Wednesday, September 24, 2008

it's a neighborly day in the beauty wood

The Crime Of Committing Journalism

what people like my midwestern family tend to forget: facts can be verified and there is an acceptable protocol for doing so. i think what they must believe is that experts are full of shit because everything can be twisted, so, just go with your gut, because the truth takes too much digging.

they're partly right. i remember being extremely frustrated in the early 90's just starting out in the world, because i'd been born and bred in republican waters and was basically faithful, but _knew_ something was amiss. however, i had no world experience, no compounded knowledge of events over the course of decades, no personal observation of cause and effect, and no way to check facts without running to the public library ten times a day, which i also couldn't do. i also had no teacher, no role model who wanted to take the time to help me make sense of things. the things my dad preached at the dinner table made sense to a point, then abruptly stopped making sense (just like everything else he did). so without the internet, i was stuck. i had no idea what to believe. all i knew was that if i had to choose sides, which in a two party system you must, the democrats usually seemed the lesser of evils to me, and made more sense overall. but i distrusted my instincts because i was inexperienced and had no way to easily check facts or even verify the evidence supporting rumors.

and then along came the internet. i got my first computer in 1999, my first real computer upon which i could do searches adn other computer-type stuff (before that i had a basic black and white screen computer which i could send email on but do nothing else, thanks to a genius friend named carl who rigged it up for me).

and lo and behold there's a box you can type a question in: and all kinds of answers come back. google.

and also, by that time, i'd been listening to All Things Considered for about 10 years. so i'd had plenty of news, and was beginning to see the writing on the wall. in my fuzzy vision things were beginning to take shape. i also had some life experience, so i was beginning to know the kind of things people said, and how they looked, when they were lying. as any cop will tell you, it's a skill you've gotta have for your own safety. it's a skill my dad truly does not have, i think. which might explain why he believes the lies my stepmom tells him about me; but also, he is a liar himself. so it's really complicated as to who's zooming who between the two of them. but what i do know is that they both fervently support Bush and all Red White and Blue republicans, who they believe are the only ones who are red white and blue, and not just red.

the rest of us are "dangerous" "Liberals" who are trying to "destroy our country."

a friend who lives in japan tells me the US is still a place where people enjoy relative personal freedom. which gives me hope.

anyway, so for a long time i've really been trying to educate myself as to what is going on. it's a nasty compulsion at times because there's only so much i can do about the Big Bad World. i start thinking about all the things i can't do to influence the big picture, and forget to tend to my own little life. but at least i'm interested.

and the education my dad paid 60 thousand dollars for didn't teach me the things he expected me to learn, and neither has life itself. he was definite on wanting me educated. but what i've learned is not something he wants to hear, so he puts his hands over his ears and sings, "la la la la la la la" all day long, and sends me a book for my birthday labeling my beliefs fascist. "just ignore the title," he wrote in an email.

i wrote him an email with the subject line, "you're an asshole," and said, just ignore the subject line.

i didn't send it, though.

this is why older men are so great and tim in particular is amazing. he's got 20 years on me, of watching the world go by, and his analyses and references are devastating. he can truly remember the same facts which fall out of my head, because in the end i'm less cerebral and more intuitive and can't argue my way out of a paper bag. but he can. my political knowledge is deeply informed by the things he's taught me. if i could have anything in the world, would i want him to be 20 years younger so we would have more time together? i'm not sure i would.

anyway, it's another beautiful day in the neighborhood, and it's time to go see Io the parrot.

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