that go the routes of freelance, editorial and commentary share many
common threads with the greatest being their work can be composed of,
at least in part, their own opinions and thoughts so long as they can
produce enough evidence to support them. In my particular case, I have
the rare privilege of having every word come from my own fingers. If
I don’t back up my words and suppositions with logic and sound
fact, the end result and veracity is completely mine to own. I bring
this to you because of an evening spent with several of my colleagues
from these different schools and the question they raised to me; Why
are you writing about “that”?
Of course, the “that” they reference is the plague. Aside
from Florida the U.S. has yet to be caught in its grip, making its stories
and journalistic efforts here seem more the province of tabloid news
and shock journalism to many “real” journalists and commentators.
As some of you may know, I’ve spent a great deal of my professional
life covering the economy, politics, religion; anything that seemed
of importance I felt wasn’t getting full shrift by our leaders
and the public at large. I have since learned that many of my compatriots
in the ink and bit business think my decision to concentrate solely
on the plague and its place in our world is tantamount to career suicide,
to be forever known as “the zombie guy” through catty whispered
barbs within my professional circles.
Now, Dear Reader, I can honestly tell you that the whims of a fickle
industry and the attention span of the public has never and will never
deter me from my work in any field. It’s my job to look at every
facet of an issue facing our world today, compare known fact with reasonable
conjecture then analyze it all through my own filters of logic, intelligence
and common sense, a practice I believe EVERYONE should use. So, to put
my words where my mouth is, so to speak, I decided to apply this very
practice to the question raised by my fellows.
They question why I would write exclusively about the plague. They back
the reasoning for the question with the argument that while it does
make for interesting color commentary for certain niche markets, a professional
with my background in the so-called “real” issues of the
world risks professional pigeon-holing of their work and reputation.
When I filter the question and argument, I can only assume they mean
the topic matter is still regarded in many circles as trivial and with
only little meaning to the “civilized world”. Being that
I’ve been playing the game of commentary and personal-view journalism
longer than many of my compatriots have been able to write their names,
I can also see the underlying current of their sentiments. No, my pieces
don’t appear in the New Yorker or the Washington Post anymore.
No, I haven’t been on any of the Sunday talking head shows since
2004 nor have I released a book since 2006.
These kinds of placements and acclaim do have a huge role to play in
the writer’s world and I would never downplay them. But in the
immortal words of Mr. George Carlin; been there, done that, got the
t-shirt. I’m at a point in my life and career that I won’t
miss a meal or worry about the mortgage. I don’t have to chase
Bush from meeting to meeting, and I sure as hell don’t have to
crank out 1,000 words on Brittany Spears’ latest tirade by press
time. This allows me to focus on the plague and attempt to wake up the
“civilized world” that it’s coming, and it affects
us all. Even you, Mr. and Mrs. America. But don’t take my word
RELIGION is a huge focus the world over now; Muslim extremists, wars,
the Catholic Church scandals et al. The rising of the dead has become
central to many fringe groups regardless of the fact it has a sound
basis in science and medicine, and not just “over there”.
We have our own extremist factions who try to use the plague to satisfy
their own doctrines and end-of-days scenarios, so much so they have
spoken publicly and, in many cases, acted insidiously. This isn’t
news that affects everyone’s lives?
ECONOMY is a hot button issue this election year. Let’s face it
people, we have a global economy whether we ever wanted it or not. The
plague has economically devastated many small and struggling nations
and has forced the larger powers to spend more and more from their coffers
on prevention, defense and eradication. All of this takes dollars away
from the bottom line of every nation on the planet, dollars that could
be going to fund social works, improve education, build defenses and
all the other things we entrust our governments to do in our names.
Let’s also factor in that many of the nations that have been ravaged
by the plague are the new breadbasket nations to this world economy.
As these nations falter or fall, the loss of their contributions of
goods and food to the world is felt in the form of rising prices and
shifting global production strategies. This affects everyone’s
wallet, from the oil sheik buying his 8th Mercedes to the minimum wage
worker going to Wa- Mart for milk.
POLITICS should be a given. If the plague is not brought under control,
many of the less-off nations will suffer the most, eventually offering
up their allegiances to anyone that can come in and save them. We in
the 1st world certainly like to downplay the importance of these places
we can’t likely spell let alone find on a map. But either from
strategic location or vital products what happens in Somalia, Haiti
or any of the ‘stans can and will have a direct impact on world
politics, negotiations and global relations. Is this the “minor
impact piece” so avoided by my contemporaries?
This is only a sampling of the global effects of the plague as I see
them. When I run these and a host of other issues through my filters,
I find I can answer the question; Why do you write about “that”?
The answer is simple, my colleagues, contemporaries, detractors and,
most importantly, you Dear Reader. I write about “that”
because it is the greatest single threat to all nations everywhere,
and it’s the only thing even greater than our World Wars we can
honestly and logically say could destroy each and every one of us on
the planet. But mostly, I write about “that” because if
I and others like me don’t, none of us may be around much longer
to write about anything else.