About 12 years ago, I weighed 242 lbs.
I am 5-feet and 1-inch tall. (I cannot figure out what that is metrically as I am metrically-challenged. Thank you to Anita in her comment. Henceforth, I will refrain from speaking metrically.) Pretty small by most standards but a veritable giant in my family. I’m a little taller than everyone else. Even a tad taller than was my father.
As my grandfather always said, “an inch is a mile” ~ he was referring to driving, mind you. 🙂
Facts and Truths…
Why am I talking about this now at the beginning of the second decade of our relatively new century?
Because the craft of journalism as I know it is dramatically changing with breathtaking speed ~ and it’s altering our abilities to understand and perceive our truths and place in this world. It’s not only modifying our perceptions but the perceptions of children about what’s real and virtual. Reality and Fantasy.
We’re all so tremendously influenced by the media. In every way. That’s frightening, when you think of the relationship between fantasy and reality and the power of the press. Driven, for the most part, not by ideals, but by greed. In many cases… I don’t want to seem totally cynical, because I’m not. At the same time, I know how creative advertising can be and what it’s ultimate aims are. In most cases. There are always exceptions, like this.
Public and Personal Sanity. We’re all Next to Normal…
We all have our own issues, perceptions, beliefs and values. No matter what name you want to give them or how you choose to handle them.
My blood boils when some headline writer diagnoses someone ~ usually someone who has been charged with committing a violent crime ~ as having a mental illness. It’s yellow journalism. Sensational. It’s grabby. Probably inaccurate. And… it is also a personal assault against me and everyone who is working hard on his or her emotional recovery. (I detest labels of any kind, including “mental illness.”)
Has that headline writer ever met that person? Does he or she know the back story?
It’s so easy to dump on us. We are perceived to have no voice. Or no believable voice. But wait a minute…
Today, thanks to the social media, everyone can have a voice. How do you know who’s even close to the real story?
This arrogance feeds the ignorance and fear that are at the root of the systemic prejudice and discrimination in our society, by too many people against me and you and anyone who has been labeled with a psychiatric diagnosis. (But that’s another story and believe me, I’m going to address it more here in 2011. The most difficult facet of being “diagnosed” or labeled is internalizing that label. And furthermore, we’re all so multi-faceted. If you want labels, we all have dozens of them and having some sort of “difficulty” is just one facet of the totality of whom each of us is ~ we’re complicated. Isn’t that great?)
I think like a print journalist though I write a blog…
I love the interactivity of the blogosphere, but I also believe in accountability ~ and that line between truth and fact and lie, and what’s real and fantasy is blurring in the new media and the old media ~ playing catch-up and quickly becoming interdependent on each other. How do you know that what you’re seeing and reading is the real story? How accurate is it? How do you decide where to go for your truths?
It can drive anyone who stops to consider all this quite literally mad. But then, who has time to stop?
We all have our own truths. But they’re relative…
That’s why I am telling you all this.
Do you know that Reporting 101 was cancelled at Ryerson University’s School of Journalism last year? What does that tell you? Think about it.
Everyone’s a journalist now. Read the blogs. Read the newspapers. Watch the news or listen to it. Where are the truths and what are the facts? Can you tell? Even pictures lie, because they’re doctored and photoshopped and digitized.
In some ways, I think all this is great, if you’re in any way a critical thinker. I think WikiLeaks is the most important story of 2010 and that Julian Assange deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. He is a personal hero of mine (not the only one) and I believe he should be an international hero, celebrated and applauded wherever he goes.
Instead, he’s now raising funds for his defense against a trumped up charge of rape, which is obviously absurd. People are afraid of him because they want their secrets. International diplomacy? That’s insane. Politicians with power forget who gave them that power.
You and me.
There should be no secrets. (That doesn’t mean there should be no privacy or confidentiality. You make your choices. You decide how to handle your truths. You’ll change. You’ll evolve. You’ll see. You also have to live with the weight of your decisions about all this.)
Secrets can be dangerous…
I believe that if you want world peace, let everyone “come out”… Then you’ll see that we’re all human beings first. No one is any better than anyone else, potentially. I hate the “them and us” mentality of, say, the medical professions.
This reflection is also a requiem. No resolutions for me. They set you up for failure.
Just dreams and hopes and working hard towards making them happen.
To be continued…