Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A kick in the ass

I don't normally write about topics in the news, for various reasons--namely, a) everyone has an opinion and who wants to read another one, b) I'm so plugged into the news that I wouldn't even know where to begin writing about the things I learn most of the time, and c) it always takes me forever to analyze and digest something enough to make a coherent statement about my thoughts on the matter, and by then there are fifty thousand and three other news stories grabbing attention. In short, I've got an RSS feeder that keeps me plugged in whenever I'm at a computer, and during the workday, that's every minute except lunch--and half the time, I eat at my desk. So I'm all, you know, up on the news and shit.

This morning on NPR, Steve Inskeep interviewed by phone a woman being evacuated from the Gaza Strip. I'd link you to it so you could hear it, but it's not up yet, but if you go to npr.org it should be up by 10 a.m. or so, if you're interested. What struck me about this story was Steve Inskeep's manner. He was asking the woman on the phone about her moving process, and she broke down and cried about halfway through the interview. She's lived in her digs in the Gaza Strip for 25 years, and is now being told to leave by the Israeli government because...well, that's complicated, and her tears and anger are a testament to just how complicated the situation is. What rather disturbed me was that Steve Inskeep started asking her questions in a rather blunt way. He told her she knew this was inevitable, that she was going to have to leave, and asked her if she understood that. He also asked her if she felt she owed it to her government to go without protest.

I don't know how much of his bluntness was due to that crap a while ago (which is still going on, but not as much in the spotlight) about NPR being biased toward Palestinians, but I thought as I listened to this, Christ, Inskeep, you're talking to a woman who has lived where she has for twenty-five years. Of course she doesn't want to leave, regardless of whether she should or shouldn't have been there in the first place (and that topic is such a mess I wonder if anyone will ever be able to sort it out). She's crying because she has to leave her home. She just told you how much she loved her home. And you're asking her if she thinks she owes it to her government to leave, when she just said that the only way they found out they were being evacuated was from the news, not from any official statement from her government; they didn't come themselves, just let the media let these people know they had to leave their homes. Do you know what this woman said to Steve Inskeep? It cracked me up. She said, "I owe my government a kick in the ass."

I couldn't help laughing. Sure, I could understand that she felt pain and anger and fear, and I can also understand that the Palestinians have pain and anger and fear, and I have a great appreciation for how tangled up ordinary people have become in this huge political wasp's nest mess that is the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. But that statement right there summed everything up. She owes her government a kick in the ass. For so many reasons.

I think I owe my government a kick in the ass too, but at least I'm not being forced by armed men to leave my home.

Okay. Time to work.


At August 16, 2005 8:30 AM, Anonymous M said...

HA! Good for her.
Television "journalists" bug me. There was one who interviewed Simon Whitfield, a Canadian triathlete, after he came in 9th or so in Athens. I believe he won in Sydney, with what is now known as a "Simon Whitfield," putting in a stellar run. She kept saying "but shouldn't you have gone in that break? shouldn't you have made it up in the run?" The fact of the matter is, the other guys were faster. He was polite and cordial but I would have knocked her block off.
I'm not going to comment on the Gaza strip situation, but sometimes the media loses sight of the people because they're so busy focusing on the story.

At August 16, 2005 9:14 AM, Anonymous atpanda said...

First, I adore NPR. My day wouldn't be complete with my normal infusion of 'sidewalk moments'.

Second, I've been thinking a lot about the Gaza issue. The international version of CNN does a much better job covering stories like this so when I was in England I saw a lot of very interesting stories. Don't take the following wrong, but I can't help but think about the fact that almost all of the countries in the modern world were founded on land that was taken from others. Isn't it interesting that this one time in history the world has said, "It is right for you to give back what wasn't yours to start with"? But was it theirs to start with? If you go back far enough in history I'm sure you could make that arguement.

At any rate, I would hate hate HATE to be a reporter having to talk to someone during the hardest time in their life, and shame on him for his lack of compassion.

At August 16, 2005 4:25 PM, Blogger Sangroncito said...

I'll join you in giving the Bush Regime a big kick in the ass!

At August 16, 2005 4:26 PM, Anonymous Jenelle said...

It is for this exact reason that I don't watch news. The juornalists more than half the time don't care about the people affected in a story. They care about exploitation. The more the person being interviewed is exploited, the better, as far as most reporters are concerned. It just pisses me off. Show me one single news station who goes from a gruesome story of murder and rape followed by a story of puppies and kitties, complete with a syrupy smile and I'll watch it.

At August 16, 2005 5:35 PM, Blogger deputyswife said...

The Deputy absolutely hates the local news and paper. He has been in their presence when they receive statements or quotes pertaining to a certain case. When he watches the news, it comes out totally different. They really like to edit what people say. It drives him nuts.

While sitting on a crime scene once, a television reporter actually brought him a large pizza for info. The reporter knew he had been sitting there for quite awhile. She wanted info and thought he was gullable enough to give it to her for a pizza. They are schmucks.

btw, the two bushels of potatoes will last us until Dec-Jan. My boys love their potatoes!

At August 16, 2005 6:01 PM, Anonymous laurent said...

Well put! That whole situation over there is a big mess. I admit that I'm somewhat sided with the Palestinians for various reasons. However, the real losers in that conflict are all the people just trying to live and it's sad to hear stories like that.
Btw, our govmt definitely needs a good kick in the ass, and probably front side too.

At August 16, 2005 7:05 PM, Blogger d.K. said...

everyone has an opinion and who wants to read another one?

Actually, you might be surprised. Your beautiful writing and interesting perspectives already establish your credentials as one smart guy. So, whether we'd agree or not, I'm sure I'm speaking for a lot of people you read your site when I say we'd be very interested in reading your opinions on current events.

At August 16, 2005 9:25 PM, Blogger Jen said...

Hi, I'm new to your blog. I'm definitely going to bookmark it- you are an awesome writer and fabulous photographer (checked out your gallery on flickr). Love your photos. What kind of camera do you use??????

I guess I'm supposed to comment about your post- but, like you say, when it comes to news stories, the opinions could go on forever. I am a journalist in my state, but not the type that would ever offend, hurt or pry where I don't belong. I cover fluff stories for a local publication, and the extent of my interviewing is: "What kind of Labor Day party can you throw with a $10,000 budget?". I feel so bad for people interrogated by pesty journalists or talk show hosts who fire heartless questions.

Anyway, I'll be checking out your site daily now! Glad I found it.

At August 17, 2005 1:43 PM, Blogger Kross-Eyed Kitty said...

Some people know how to get to the heart of the matter with one conversation-stopping comment. "I owe my government a kick in the ass."
That says it all.
I'm really glad that you wrote about this, it made me laugh, although it is not a laughing matter.
I blog rolled you today. I enjoy your posts, and I think you have a wonderful eye for photography!


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