Thursday, September 01, 2011

What's wrong with this picture?

There is a story going around the internet about a police officer in New Mexico who was caught by a survelliance camera having sex with a woman on the hood of his squad car, while he is in uniform, in broad daylight. No, I'm not going to link with it. And my reaction is not what you might expect.

It's not the cop's behavior that is shocking to me. Let's face it...a lot of what used to happen only in the dark now happens in the light. Combine that fact with the increasing number of cameras aimed at all of us out there in the world, and we have the kind of documentation no other great civilization had available as they fell. Lucky us.

What bothers me is how a local television news broadcast handled the story. They got the tip. They worked the story. They sued to get the pictures using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). So far so good, I guess. Although the FOIA is one of those laws that has been stretched so far beyond it's original intent...but I digress.

Once the news program had the photos, they figured it still wasn't much of a story unless they could show them. And they did! On the NEWS! But even that wasn't good enough. No. Somehow, these people thought the story wasn't complete without reaction from the public. So they printed up a bunch of 8x10s and went out into the street and showed them to people to get their reactions on camera!

I'm sorry. I don't care how much the world has changed. If a man came up to me while I was eating at an outdoor cafe and said he wanted to show me a picture of people having sex, I would probably hit him over the head with my handbag! (Picture Ruth Buzzi's character Gladys but with a much bigger purse.) I wonder if anyone the reporter approached had that kind of reaction. If so, those clips obviously ended up on the digital version of the "cutting room floor".

Lest we think that these "journalists" have no ethics whatsoever, they made it a point to note that they had not shown the picture on their earlier newscast because "children are awake at that hour". Oh, and they blurred the woman's face in the picture. How noble of them.

Seriously. Is this what they teach in journalism school?

Yes, traditional journalism is dying. But it's not just because of the internet and 24-hour cable news stations. It's also because what is now considered "news" is worth only as much as how many people click on the link or stay on the channel.

And we eat it up.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The days are long, but the years are short

Time is a funny thing. In actuality time is constant. It moves in one direction, and always at the same pace. (No heckling from the quantum mechanics gallery, please.)

The measurement of time here on Earth is constant too, with just a few exceptions. Every day has 24 hours (give or take a few microseconds), every year has 365 days (unless it is one of those pesky leap years). But a human being's perception of the passage of time depends on their age, what they are doing, and the direction in which they are looking.
Consider a student starting their first day of a new school year. To them, the last few months seemed to go by in seconds, and the next nine months is an eternity. a one-year-old, one year is an entire lifetime!
Like most work days, I've got a general idea what is ahead of me...a few meetings, some housework, maybe running errands during my lunch break. My day will seem to go by either quickly or slowly depending on the type of work I'm doing, and how much I happen to be enjoying it.
But always in my mind today will be Daniel, and the day our life together ended ten years ago.
Actually, I don't think about that day much anymore...just when the date on the calendar reminds me. For those of you who don't know the story, I wrote about it here in 2004.
The first week after he died was an eternity, but the ten years since then have gone by in a flash. Daniel's dad has passed away. I am still extremely close to my "Michigan family". And I'm still living one long day at a time.

And that's the way it is supposed to be.