Monday, October 01, 2007

News junkies

The heroine of my current romantic suspense, On Fire, is a newspaper reporter. This of course means she’s a news junky. She reads several papers besides her own, listens to National Public Radio and watches the Cable News Network.

I’m a bit of a news junky, too. This addiction is in part self-defense. When my family gets together, our conversation often turns to current events, politics and sports. If you don’t keep up with the news, you won’t be able to contribute to the conversation. And, if you don’t contribute to the conversation, you’re going to be embarrassed. That’s just the way it is.

I suppose that’s why it surprises me when I meet people who aren’t familiar with widely reported news events. Not the little-known, buried in the column inches stories; but the banner headlines that you can read as you walk past newsstands.

For example, when the media reported Alberto Gonzales’s resignation, a friend asked who Gonzales was. I didn’t even blink because I didn’t want my friend to feel uncomfortable. I know the courage it takes to ask questions.

I responded, “Alberto Gonzales is the U.S. Attorney General.”

My friend asked, “What did he do?”

At this point, it’s getting harder not to blink. I started listing the controversies in which Gonzales was involved, including the torture memo, domestic wiretapping, the dismissal of the nine U.S. attorneys.

My friend said, “Oh. I thought all [attorney generals] did was set policies on health issues.”

I still didn’t blink. “No. That would be the U.S. Surgeon General.”

Patricia

2 comments:

angela henry said...

Patricia,

I know exactly how you feel. I work in a college library and students will come in needing to do a research project on a current controversial topic. So, I'll ask them what their topic is and get a blank stare in return. Many of them clearly have no idea what's going on in the world beyond sports and music. It's really sad.

patricia sargeant said...

LOL! Thanks for sharing the pain, Angela.

My concern grows when these same individuals want to debate the events. However, it soon becomes apparent that they're parroting other people's words. They don't really understand the situation. In those cases, I just ask them to read about it for themselves and make up their own minds.

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