Have heart.

I watched a lot of movies while I was on vacation with my parents. The full list is this: Iron Man, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Last Chance Harvey, and Good night, and good luck. Iron Man is a great movie, BB was also good, but long and troubling, Harvey was mostly adorable, but what I really want to talk about is GN,AGL.

Good night, and good luck. is a movie about Edward R. Murrow and his conflicts with Junior Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin. The history lesson is short: McCarthy founded the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and unconstitutionally tried people for Communist ties. Murrow, perceiving the illegality and immorality of the Senator's actions, did a series of specials covering the hearings on his show, See It Now. The Senator responded by attacking Murrow without refuting any of Murrow's allegations. An investigation into McCarthy and his actions occurred shortly thereafter.

The message I took away from this concerned a topic that is very prevalent today: what is good journalism? Part of this question revolves around the idea of the "purpose" of journalism. A friend ponders it here, and Andrew Sullivan often does it here. For my own part, I view the purpose of journalism as I view many things, as a spectrum, no pun intended.

On one end is objective journalism: news delivered with as little bias as possible and as accurately as possible. Most news sources attempt to deliver this type of news. The idea is that the news should be one step removed from the event, and that the reporter is a collator, or a curator, if you will. In this case, a reporter is analogous to a mapmaker - the best map is the land itself, but that doesn't fit in your pocket, on your doorstep, on your television, in your browser, so a map is made, a news story written.

On the other end is subjective journalism. I don't have a ready definition for this, so I'll give examples. Socialist newsletters are subjective journalism. Hannity is subjective journalism. Andrew Sullivan is subjective journalism. Perhaps a good word for all this is simply, Editorial. It's the word used in GN,AGL by Murrow to describe his show and his department at CBS.

Is one of these "better" than the other? Arguably, yes. If I want to find out what happened in Ghana today, I would turn to objective news. If I wanted to know how well the American economy is doing, I would turn to objective news. But say I want to know what the American far right thinks about the War on Terror: I would turn to WaPo editorials.

The assumption in answering affirmatively to that question is that news without bias, news written for as wide an audience as possible, is better news. News can still be accurate and biased. Look at John Stewart: the Daily Show is a nightly program that does a very good job of covering the daily news, but it does so with a leftist bias. MSNBC does much the same thing, albeit a lot less entertaining. Sean Hannity also does a daily program that covers the news, with a far right bias. I'm not sure entertaining is the right word, but there's my opinion showing. It's affirming. I don't hold the same beliefs, but I can sense that.

See It Now was an editorial program. The nature of the program was subjective. But it's segments on the McCarthy hearings were revolutionary. For really the first time, the media directly affected politics. Murrow's journalism was solid. It was deep. It was thought provoking. It was accurate. Was it objective? Possibly. His intentions were objective: he was trying to tell the truth.

And that's the rub. Truth is subjective. Watch the interviewhere. Both of these people believe fully that they are right. They are argueing their positions with a passion that cannot be denied. Yet the text agrees with only one of them.

Where does this put journalists? I think you can safely say that journalists should tell the news as accurately as possible. What they tell will be based on their bias. How they tell it should not be. Ideally, people should seek to consume news from multiple sources: good journalists will give out accurate news that they care about, and each news consumer will receive news from a variety of biases. That is a news world I think we could have.


There's a mural up on east 14th, it said, "Hallelujah, RIP"

I have resolved to try and face more of my fears, and to try to work past them as best I can. In some cases, this means steeling up and doing things that I want to do, but am afraid to do, in other cases it means telling people how I feel and trying to get them to work with me, and in still others it means doing things that I don't want to do at the moment, but should. Some of these cases overlap, in ... some cases.

Or something like that.

I would really like to stop being afraid of things, afraid of people; or, really, I want this gutfeeling of apprehension to go away. Living is no fun when your insides strangle you.


The blue light was my blues, and the red light was my mind

A checklist of sorts, or maybe, a really, really long mastercard commercial, from my vacation:

Hours of guitar played: 3-4
Number of times I played Love In Vain Blues: 3-4
Number of mochas drunk: 2
Number of poems written: 2
Number of beers had: about 5
Glasses of Syrah: about ... 5
Glasses of Chardonnay: ... about five
Nights spent: 4
Fears faced: many
Fears defeated: maybe not that many
Books read finished: 3, working on a 4th
Friends missed: a lot of them
S'mores eaten: 0
Mountains circled: 1
Chocolate Mouse-es ate: 2
Trips to the swimming pool: 3
Scrapes from the swimming pool: 1
Mild Sunburn: check
Things jonesed for: 4
Trips yearned for: 3
Days I wanted to come home: all of them
Days I wanted to see someone special: all of them
Days I didn't want to leave: all of them
What could be the last vacation with I take with my family in a long time: absolutely wonderful, and, yes, priceless

More starting later this week. Real journalism, not being a theater person, things like that.


Maria came from Nashville with a suitcase in her hand, I always kinda sorta wished I looked like Elvis

I seem to always be saying this, but, "it's been a while." Summer is bad for blogging. I spend too much time hanging out with friends, and as those friends are mostly the people that read this blog, it's hard to be motivated to write. That, and when I'm hanging out with friends, I'm not doing anything interesting that can't be tracked in another manner. Like, a month or so ago, a friend was housesitting for some folks with a chicken coop, so some friends and I went over to see the chickens. I took some pictures of them playing with chickens, and then put them up on facebook. That was the end of that; it felt like there wasn't any need to write about how fun it was playing with chickens, when the folks in those pictures are the people who read this the most. :-\

In addition to summer not being good for blogging, I've been in a different sort of mood since school ended. I've had a lot less desire to share generally (as opposed to individually), and a desire to be quieter. I've been listening to a lot more indie and folk music this summer, which is quite different from the punk and hardcore binge I went on at the end of the schoolyear, or the hip hop binge I went on last year. I've spent a lot more time thinking about my problems, and a lot less time writing about them, which means less poetry. The same is true for events in my life, which means fewer blog posts.

Spring semester was very intense for me, academically and emotionally. Academically, I was very busy, doing homework, planning for the coming year, planning for the future, writing papers, writing code, writing poetry. But I also made new friends, forged stronger friendships, missed some people more than is usually healthy, forgot how to breathe, and remembered just in time to fly away.

This year I lost some independence, and gained some self-esteem, and realized both of those things are important to me. I realized that what I want isn't always compatible with current situations - something that is completely contrary to the lessons I learned as an only child in a supportive household. I was taught, all through my life, you can be anything you want, you can do anything you wish to. I never thought that I wouldn't know what I wanted. I also never learned that sometimes what you want involves others - it takes more than one egg to make an omelette; some things cannot be accomplished alone, and sometimes others don't want the same things you do. And... in that case, you *can't* do whatever you want. Sometimes people won't be there to support your endeavors.

And sometimes, people will be there. The people who love you should inspire and support you, and you should do the same for them, out of love for their dreams.

I'm coming home again.