Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Burning it at Both Ends

You know you're a writer when you light up a cigarette at the beginning of each paragraph. If you get through it - the paragraph that is - before the cigarette, you're plagiarizing. At least that seems to define my writing style. It's not much high-octane, pedal to floor; it's more like a trained meditation - inhaling the fresh-aire scent of bull shit.

In some fields, it doesn't matter where you step, you're going to plant one foot squarely into the gooey middle. It's the stench of familiarity, and the feel that I'm home. I've already stepped in it, too far out to turn back; what can I do? I wipe my shoes as best I can and keep going.

My posts are pure opinion. I link to interesting articles and sites throughout most, but it's to keep my brain straight on the theme. It's my take on whatever. And it's all bullshit really.

Maybe I should put this post in my 'about me' profile as a precursor to everything I write. I'm biased by my own observations and insights. And maybe, that's the way the "Media" is. Everyone is talking bias. Nothing is as "fair and balanced" as we all would wish it to be. But, what's truth?

Statistics can be skewn to fit any side of any debate. The trick lies in the bullshit equation. How well can you present your stats. What's been lost in the public eye is our own biases. We're such a letigious socity we're teaching our kids to look for loopholes. It's getting to the point that we have to sign liability waivers before we can drop our kids off for a slumber/swimming party.

Everyone is out to be patted on the back or wallet these days. Some get off on writing letters to the editor ranting their expletive viewpoints because the local paper chose to run Lance Armstrong's rebuttal against performance enhancing drugs above the story about Cindy Sheehan's Crawford protests. Dditorials will be editorials...if you're too ignorant to understand those are supposed to be opinionated and controversial, then maybe you need to go back to reading Dick and Jane.

I thought about all this last night after having been asleep for a couple hours. Bad journalism does run rampant in this country. When you're being paid to be invisible, it's hard for the public to identify you. Day-in and day-out, you jump all over town tracking down sources and information and documents to write a perfect story to turn-in by 5 o'clock, your editor tells you it's not good enough and tells you to re-write it...in five or ten minutes. It takes 10 positives to take away a single negative.

I'm not justifying bad reporting. I'm trying to understand why we take such pleasure in exposing a "biased" story. Is it because the reported facts speak against what we individually believe? Every time it happens, it's just someone who's not getting enough attention at their job or in their bedroom looking to shine in that 15-minute spotlight.

I don't know what the answer is. I'm just telling my computer how I see it from my office chair. Maybe it's the two-foot seperation. Or maybe it's that I smoke too much when i'm reading or writing. I take that moment to ash my cigarette, look away from the plasma glow and black script and remember that I'm killing myself - obviously a sign of imperfection. An addiction that I can only fault myself for having.

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