29 September 2005
I don't believe anything any more.
Is it a function of getting old and cynical?
Is it the fault of Nixon and Watergate, which changed forever the "awe" that surrounded the presidency and made us realize that just maybe we didn't know the whole truth about what is going on in our country or in the world?
Is it the Internet, which is, in its own way, as sensationalistic at the National Enquirer, web site contradicting web site, the ability to find support for whatever your position is?
Is it the 24/7 media coverage, with such a need for filler material and trumping the opposition that anybody with any connection, however tenuous or vague, to whatever is the big story of the day is put on screen and treated with the same respect as the experts in the field. (And who are the "experts"? Everybody's credentials sound so...credible.)
Is it an atmosphere where nobody in the public eye is able to admit a mistake, to say "I was wrong"?, to apologize? Where everybody has to point fingers at everybody else and the buck stops nowhere?
I sat here listening to Michael Brown--good ol' Brownie who did such a heck of a job in Louisiana--in his meeting with a congressional committee, answering (sort of) questions about what went wrong. I heard him pointing fingers at everybody but himself. I heard him say that he sleeps just fine at night.
Then I heard a commentator mention that Brown is still on the White House payroll and as an employee of the White House, his comments would still be screened through the White House.
Truth? Nice sound byte? Fabrication?
Hell, I don't know.
I listen to numbers from Iraq. I hear stories from returning soldiers, proud of the job they are doing. I read blogs of soldiers there, who feel they need to expose the "truth" about what it's really like there--not a pretty sight. I read about news suppression.
I hear the government talk about what a good job we are doing, how we are changing the face of Iraq. I read blogs from Iraqis filled with rage for the occupation of their country.
I hear from newscasters I have come to respect that there was murder and rape and looting in New Orleans; I hear from government officials that it never happened, that reports were distorted. I read blogs of people who were there who say that the newscasters are terrible people who lie to the public. I listen to interviews with evacuees who say it was worse than reported.
Who to believe?
I read columnists who write things that inflame me, and I listen to Walt who tells me why they don't have it quite right
I've reached saturation. Just don't care any more. Go away, all of you and leave me alone. I don't want to care about the suffering people in the Gulf Coast. I don't want to care about the plight of the people in Iraq. I don't want to care about whether Ellen and Shelly can get married or not. I want to put my head in the sand and keep it there until I get to leave this life and, if I'm lucky, finally find out who was telling the truth and who was lying.
But that's the problem.
I can't do that.
I do care. I care very much whether Ellen and Shelly can marry. I'm deeply concerned about the people in the south and in the country(-ies) we are occupying.
When it reaches the point where Jon Stewart, who openly admits to presenting "faux news" (at least he's honest!) is the only newscaster I really trust, things have gotten very, very bad.
Two years ago at this time I was in Australia with Peggy, who takes no newspaper and watches no news program. My only exposure to the world beyond Perth was in 3 minutes that it took us to drive to the park to run the dogs, if the radio personalities happened to be commenting on the news at the time we were in the car.
It was a wonderful time. I was more relaxed than I've
been before or since.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Would you buy a used car from this man?