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Wednesday, March 12, 2003

I've always belived in marigolds

I sometimes stumble after eating Chinese food. I may be allergic to MSG. My head gets a little swimmy, like when you suck the "air" out of a whipped cream cannister. It may go a long way toward explaining why I thought I heard Elizabeth Smart's uncle say, "I've always believed in marigolds."

Miracles, of course, was what he actually said.

Believing in marigolds as I do, I gave the man a hearty "good show, man" and "who took the picture of little Richard?" They are things I say when I don't have a worthy response.

I'm not downstairs watching the Elizabeth Smart coverage right now for one reason: I've figured out why 24-hour television makes me sick. It's not that journalists are asking the wrong questions or that the journalists are idiots (well, not all of them anyway). It's that we have to watch them make the sausage.

In the days before 24-hour news, America waited for journalists to sift through what was relevant. News-consumers waited for the newsies to make the sausage. In the end, the product was a lot better. We didn't have to hear the cult expert talk about whether Smart was brainwashed. We didn't have to hear the shrink talk about whether Smart will be able to recover from her months in captivity.

We waited for the journalists to ask the tough questions on tape, edit out what's irrelevant, then present us with the good stuff.

Maybe it's that I make sausage for a living. Maybe it's that. But I dream of a time when speculation is relegated back to the shadows where it belongs. All journalists are forced to speculate. However, it's not news until the journalist's speculation somehow realizes itself.

Yes, I dream of a time...

And I, too, have always believed in marigolds.

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Rapid Eye Reality is the personal blog of writer Brad Willis, aka Otis.
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