my_window_seat: (Default)
Thank goodness for something else to focus on besides my personal failures.

The Battle Royale in the Ongoing Plea for Ethics in Journalism Continues.

Too bad I didn't use, oh, about a hundred less words than I did.

::headdesk::

=================================

Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2005 13:43:38 -0400
From: "Slate Pressbox" <slate.pressbox@gmail.com>
To: "D." <*******@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: Meth Article is Clever but Irrelevant

Ms. M****,

I'll ignore your sarcasm just this once.

Ask yourself, who created the meth mess that we have today. And what
measure would you have the govt take to eliminate meth.

Jack

=================================
And my ever-verbose response:
=================================

Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2005 22:29:33 -0700 (PDT)
From: "D." <*******@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: Meth Article is Clever but Irrelevant
To: "Slate Pressbox" <slate.pressbox@gmail.com>


> Ask yourself, who created the meth mess that we have
> today. And what
> measure would you have the govt take to eliminate
> meth.

My first reaction to your questions is that the 'meth
mess' isn't immediately attributable to anyone other
than the individuals who choose to make and take it,
and who influence others to do so as well.

However, I think that an economy that reduces the
individual's chance to make a living wage probably
doesn't help the situation, nor does the increasing
amount of hamstringing in the educational system - if
young people get the idea from looking around them
that their future holds little promise, how much
incentive is there for them to stay in school and
'just say no' in the first place, particularly if they
have parents who are already users or they live
surrounded by other peers and adults who are?

The thing is, I'm not waiting around for the
government to change all that. Asking me what the
government should do to 'eliminate meth' is probably
one of the silliest questions I've heard lately -
seriously, Prohibition, anyone? The government's job
isn't to legislate against human stupidity - it's to
protect individual rights and freedoms, up and until
an individual chooses to use their freedom to infringe
on the rights of another person to deny them of
theirs.

However, the government's job is also to care for the
needy and the helpless in society. The tradional view
of liberals is that this is done by stressing
individual responsibility and emphasizing the quality
of life of the individual in an effort to strengthen
society as a whole. The traditional view of
conservatism is that this same responsibility lies
with the community, and that individuals should
subsume a certain amount of their personal power to
officials that they deem worthy of the responsibility
that those in power have to society.

As I see it, neither of these views seems to be a
leading concern of the current administration. There
appears, to me, to be a hegemony of power and
influence concerned solely with its own interests, and
no real thought for those in society who are
struggling - with debt, with lack of education, and as
a by-product, with an increased need to find escapism
in drugs. The court system, which was meant to be
government's tool to provide objective standards by
which it used power, and force when necessary, to
preserve individual freedoms, is now a tangled mess of
precedent and judicial activism that those with
greater resources can use to their own advantage, and
which those without those resources are penalized by
without hope of receiving assistance in improving
themselves and having the opportunity to make ammends,
learn from their mistakes, and become functional and
contributing members to society in the future.

As I said before getting sidetracked, I'm not counting
on the government to solve the problem. I don't think
that that's a reasonable or rational approach. I do
believe in the necessity of continuing to *try*
however. I don't think that there's a permanent
solution, but neither do I think that that's a reason
to shrug and ignore it.

But I'm not waiting for an amorphous outside force -
the government - to come in and sweep it all up and
make it all right. I believe that, like the president
you fingered for having a benny-abuse issue, that I
should "ask not what my country should do for me, but
what I can do for my country." If that means simply
being aware of the problems, and combatting them in
the only way I know how - on a personal, individual
level - then that's what there is for me to do. I try
to help people when I can, in the ways that I can. I
try to help my friends and the families of my friends.


And I try to make other people aware, not just of
problems, but of what they can do to be
problem-solvers as well.

This is where I see the role of journalism as having
the opportunity to be a force for change. You, as a
reporter, have the opportunity to inform and instruct,
and with the resources and contacts available to you,
and an audience of intelligent readers, you have the
ability to affect society for good. Not just to stun
people with facts or lull them into a sense of false
security by pooh-poohing the 'scare-mongers' - though
I don't argue your justifiable issues with Newsweek -
but you can be a source of information and truth and
can open the windows in people's brains and suggest to
them ways in which they can be actual contributing
members of their society, not just benchwarmers
criticizing those out there in play.

Be critical, yes. Be truthful, and expose those who
are taking the lazy way out by just printing bleeding
leads. But is it so much to ask that you take one
further step - to be a part of the solution, rather
than just pointing out who isn't properly pointing out
the problem?

Honestly, I'm a Bear of Very Little Brain, and the
machinations of politics more often than not go right
over my head and into the bleachers. But I do think
that the media can do more than entertain or distract
people from dealing with issues on a personal level.
I think the media can be a leading influence on
government, by making those under it aware of what
they can do when it isn't functioning properly.

I don't suppose any of that is in your job
description. But neither is what I do in mine. But
my question for you would be, isn't it when we do a
nominal bit more than what's expected of us that we
really and truly make a difference?

All Sarcasm Aside,
~D~
my_window_seat: (Default)
And for the icing on the cake - here's the response to the letter I wrote yesterday (see previous entry)

======================================

Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2005 11:50:50 -0400
From: "Slate Pressbox" <slate.pressbox@gmail.com>
To: "D." <*****@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: Meth Article is Clever but Irrelevant

Thanks for your dissenting note.

Jack

======================================

My reply:

======================================

Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2005 09:28:51 -0700 (PDT)
From: "D. " <*****@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: Meth Article is Clever but Irrelevant
To: "Slate Pressbox" <slate.pressbox@gmail.com>

No, really - thank YOU - I'll be sure to pass your
informed, thoughtful and obviously concerned views on
to the the families of the people I've personally
tried to help through this non-existant crisis. I'm
sure they'll appreciate it an awful lot.

Happy snarking, Jack.

~D~

======================================


No, thank YOU, you dissmissive, lazy fuckbag.

Great way to start my day - I was running a little short on targetless rage.
my_window_seat: (To Much of the Stupid)
Maybe it's just me, but it almost seems like a real crime to me for someone involved in something other than entertainment-related journalism to be so wasteful and dismissive of the opportunity that they have to be a real force for change in this world. I'm thinking of this because that was my reaction to Slate Magazine's article, Meth Madness at Newsweek and it actually pissed me off enough to write them a letter.

For all the good that does, I know.

It's just that I'm always offended by waste. Waste of resources, waste of energy - in this case, the waste of a writer's opportunity to affect an audience and give them information that they could actually use to make the world a better place.

No, it's much easier to, as ~R~ used to put it, be 'clever, clever, relevant never'. It's much more amusing to give the finger to Newsweek and show them up for being 'scare-mongers' - which they are, I won't argue that - than it is to provide an example of what it is that Newsweek should actually be - a magazine staffed with writers who wish to do more than sensationalize and stun their readers, maybe actually involve them in the story in a meaningful and worthwhile way. In a way that leads to a change in the American public's habit of being spectators in the Bread and Circuses parade of what we should be afraid of today.

Yeah, fuckin' hippie, I know. Well, fuck me then.

================================================
Date: Wed, 3 Aug 2005 18:50:17 -0700 (PDT)
From: "D. " <********@yahoo.com>
Subject: Meth Article is Clever but Irrelevant
To: slate.pressbox@gmail.com

Though this can be said of just about any article -
you can't please all the people all the time, of
course - I found Jack Schafer's article on 'Meth
Madness at Newsweek' offensive and shallow.

While the death count due to meth may be low by Mr.
Schafer's standards, the effects of this particular
drug are painful and terrible in the extreme, maybe
precisely because it doesn't kill as many victims but
instead allows for thousands of walking wounded. If
the author of the article had perhaps personally known
as many people as I have who have gone from being
human beings to barely sentient corpses, he might not
be so dismissive of the horror that meth causes.
There are people that I know who would perhaps be
better off dead than continuing to just barely
survive, bringing pain to themselves and their
relatives and friends who have to watch the
disintegration of a functional person into a skeleton
with little more than an appetite to carry them
forward from one day to the next.

Taking the opportunity to poke fun at Newsweek is one
thing, but the time might have been better off spent
flexing some actual journalistic muscle and going out
to maybe interview some of the victims - the users and
those who try to help them out of their use - than
just gathering statistics and making clever jibes.
Perhaps suggesting ways in which the American public
could be involved in creating a cure, in the form of
activism to change existing 'war on drugs' legislation
or providing information on treatment programs or
volunteer opportunities for those who really give a
damn about being a part of the solution instead of
just being an audience - that might have been a
valuable use of the platform that journalism provides.

Just a thought.

~D~
Albuquerque, New Mexico

================================================

Yeah. Fuck me.
my_window_seat: (Default)
Department of Education gives $240,000 to a PR firm to 'sell' the No Child Left Behind Act to minorities.

How about just putting the money where it belongs - into fucking PROGRAMS - to actually make it WORK - and THEN get the media to talk about you you !@#$%^&*() assholes?!? Huh? How many textbooks could that money have bought? How many teachers could have been assisted in paying for the additional schooling they'll need to keep their jobs? How many afterschool programs that have already been cut so that school budgets could accommodate the increased spending necessary for all this bullshit testing could have been rescusitated - while they - meaning WE THE TAXPAYERS - were paying for commercials?!?

You know what's the worst thing about this particular incident?

The Dept. of Ed. could have gotten a buttload of publicity for free.

You know how?

By making this craptacular program viable, functional, and useful to the teachers.

Because teachers, when they believe in something, will go over and above board to sell it to the parents.

Anyone who knows any teachers knows that these people - the good teachers, anyway - communicate with their students' parents. Just about every teacher I've ever known that was worth their salt would go out of their way to make sure that parents have all the information they need to make wise choices for their kids.

FUCK this system, this establishment.

I'm going to get my education - and take it somewhere where it might actually be useful.
my_window_seat: (SS Icon)
The things I miss by not watching the news....

Paige calls NEA 'terrorist organization'


Paige: "...as one who grew up on the receiving end of insensitive remarks, I should have chosen my words better."

Ya think?

::headdesk::
my_window_seat: (SS Icon)
Somebody please tell me that this is NOT for real - that it really can't be perfectly legal for the media to BLATANTLY LIE TO US AND GET AWAY WITH IT.

Then again, it sure would explain a lot.

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