On Fear and Frenzy


They illicit so much in the human psyche, and at wit both add to and detract from the human condition.




To me, these words signify a certain level of the latter.  When carried out, they most certainly detract not only from the human condition, but detract the condition itself.  You’ve heard, I’m sure, the adage that there is a cure for what ails ya (but death, for me and I think most, is hardly a “cure”, even if the curing process is soon to follow).

I’d much prefer, I think, to remain upright and taking nourishment.  But then, I will have that darned global warming to worry about.




Words that conversely convey warmth, caring and safety. When worthily used (and more, in deed rather than merely spoken) they demonstrate to the naked ape that he (or she) is to find comfort here – a place to nest and to cling.

“We are from the department of human services, and we are here to help”.

Now, wait a minute.  What happened to all that warmth, suddenly?  Is that  a chill I feel?

P.T. Barnum is widely attributed with the words “there is a sucker born every minute, and two to take his money”.

You ever have the feeling you are that sucker?  Politicians will use these kinds of words to sway us…to cajole us, and to manipulate us.

Are we mere emotional putty, to be molded by the slick words?  Or are we more?

Is it possible that we can rise above the emotions and actually “think”, or will that be too much a bother?

I think we have it in us, but thinking is a curious thing.

For instance, you can think yourself an astronaut, strap dynamite to your butt for your propellant, and you’ll leave the forensic experts scratching their heads and wondering why a terrorist would target his own backside and an empty field.

It takes more than simply stating, or simply believing.  There is a reality in this world, and it does not matter what perspective those who document it take – the reality of the facts do not change.

The insiders (his friends, if he had any) will always know that Mission Commander Quixote died in his misbegotten quest to get to the moon on the cheap. History, however, will not be so kind.

So, the words, you see, can hurt.  They do record, and future generation may base their decisions on a corruption of actual history.

In what they have done to Palin, a perversion, really.

We have minds, and we are able to look closely at choices. As a teacher once told me “read between the lines”.

I am very proud of my party at this moment in our history.

I believe that Senator McCain has shown some true and inspiring wisdom in his pick of Governor Palin.  Yes, there are concepts being bantered about like a punching ball between two kids…but I think there is a distinct and utter difference – one of the kids is maturing beyond the game.

Our party, for too long, has been the brunt of vicious attacks by the media.  People act like what has happened to our President is new, but it is anything but.

“You won’t have Nixon to kick around any more.”

Remember those words?

The only thing alarming to me, right now, is that as a former journalism student (ah heck, once a student, always a student) – as a journalist (read “writer”, “logger”, “blogger”), but as one who slings the ink, I have to say that I am more than alarmed at the behavior of the media.

People have been harping on them and their ethics for some time, but this is honestly, I believe, a dividing line in history. It is an event horizon.

You will remember that the term “yellow” was attributed to journalism long ago in association with sensationalism.  If a writer could find a “hook”, something that would make the story “zing”, then he would naturally set that hook the way an angler would set one in the jaw of a big fish.

Do not mistake this.

WE are the big fish, and the angler is ready, willing and able to reel us in.

What he does with us once we are in the boat, a different matter.

The thing is, there was a delineation in the past.

Jack Anderson was once associated with this craft.  So was Walter Winchell before him. Probably goes all the way back to the boy who cried wolf.

It is nothing new.

All journalists will take a dull and lifeless story and breath life into it with some degree of blarney and “puffing it up”.

One could just say “there is a fire on eleventh” and be done with it, or zing it up a little and say “brave firemen from the 78th precinct risk life and limb as the mortar and brick plunged from the burning behemoth, leaving behind a charred and sizzling skeleton of steel”.

It is one thing to be dramatic.  People love a good story, and if it does not detract from the facts, what is the harm?  It makes for better copy, better reading, and by the way, those firemen do deserve some ink.

Now, what about the converse of this.  What happens when journalists do the same thing, only this time, they are not so kind to the firemen?

What happens when they’ve got a beef against the boys in the 40th precinct, and they choose to report the story different when they are the men on the scene?

“Tired, over-weight and restless firemen from the 40th sauntered up to the scene and resembled inanimate fireplugs more than brave civil servants as the building crumbled in a heap before their sputtering fire hoses.”

Both buildings were destroyed.  Both suffer the same amount of damage, and simply due to the words chosen, a different perspective is conveyed for the firemen.

There is a great deal of power in the pen, no doubt.

One of my favorite professors in journalism school – a lady whose voice will forever be in my conscience, she once told me to “never compromise your integrity.  Lost once, it may never be regained”.

I would have to argue with her a bit on that one.  It seems that the modern media can slander all they want, can choose sides and literally play god in an election and become, literally, that fourth (or fifth) column they so fondly believe themselves to be…and yet they are still touted somehow as having their integrity in tact.

I’m going to have trouble believing anything I read now.  I suppose this is good in one way, but then, who will I turn to in order to find differing vantages?

I say that you see it right here.

The bible is absolutely right.  There is nothing new under the sun.

Our forefathers were “pamphleteers” and in a very real way, they were the precursors to the modern media.

They slandered one another in pamphlets printed in their own basements.

So here’s my take (hope with my integrity in tow) – long live the bloggers – those modern-day pamphelteers.

We represent integrity, and for this writer, it means keeping that integrity with me through all.

Now, having said that, here is my shameless plug (endorsements are something papers will sometimes do on their editorial page)…

Senator McCain, Governor Palin – best of luck to you both.  This writer hopes (and deep down, believes) that you too will hold integrity in the highest light.

I believe our Nation is a bit wiser this morning, now that we see the muck in which the major media swims.  I only hope that a few will rise above that mire, crawl out onto the soil and live like a higher order creature – perhaps even human (but that may be too much to ask and/or expect)