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What happened to responsible journalism – mini rant

I had this romantic notion of journalism.  I envisioned journalists traveling corners of the world for truth.  Verifying through extensive research and fact checking, the validity of their stories.

I picture a journalist much like an archeologist – actually, in my head, my inner-journalist is wearing an Indiana Jones outfit, sans whip, and has just landed in the nick of time to get his story to the editor at the last minute – again.   But the editor doesn’t mind – he knows the story will be good.  The story will have substance.  And he knows his journalist has sources he probably won’t disclose, but he has them – to back up his words.

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That’s the way I picture it anyway.

But it’s not really the case these days is it?  Such a shame, because some media outlets today have turned a dignified profession into an embarrasing tabloid one.

There are a couple of books I read and really enjoyed that enlightened me more on this topic – having more to do with how the press affect on-going cases in the public eye.  We now have a ‘court of public opinion’ rather than a ‘jury of our peers’ when it comes to high profile cases,  thanks to the media.

Jodi Picoult “The Pact” and Gillian Flynn “Gone Girl” touch on this powerfully.  Not everything is as it seems …

During research (yes, I do research) for a piece I wrote, I had the misfortune to read some articles by a ‘respected’ journalist that has made my blood boil.  Much to my chagrin, I keep reading it too.  But,  there are others who read the same piece that do not consider there is ‘another side.’  Or that *Shock* perhaps the journalist isn’t being entirely truthful.

I won’t mention the author or the topic – but suffice it to say, his work was peppered with his own obvious tainted feelings on his subject of choice.  It’s hard to refrain from a rebuttal, but I promised I would.  I keep my promises.

You could say that my last few paragraphs are equally guilty of being biased – but, this is my blog – stuffed full of my own opinions, I’ve certainly never claimed to be a resource for fact and news.

On the upside, I haven’t thought of Jodi Arias in a while – the media moves on and so do our thoughts.  Of course, when a new jury is selected for the penalty phase of her trial,  we’ll be inundated with her again.

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Pressing myself to read … a 2013 challenge

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I’ve given myself a challenge.  You know, when I accidentally lost weight years ago, it motivated me to keep going.  I succeeded beyond my expectations. 

It occurred to me a week or so ago that since Christmas, I’d read 6 books.  Thanks to some gift cards for Barnes and Noble I filled my nook with amazing authors.

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I LOVE to read.  Ever since I was little, I immersed myself in fairy tales and incredible stories of far away lands, real and imagined. 

During the trip from France to India, reading kept me company on the coach.  When we hit a man in a small village during our travels, I kept my nose in Alice in Wonderland to keep from the chaos that was too much for a 9-year-old girl.

Books have always been my friends.  My favorite pastime. 

So! My challenge for myself – to read 50+ books by next Christmas.

I’m on my 8th book so far.

I would recommend any of these, here’s the tally/list so far:

Gillian Flynn is one of my new favorite authors.  She had me at Gone Girl and brought me to Dark Places and then Sharp Objects.  I found Jodi Picoult who spun a tale with alternating narrative called The Pact: A Love Story.

Harlan Coben reminded me that not everything is as it seems in Caught.

Cathy Glass broke my heart and reinforced my faith in humanity at the same time in Damaged

Stefan Kiesbye blew my mind with, Your House is on Fire, Your Children all Gone. (SERIOUSLY amazing book – I’ll have to read it again because there are so many layers to digest).

And now I’m out of my comfort zone with a Sci Fi book recommended by a friend.  Richard K. Morgan is expanding my mind and my vocabulary with Altered Carbon

I found it hard to get through the prologue – but I love a challenge.  By Chapter three I was hooked.  Plus, I actually had to use my nook ‘look up’ tool. I had never heard of the word ‘maelstrom’. 

Coincidentally, it also appeared in the Kiesbye novel.  Now I know the word well.

I love that about books! Coming away from one smarter – wiser – mind expanded – opinions changed.  I love growing.  I love connecting with the characters and being taken on their journey. 

If you have any page turners (Gawd! There’s nothing like a page turner!!!!) to recommend (fiction please, but I’m game for any genre in that category) please let me know!  Discovering new authors is part of the fun!

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Reading (too much into it)

Read an amazing book.  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  Could not put it down! I loved the flow of it, the intelligence of it.  I felt smarter reading it.  If I met her I’d tell her “You make me want to be a better writer.”  (And she’d probably say, “Start with not plagiarizing movies when you compliment someone”.)

The author had a way of describing things that made me think ‘Yeah! That’s exactly how that feels!’  I don’t have the ability to describe things that way.

Then I Googled.

I’ve mentioned before – I get fixated.  For instance, when I stumbled on the movie Melancholia, I fell in love with it before I’d even seen it.  I loved the movie’s internet page, loved the score.

(Here, check it out, http://www.melancholiathemovie.com/ )

I read interviews about Lars Von Trier and became obsessed with Ophelia, read more about her and then Hamlet.  Once I am interested in something, I research the hell out of it.  I finally did see the movie and I liked it, but my research needed me to love it.  I ruin things sometimes that way.

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I can never just watch a movie either.  I have to watch all the special features afterwards.  If they had a section devoted to the cast and crew at the craft services table, just snacking, I’d watch that too.  I like ‘behind the scenes’.

So anyway, I’m in love with this book and a quarter of the way through it  I Google.  I don’t know why – except for … that’s what I do.  I didn’t want to know how it turned out, just curious I guess to see if other people loved it too.

I see one link and it says: ‘this delectable summer read’.  Huh?  What the heck is a ‘Summer read’?  My mind paints a picture of a fickle woman with a beach bag – not a big reader – but who wants something to break up the tedium of laying on a beach. 

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That comment made my book feel less smart.  Less important. 

I Google ‘Summer read’ and it doesn’t mean that, I feel better.

I don’t want books to be put in categories like that.  I’m as eclectic with my reading genres as I am with my musical tastes. 

Poe used to be my favorite – (the story Berenice in particular).  I revisited ol’ Edgar on my nook and honestly wondered why.  It was hard for me to understand if I’m being honest.  I mean, literally hard to understand.  The words were too big for me and the sentences too fussy.  It was as if he needed to write the same sentence five different ways to make a point.  How was he my favorite for so long?  Have I dumbed down?  I haven’t got the most brilliant mind, but I’m pretty smart and have a decent vocabulary.  He was over my head and didn’t hold my interest.  Maybe I’m going through a phase.

I remember in High School we had to read The Fall of the House of Usher and write something on what we thought it was about.  I hate that.  Why does everything have to have some deep, hidden meaning? 

Can’t a sentence like “My cat curled up next to my tattered childhood blanket” just mean the cat curled up next to my old childhood blanket? 

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I’ve read reviews that break down a single sentence to the point of absurdity.  They’d have read that and maybe said:

“The cat represents aloofness and independence.  The protagonist however, in keeping a part of their childhood, has extended a safe place for the creature to attach itself too.  A metaphor for …”  (well, something very profound would be finishing that sentence if I was someone capable of describing things).  You get the point. 

Why does everything have to be a metaphor for something?  Do we subconsciously do that?  I took creative writing in college.  We’d make enough copies of our work for everyone in class.  No names on the stories/poems whatever we’d written.  Someone would read out loud, then the Professor would go around the room and have everyone comment on the anonymous piece.  I would internally roll my eyes when they discussed my work.  I was thinking, ‘Really?  I didn’t mean that at all!”

I remember thinking along those lines when we did that High School assignment years ago, ‘What if he just really meant what he wrote?’  But I put on paper I thought it was about vampires.  (Take that Stephanie Meyer).

I’m on a second book by Gillian Flynn now.  I love the way she writes!  I won’t analyze it, just enjoy it.  But probably I’ll end up Googling it and reading other people pick her work apart.