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A Plague Runs Through It


Posted 2/9/08

Disclaimer: The following article is the sole opinion of Arthur Helms. ZWN and it's affiliates do not influence, endorse nor are accountable for Mr. Helms opinions.

Writers 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 for it;


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.

Art


Arthur Helms is a syndicated columnist who has dealt with a host of social and political issues. His previous syndicated column, “Logic, Please?” offered commentary on a host of world-view issues as seen through the cold yet bright light of plain logic, demonstrated fact and simple common sense.

While the academic and political elite often dismissed his commentary as “too simplistic” for our complicated times, his books of collected columns and hundreds of national speaking engagements each year attest to his connection to a readership yearning for simple answers to complex issues. Helms recently ended his syndicated column to sign on exclusively with Zombie World News, providing a fresh, logical,
plain-English view of the plague and to bring some common sense to what many perceive to be a senseless situation.

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