Monday, July 23, 2012


     "It may be different elsewhere. But a democratic society-in it the highest duty of the writer, the composer, the artist is to remain true to himself and to let the chips fall where they may."
      John Kennedy said that a little less than a month before he was killed.  He was speaking at Amherst College October 26, 1963.
       "In serving his vision of the truth, the artist best serves his nation."
       I wonder how many writers today concern themselves with such lofty concerns. Maybe they do in little pieces and then over time, taken in mass, it adds up.
        It's  harder to get your voice heard through the mass of signals that fill the public square. Digital media, social networks, cable, broadcast, the whole universe of film and print are choked with content, much of it simply trying to out pace the others.  In some cases outrage and anger get attention. Those may be genuine, but are they the visions of truth JFK spoke of?
       The more I watch Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom the more convinced I am he is serving his vision of truth. Here's why I think so.  
       The modern media, in all of it's iterations, does more to shape our sense of reality, expectations and vision of government than most people make themselves aware of. As consumers of the din we rarely give ourselves the time to ponder the impact of what we consume.  We think more about what we eat, than consider what we put into our heads though we spend hours a day consuming information flow.
        Sorkin's work cuts to the quick.  Some criticize the "preachiness" of it.  I don't see it that way.  I think he is offering a valuable insight into the media machine that shapes our attitudes and affects our sense of destiny. Yes, it is entertainment, but it also holds a mirror to a powerful element of modern life and Sorkin, as President Kennedy opined, lets the chips fall where they may.
     Each year, since our move, we make a point to attend
Coastal Discovery Day up at San Simeon.  The Discovery Center, joined by a host of other nature, environmental, park and educational groups hold a kind of carnival overlooking the Pacific.  It's for kids with lots of hands on activities, but each year we learn something and pick up a few interesting shots.  This year I learned about the hearing chambers and ear drums (bulla) of whales, elephant seals and dolphins.  Amazing technology at work in those sonar sensitive relatives.
  The Falcon expert had a couple of beautiful friends.
    An injured wing has grounded this Pelican, now in the custody of a rehabilitation specialist.  He eats 3 pounds of sardines or smelt each day.  He'd eat more if he were burning calories by flying.

    Here are a couple specimens of Elephant Seal skulls.
     In the frame below is the skull of a Dolphin.  The bottom piece, in the shadow, is the kind of sensor bone that transmits sounds from long, medium or short distances, using a different portion of the bone to do so.  The differing signals are then processed in a sophisticated brain.
      Skulls of native wild life.

  While it was sunny and bright up at the cove, south toward
Cambria, another micro climate existed, in the fog.
See you down the trail.


  1. Last time we were up on "Your Coast" my youngest Grandson did 30 minutes on Elephant Seals. He had done a 4th grade class project on them...he would have loved the event you attended.

  2. Replies
    1. Jager and Bruce-
      come on over or up and absorb some of the natural learning.

  3. Your post and the effect the media has on us was played out today with the revelation that ABC took this Colorado killer's Mother's comment totally out of context when she said,"You have the right person." She was actually speaking about herself.

    1. More of this syndrome is referenced in the response from Maryann just below.
      There is such a desire to be first, that it overtakes perspective and proportionality.

  4. Wasn't it also ABC who revealed that the killer was a Tea Party member, an erroneous claim they later apologized for? Too often, the rush to be first to break a story takes precedence over the obligation to provide the facts. Maybe some feel it's a risk worth taking.

    1. As I mentioned in my response to Stephen, above, you point out a problem with the adrenaline fueled desire to be first with something. Perspective and proportionality was something I was emphatic about with my news staffs. It is too easy to get lost in the flow of a breaking story and loose a sense of meaning and relevance.

      It is this very point that I applaud Aaron Sorkin for illustrating now in three episodes of
      The Newsroom. In the background of the story lines which are playing out in the drama is a sense of journalistic conscience.