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.”
Monday, October 01, 2007