I woke up this morning and had to ask myself “who am I” and “what world do I live in?”
Already I feel assaulted by life racing by at a pace faster than I can live it and wrap my mind around it. Last night (or rather earlier this morning), I finally fell asleep in the middle of a Humphrey Bogart movie on TCM. Chelsea Manning was going to be a visiting fellow at Harvard and I had read a long article about her in the “NYT Magazine.” Hillary Clinton had spoken her truth (and it seemed pretty pragmatic and sane to me) on “Maddow.” I had decided after reading the latest Lindsey Graham backed attempt at a GOP revision of the Affordable Care Act that – after a day of counseling Berniecrats on Twitter to accept incremental change because “incrementally” is the way life is lived – to hell with it. Why not demand single payer after all? Because it was clear to me that no matter what the citizens tell them we want in terms of our “social” security, the GOP is trying to commit abortion on the healthcare system and eventually leave the poorest among us without access to medical attention. To me that is immoral. And I had just heard James Mason as Gustav Flaubert intone in “Madame Bovary” that “a morality which has no room for truth is no morality at all” – or something to that effect.
A mere four hours later (no, that is not enough sleep for a senior), Manning is disinvited, Trump is back to tweeting about securing the borders due to another terrorist attack in London (probably without checking with his national security team about whether or not he was giving away classified intel) and…I had to stop for a moment and catch my breath. The world was moving faster than I could keep up.
If those who like what I have to say and follow me on Twitter read what you write in the profile lines, they know I was a journalist an eon ago for what now seems like an eternal six years – and that I love marshmallow peeps. When I was a reporter, there was a reliability to the news. You could reliably pick up your hometown paper and any other in the area and they would pretty much contain the same basic facts, because no way would your editor sit for letting you get “scooped.” The reader may detect a difference in slant, depending on what was emphasized in the first few paragraphs. But the largest difference was the skill with which the writing was done and the reliability of the quotes.
Now we live in a universe that gives us so many “alternative” facts that parsing which are real and which are not has become a full-time job on its own. Our “selection” data is mined by computers somewhere in Silicon Valley, or Denver, or DC that puts in front of us information we are more likely to choose based on the “clicks” we have made in the past, rather than on a human’s editorial decision making process about what news we get to read based on how many inches of ad space it has to fit around on any given day.
I can’t decide which way was better, because both are flawed.
I am left to wonder if there has ever been a time since Gutenberg that our brains processed information and reached its own conclusions. Maybe when the monks copied the manuscripts and kept them away from everyone but the royalty and the Church? Maybe not even then.
Oh, did I mention that the North Koreans let another missile fly over Japan yesterday? Have they done it again? I didn’t get that far on my Twitter feed.
As far as I did get, I knew I had to stop a minute and just live and breathe. And put this jumble that has become my mind into words on what is now virtual paper. I need at least the “virtual” reality of seeing the black type against a white background, spelling out the things I have been thinking. I needed to hear the bird tweeting outside my window as day dawns – a tweeting that is primal and natural and real.