Saturday, 23 July 2005

What Matters...Musings After September 11

Like most people in the U.S. and around the world, the events of September 11, 2001 were shocking, horrifying, debilitating. Whether we understood the political positions of the perpetrators of the attacks or not, it was incomprehensible that anyone would do what had been done. Here were some thoughts I wrote just a week after that horrible day.

As individuals, do we matter? Are our lives important? Are we special?

The tragic events that took place on September 11, 2001 have taught us in a terribly painful way that each of us matters...our lives truly are important. As we watched television and read news reports about people who are searching for their loved ones, we learned that those who died and who remain missing did, indeed, matter. The people who are mourned by their friends and families probably did not give much thought to whether they were important. They probably didn’t think of themselves as special. But they mattered to the grieving family and friends they left behind. To those who mourn them and to those still searching, they were everything. Their lives did have a purpose. They made a difference. There was someone they touched and someone whose life they changed.

Do we matter? We all matter to someone, something. Our lives are important to those we love and to who love us.

Media Musings

Nancy Grace, a CNN anchor on legal affairs issues, comes across to me as a shrieking, screeching, loud-mouthed ambulance-chaser. Her style is unlike that of an investigative reporter; instead, she seems to be proud to be an opinionated bitch who will brook no babble about anyone's point of view but her own. When compared to people on CNN who are actually journalists, she seems to be a parody of journalism. How odd that CNN, which prides itself on being an unbiased source of news, would hire her. Maybe fair and balanced isn't any more important to CNN than it is to FOX News.

On the other hand, Jim Lehrer of PBS is one of the most even-handed anchors on any news program. I sometimes find myself wishing he would play hard-ball with some of the right-wing fruitcakes he interviews, but then realize I want him to be fair and unbiased with even the nut-cases of the outter-reaches of Republicanism.

It's interesting that PBS and NPR, which are so often accused of liberal bias, seem to be so conscious of their journalistic tell both sides of virtually every story...but most other networks appear to be paid media outlets for partisan politics.

I'm just as repulsed by media that serves as apologists for politicians whose views are closer to mine than today's Republican party. Media should no more rally 'round the Democratic party than it should the Republicans.

But, perhaps, I'm stuck in a time when "the media" was easy to identify. Today, it's hard to say "the media" is failing to ask the hard questions because we don't always know who the media is. Is it ABC, CBS, NPR, FOX, NBC, New York Times, Washington Post, etc.? Or is it anyone with access to television broadcast rights, access to a printing press, or access to the Internet? When the definition broadens, it's easy to see that competition may be forcing what I refer to as "main stream media" to start taking shortcuts or to lower its standards, simply to compete for audience.

And this takes me to the question of who is the media and what responsibilities does the media have to the public at large? I do not have all the answers. I have plenty of opinions, though, and I'll share those, by and by.

Thursday, 21 July 2005

Geezers and Geezerhood

I am a geezer. I've earned the right to use the title, through time and trials and tribulations and I'm proud of it. Some people, as they get older, get sensitive about their age...and they don't want people to know how old they are. That strikes me as more than a little irrational. I, on the other hand, relish my age and getting more of it. The health issues that tend to come with age, of course, are negative aspects of getting older, but on the whole, getting older is a good thing. I intend to keep doing it.

As one ages, one tends to accumulate wisdom. I like to think I have accumulated some wisdom over the years and I hope to accumulate quite alot more. You can read that any way you like it; I read it that I want to live for a long time to come.

Here are some of my definitions that relate to geezer and geezerhood. I plan to write more about geezerhood and I hope to sell geezer-friendly products from a website soon. If you have geezer-friendly products to sell, let's talk...I am willing to share the wealth we generate by selling your products. OK, back to the issue at hand:

Geezerhood: The state of being a geezer

Geezer: One who has attained adequate age, experience, and eccentricity

Characteristics of Geezers:
1) Sharp witted
2) Opinionated (very, very opionated) but tolerant (within limits)
3) Adventurous, but not stupid about it
4) Adamantly opposed to religious intolerance and religious zealotry
5) Tending toward liberalism, but possessing hidden conservative agendas