The News

As I recount on the newly revived Morning Worship, I find myself once again saturated with the acid of acrimonious politics and it begins to change my own pH. The Morning Worship diary project is one of the remedies that has worked in the past. Another is to diminish my exposure to the overheated Television and the Internet blogs.

Then comes this great column on today’s truthdig by Bill Boyarsky. Communities Need Newspapers  He writes about the value, indeed the necessity for newspapers to continue to have a major presence in the world of news media.

It strikes me today having just decided to actually pay for reliable online news and subscribe to the New York Times online version. Those who know me are aware of my impatience with having to pay for anything on the Internet, especially news. There has been a conversion. I observe the irrefutable evidence that it is time for the business of news collecting and reporting reclaim its position as a professional service.

Choices of content and reliability so essential for an informed public simply cannot be made without prejudice if the very existence of the publication is dependent on fulfilling the expectations of business and corporate advertisers. The once sacred wall between the corporate sponsors and positions as to content and opinion has been demolished in recent years.

Most people will continue to get most of their news from Television entertainment shows and the labyrinth of the Internet. Those who are serious consumers of news will I believe pay for serious news. But I believe the very existence of ethical national and global newspapers exercising high standards can  have an effect on how other media and the public judge news. At the least there will be a remnant of reliability for the public to turn to when confused.

I am a great believer in small and mid-sized city newspapers because only they can be in tune with and present the regional culture but the turn taken by local TV and print news outlets some years ago to report only on local events was a terrible mistake because it has promoted the affliction of regional parochialism.

Focus on the regional may please local advertisers but it is a serious defect. There must be some way  for small operations to free themselves from the tyranny of the politics of the advertisers. Perhaps organizing as non-profits would offer a solution. With some remarkable exceptions, the most reliable news during the Civil Rights thrust and the Viet Nam War came from free street corner papers. And before the “monetization” of the Internet, when news was presented at a cost to the pajamas clad midgnight provider it served as that corner freebie of the 60s and 70s.



Ye Shall Find Him in a Manger

“Ye shall find him in a manger,” Christmas Eve 2009


12/24/09 11:27

I think I have likely perplexed you my loved ones by choosing this year to celebrate this day and tomorrow in apparent solitude. I will explain.

I am far from alone and most comfortable. Being by the telephone (and now at the computer) listening and communicating with the souls “out there” seems the most natural.  I celebrate all those I have spent so many holidays beside.

Perhaps it is the agony of observing the processes of determining the obligations we as a nation shall follow in caring for all of our flock that has made me so aware this year.

Or perhaps it is a wonderful experience I am having following a thread on the Grant County, Wisconsin Rootsweb list.

There is a poster who stands out in his determination to learn about his family roots. Recently he posted a question about a relative whose remains had been sent to the University of Wisconsin.  I pulled this man’s obituary and death certificate off the web.

The first is a notice of the November 1930 death of a man then unidentified. “Clad in overalls and an army overcoat, the man about 40 or 50 years old, was found in a manger in the stables where he had evidently gone to sleep. He had curled up in the feed box, his shoes off and overcoat drawn over him. It is believed he died of exposure.” The coroner’s report states the remains were given over to the Anatomy Department of the Univ. of Wisconsin.

As was the case for all physicians of my time my first patient was a cadaver, a man with no history and no headstone in his future. At the time and off and on since we all wonder but never take the time to find out the history of these martyrs to the better lives of others.  Mostly they are the so called “losers” and “failures,” the misbegotten who are no longer connected to family or friends.  I call them saviours.

Then here comes a  great nephew owning relationship and seeking information relentlessly.  I recall my brother David and nephew Greg’s excited call from the graveside of our  Rolla Hirst,  and their efforts this past summer to find more of the recluse William Clark.

If we are to be good shepherds we will know each of our flock.

On one of the weblogs a woman calling herself Selise reminds us; “solidarity means leaving no one behind,” then quotes Eugene Debs: “Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living things, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on the earth. I said then and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.

Yes. It is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.


The Archives

Notes on Morning Worship:

Reading through the archive of Morning Worship I am reminded of an experience I had one of the past times I went back into Atlanta. As I came to a changed but well known  intersection I thought to myself; “the last time I was here I was in love. I am changed.”

Three years ago I added Morning Worship weblog to my creations for the Internet because, having just finally finished the 10 year book project, I had a lot of writing in me.   Also the politics was beginning to become scary and I wanted to consciously focus on that which is positive.

Though it has only been a couple of years since doing the weblog  (and 30 years since being in love) I am today aware if how different I feel.  The metrics of the endless visits to the medical people and places have remained the same. I feel a little less vigor and I hurt a little more. My views as to how the world works or I would like it to  be are the same.  But something is gone. I am changed.

I fear acknowledging it; but I think optimism, my belief in the inevitability of  man at the brink always coming through, is fading.

Reading through the 2009-2010 posts as I migrate them into this Word Press I do feel uplifted. The reader can find all of them available through the link in the right column.

I also plan to be adding, perhaps less frequently, new material that I find uplifting and promising.