stevenson, one of the great narrative writers, said in 1893 in a letter to Henry James: “I hear people talking, I feel them acting . . . my two aims may be described as: 1st, War to the adjective; 2nd, Death to the optic nerve.” Two years later, on December 28, 1895, the Lumiere brothers mounted the first public screening of a moving picture.