Monday, March 16, 2009

Good reporters, lovers & earning your way


Do you know what a good reporter is?

I have said this before. I occasionally (often?) have been accused of being overly serious. And, I have said this before. So what? So, here we go with sort of a continuation of last night's conversation.

Do you know what a good reporter is?

A good reporter is a chameleon.

One day, he is able to walk into the office of a bank president, sit down, and within a matter of minutes make himself appear to be like he is the next-door-neighbor to the bank president, that he is the bank president's best friend and his personal confidant. The reporter wants information, details, so he must instill trust.

The next day, he is able to walk into the home of a drug dealer, sit down, and within a matter of minutes make himself appear to be like he is the next-door-neighbor to the drug dealer, that he is the drug dealer's best friend and his personal confidant. The reporter wants information, details, so he must instill trust.

You get the drift? It is not as easy as I tried to make it sound, but that sort of covers the basics.

I am a good reporter. My object with this piece of prose is not to have you distrust me. It is to stir you to think, to study and to learn about the world and people around you.

The important thing here is not what makes a good reporter, but is for you to learn how to tell the difference between someone who is potentially a good reporter and someone who has genuine affection for you and who wants to learn more about you and who wants to try to learn if there might be an "us" in the future.

I know some of you understand this and could have skipped reading what I have written here; I also know some of you do not understand, but I hope you will come to.

Are you still reading, or did you doze off?

Personally, I have been fooled once. Professionally, once, also, and I am speaking in terms of not recognizing when I was being lied to, but I crucified the liar when the lie was discovered because it was my job at the time and I always attempt to be fully professional at my work.

It is evident most of us hanging around here have been dumped, dropped or at least lied to along the way. It is the same for all of us, I think. A great line, a great face, a great bank account, any or all of those things and more might enter the picture, plus our own vulnerabilities at the time. Maybe, the old "rebound" complex.

Then, too, feelings change, do they not? Love can diminish as surely as it can grow when new truths are discovered or when old lies are uncovered or when betrayals occur.

Call it whatever you want, but I would prefer some people dislike me for what I do say rather than for what I do not say. Another one of Ernest Hemingway's thoughts was this: "Men and women cannot be friends without also becoming lovers." I know that to be incorrect because I have experienced it. I would imagine some of you have, as well. (If not, pick your friends better.)

Wherever this page leads, my foremost hope is that it will leave those of us who are "talking" a bit wiser (I know reading you has taught me) and with feelings of affection toward and concern about each other.

Anything beyond that will be a bonus.

Sometimes coincidence is beyond belief ....

One day I make these statements: "Most were high school teachers looking for credits to use to jump up their salaries. One or two were grad teaching assistants (probably career grad assistants). One among the group was the village idiot, me, who thought the class might be more beneficial to me than an evening bowling or sitting in a bar. It is entirely possible I was the only person there because I actually wanted to be there."

Barely a day later, this falls out of the sky: "As a former teacher who was required to take inane classes for earning a raise, I am sorry I missed your literature class. I surely would have disputed you boat interpretation favoring the notion of a allegorical stock market interpretation."

Required to take "inane classes for earning a raise"?

Never in my life have I encountered anyone, most particularly a retired, career school teacher such as "troutbirder," who would label a class in which the subject matter consists of novels, written by acknowledged masters of the form, to be an "inane" class. The particular novelist I referenced in my commentary, Lawrence Durrell, came within a whisker-width of winning the Nobel Prize for Literature.

There are good teachers and poor ones, with most probably somewhere between. I can understand providing teachers with monetary incentives to increase their knowledge base. What I have never been able to understand is why so many teachers seem to believe their own personal education ends the day the degree is slapped into their hands; why so many whine about being forced to take "inane classes for earning a raise."

The concept of teaching begins with the teacher learning through personal education and experience, not with an evening of bowling or sitting in a bar waiting for the school year to begin.

I repeat: "It is entirely possible I was the only person there because I actually wanted to be there." Very sad, but true. A few days ago, I wrote that ignorance is not bliss. Evidently, for some, it is.

More fun and games ....

The blogger named "troutbirder" seemed to think I am among the "pretentious, arrogant, pseudo-intellectual political Luddites."

Pretentious? No, I do not think so. How could "the" direct descendant of Fram the First, conqueror of the Mediterranean, ever be pretentious?

Arrogant? Oh, yes, guilty as charged. That began with high school sports and was greatly encouraged by the Marine Corps. (I think their motto should have been, "Second to None," since that is the cornerstone of their training.) I often have a hard time distinguishing the line between self-confidence and arrogance. At least, I recognize arrogance as a flaw within me, and generally try to keep a lid on it.

Pseudo-intellectual political Luddites? I am not certain how that might be associated with literature, teaching, liberals or conservatives in this context, and really do not care. I suppose that is because I am only a "pseudo." Whoops, here comes old arrogance creeping up on me again, so I will finish with it.

I do have a bachelor of arts degree with a double major in English and history, which I completed in three years instead of the usual four. Had I wanted to attend another summer session, my credits were so abundant that I could have had a bachelor of science degree thrown in, as well. I also do have a master of arts in literature, which I completed by taking classes here and there over a few years, and being a full-time student for the final semester.

I do not consider these degrees to be as important as the fact that I did it all on my own time with my own money, and with neither expectation nor promise of a salary raise. I did it for me as an attempt to become a better, more well-rounded person. Whether or not I am, so what? So, learning is fun.

Music Note: Still listening to classic rock on the radio ....
Getting my money's worth from this machine ....
Playing this instant: "Photograph" by Def Leppard ....

25 comments:

its_me_in_montana said...

Thank you Fram for your writings. I for one read every word, and enjoy.

Fram said...

Hi there, Ms. Montana/Boni ....

Thank you. Reading your page is telling me things I need to think about, too. You might be amazed at how much I sit back and think about what you write.

I know people like Katy (Moving Back, Moving On) and The Chic Geek (Kelly) have visited your page. I think it would be good for you to visit them, and to read them, and others, as well. There is a lot for all of us to learn if we want to.

As soon as you are ready, start searching for love, too, not just waiting for it to find you.

Katy said...

Good morning Fram and a very happy birthday! Sounds as if you were very nearly a chimes child. Wishing you a special celebratory feast of all things Greek - stuffed vine leaves, mousaka, some olives perhaps, and a bottle of ouzo to drink in the spring sunshine...

Have a wonderful day :-)

I'll be back later to read properly.

A Cuban In London said...

Well, I read your column until the very end and then went back and re-read it. You are very articulate and someone who likes Def Leppard (yes, welcome to the club, 'let's get, let's get, let's get, let's get rocked!!!) is definitelyup my street.

Reporters=chameleons. Wow, you could not have put it better. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Magdalena said...

Hi Fram, all the best for you for whole week! :-) Kind regards :-)

Chocobo said...

As far as the comments from troutbirder go, people may disagree with things that you or I or anyone posts on their blog, but there is really no point to any sort of name calling. He is very unlikely to change your mind on anything and honestly, I always figure that if I write something that offends someone, they are reading it online for free, they can just hit the back button.

Chocobo said...

Post, you or I or anyone post. I swear I can conjugate verbs in my native language.

TheChicGeek said...

Hello Fram :) Didn't realize today was your birthday! Happy, Happy Birthday! I hope you have a wonderful day, week, month and entire year! Your best ever!
Have a Fantastic Day :)

Fram said...

Hi there, Katy ....

Birthday wishes appreciated. I cannot recall hearing the "chimes child" reference before, but it is a neat way to describe the passing of one day to another.

Today, I will be settling for tenderloin steak and Blue Nun.

Fram said...

I never have met a Cuban in London, but I have known a few elsewhere.

Thank you, for the kind words. I look forward to fully exploring your site.

Fram said...

Hi there, Magdalena ....

Thank you, for visiting and for wishing me well.

I think I will begin using that amount of time to rest, relax and plan activities for the coming 12 months.

Fram said...

Hi there, Chocobo ....

I agree with you, but I've been known to do the same thing myself. It only serves to make me feel badly later.

Have fun on your vacation.

Fram said...

Hi there, Kelly ....

I think I'll put a chair out for you so you can pause long enough to catch your breath when you come running through.

Thanks, I will have a wonderful day, week, month and entire year.

TheChicGeek said...

HeHe, Fram....I'll let you get away with it since it's your birthday :)

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday, Dear Fram....Happy Birthday to YOU!
Muah!

its_me_in_montana said...

Fram,

I have read Kelly and Katy's blogs. I am just not always inclined to post a comment.

More importantly....How old are you, how old are you, happy birthday dear Fram, how old are you? (Yep, I sang it out loud.)

I am glad my blog makes you think. Thank you.

I will make posts of my search in the near future. Thanks again.

Katy said...

A chimes child is a baby who is born on one of the twelve strokes of midnight, just as today becomes history and tomorrow the future. He or she, so the legend goes, is dusted with a special kind of magic.

Learning for its own sake is also a magical thing, and, like all kinds of magic, not something that everybody believes in. I wonder if sometimes people (perhaps your rather frosty visitor?) become resentful or bitter about the things that others take pleasure in because of their own stresses, disappointments, disillusionments?

I love your description of the reporter as chameleon, blending his or her character, attire, attitude to completely fit the setting. I don't know if national newspapers in the USA are like they are in the UK - with typically either a left or right wing reporting bias - but I have often wondered about the nature of journalists who move from one 'side' to the other and back again in a seamless transition. Chameleons all :-)

Fram said...

That voice singing "Happy Birthday" .... I've heard it before .... A young Sarah Brightman? Miley Cyrus? A young Stevie Nicks? Avril Lavigne? .... I know I've heard it before ....

Fram said...

Now I hear another voice singing in the distance. This is becoming something of a mystery. Asking how old I am. Another mystery.

Hi, Montana. Aren't mysteries fun? Older than Diva.

Fram said...

Katy, greetings ....

I think my mother stalled to get past the Ides of March, but maybe she just didn't want me to know that I was a chimes baby, and had the doctor add a couple of minutes to the time of birth.

It's my turn to pause, so I can think about the last pair of paragraphs you wrote

its_me_in_montana said...

Then you could be my age? Ageless!! I have always liked mysteries.

TheChicGeek said...

I like what Katy says...this means you are the magic man! Now that we know this all you have to do is click your heels together three times and make a wish and all your dreams will come true, including your magic girl to be :)

Fram said...

Yes, Montana.

For me, it must be the Transylvanian blood on my maternal father's side.

Fram said...

Be honest, Kelly. Have you ever tried to jump into the air and click your heels three times before landing? (You are supposed to be in the air, aren't you?) So far, all I can do is one.

I'm thinking tomorrow, when it's daylight, I'll go up onto the roof and see if I can manage three clicks on the way down. (Single story, so don't worry.)

Jamie Lynn Drohan said...

Fram - Thank you for your kind words! Thanks for following my blog! Love this post about reporters...you have a lovely St. Patty's Day...May the Road Rise Up to Meet You, My Friend!

Fram said...

Hello, Jamie ....

We media-types must watch out for each other these days. Nice to meet you.

Something special ....