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i hate to make you read this: critique guilt

I feel guilty.

Critique group yesterday.  Chapter 10 gallops along—pathos, intensity, drama.

Fearless leader reads with vigor and gusto.  Including the “fudge” word.

Only it wasn’t “fudge”.

And Lord, the name-calling, including, “baby-lick”.

Only it wasn’t “lick”.

And by golly, Fearless Leader read it like she meant it!

At first I laughed, but then, I was mortified at what I had done to this tableful of  refined ladies.

Week by week I have spooled out my story, made them care about my rogue’s gallery.  They’re willing to go along for the ride. (Because they’re  really good sports.)

Over nine chapters they’ve learned my main character’s story:  hardship, trauma, sacrifice.  So when the big moment came, and the “f” bomb exploded…


They were ready for it!  Judging by the reaction, you might say they relished it.

Because the words MEANT SOMETHING.  They were meant for anger, for the ultimate put-down, like they used to be.  They weren’t scattered through the text to be cool.  They didn’t pop out three and four times a paragraph instead of “um” and “uh”.  The two offending words were each used once, strategically, and for great effect.

Okay, then.  No guilt.

But then I think about Fearless Leader, her impeccable pageboy, her sweet smile, her lady-like voice, barking out those words…

I still gotta cringe.


i always wanted a big brother, but not like this

Tonight I watched a documentary called Orwell Rolls in his Grave. 

So few people control the information available to so many.  And it’s not just a corporation that controls a lot of newspapers, or a corporation that controls a lot of radio stations.  One company might control newspapers, t.v., radio, Internet access, cable, books, movies, magazines…

Writers have seen up close and personal how publishers seem to keep consolidating into fewer and fewer hands. 

Listening to the quotes from the book 1984 has made me want to read it again.  The last time I read it was actually in 1984.  (And that was quite a trick, seeing how I wasn’t even born yet.)  Orwell displays such genius for predicting the direction of Western society it borders on augery.                    

It’s an interesting paradox that while individuals have an unprecedented ability to be heard via the internet, our “official” media is becoming one voice. 

Think.  The networks cover the same stories.  In this whole world, three–or four–or six (depending on how you count them)  network news organizations can’t find different stories to cover?  Let’s not include “human interest” stories.  They’re not really news.

Think again.  How many “news stories” are actually press releases?  Almost all the news about health or medical breakthroughs is an announcement from an agendized committee or medical company.  Anything that starts, “The Whitehouse said today…” or “Government sources tell us…” is propaganda.  They are sharing the information that they want you to know, not the information that you should know. 

As Orwell Rolls in his Grave portrays, “spin” used to mean lying.  Now it means an opinion.  Spin hasn’t changed.  It is our perception of it that has changed.

I remember seeing a news show a few years ago about what the media does after a presidential debate.  They go into a big room where there are dozens of lackeys telling the reporters what they have just seen.  WHAT THEY HAVE JUST SEEN.  Like Chico Marx says in Duck Soup,  “What you gonna believe.  Me or your own eyes?”                   


 What do we do?

The most urgent action to take is to OPPOSE REGULATION OF THE INTERNET.  Sure, there’s junk on the web because it isn’t filtered through any major media or government group.  There’s also a lot of vital information on there because it isn’t filtered through any major media or government group. 


 don\'tforgetli\'lchamp(Show of hands.  How many of you have heard of this movie?) 

Lastly, DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU HEAR.  Test your sources of information.  Seek out news outlets that dig deep.  Hint: You won’t find them on your t.v. screen.


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