Vol. 12, No. 2,856W - The American Reporter - March 18, 2006

Hominy & Hash

by Constance Daley
The American Reporter
St. Simons Island, Ga.

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- There's not a day goes by that John and I don'= t greet each other evenings with my saying, "Hi, what's new?" And, predicta= bly, he'll answer, "New York, New Jersey... ." And if he doesn't detect my=

fuming, he'll go on with, "New Mexico, New Caledonia, New Hampshire...."

I usally say, "Stop it, already," and move on into the evening.

Well, for the last month "What's new?" has been New York and the view of= its shattered skyline from New Jersey.

And although the scar on the city of my youth will forever be emblazon= ed on my mind, I've decided to take President Bush's admonition to "Get on = with your life in as normal a way as possible, without fear and without hid= ing inside your homes."

But I no longer ask, "What's new?"

There's nothing new, or nothing new that seems to matter. In an effort= to find out what else has been going on, I thumbed through the stack of New York Times before they went to be recycled.

On Oct. 12, friends and families met at the ship's home port in Norfolk,= Va., to mark the anniversary of the Cole attack. Has it really been a yea= r? I read the story and a name jumped out at me: Osama bin Laden. Officia= ls believed he might be behind the explosion.

I remember that before the attack on the World Trade Center, the Pentago= n, and the crash in Western Pennsylvania, our attention was on Congressman= Gary Condit and the missing Chandra Levy.

On September 11, 2001, 8:45 a.m., CNN posted this final report o= nthat story to date:

MODESTO, California (CNN) -- A California civil grand jury rej= ected acomplaint filed against Rep. Gary Condit by a flight attendant who a= lleges that the congressman obstructed justice and tried to get her to sign= a false affidavit, an attorney for the woman said Monday night.


Three minutes later we lost interest. Three minutes later hundreds = of reporters, photographers and satellite news vehicles drove off, leaving = behind Levy's quiet neighborhood and the "old news" that is still theirmiss= ing daughter. To date, they have not returned, nor has Chandra.

The long-anticipated Emmy Awards Show, scheduled for Sept. 16, was cance= lled. And then cancelled again the night the Brits and Yanks flew off into = the wild blue yonder to strike a retaliatory blow for democracy. The power= s that be suggest a Shriner's auditorium, a military base, anuntelevised aw= ards ceremony over dinner at an unnamed hotel, or just anannouncement of th= e winners.

Some participants in the event are very afraid to assemble, prompting "M= alcolm in the Middle" producer Linwood Boomer to say "the idea that terror= ists would focus on 'tv people' was just ludicrous on the face of it. But = trying to fight self-importance in Hollywood is a lost cause."

The funnies aren't funny and give us no comic relief, just when it's cal= led for. Some comics have been yanked (Boondocks, twice from the Dallas Mo= rning News) when an editor felt the subject matter was inappropriate. =

Cartoonists, like the rest of us, are in a state of disbelief and want= to do something. What they can't contribute within their comic strip, the= y do in other ways. Many have decided to create special Thanksgiving Days = trips to offer as original prints through a Website with proceeds going to = charity.

Darby Conley writes "Get Fuzzy," a comic strip about a single man living= with his cat and dog. In a Fox News story, he said: "I thought the best t= hing to do was to show how someone might react in a responsible way, which = was to have the characters donate blood -- including the dog."

If= they didn't take this head on, it would appear their characters, cartoon o= r not, would be living in a vacuum. Cartoonist Peter Gallagher has Heathcli= ff, the devilish cat, faking being stuck high up in a tree -- all this, to = meet a firefighter, a "real hero," and keeping the strip up-to-date and in = sync with our feelings. "I think that it's important for people to pick up = the paper and laugh a little bit," Gallagher said.

In looking for news underplayed in light of the "big story," Ilearned on= e thing. For the first time in a decade, our big news is not hyped-up news= . How much bigger could the story get? How could any news media make it = more sensational than it is? The media scurries around just getting the fa= cts, no need to embellish them. Journalists don't have to yield to the tem= ptation of pumping up the story. It is so filled with human tragedy that t= yping the copy is done through tears.

The imploding of the World Trade Center was played over and overagain un= til the viewers yelled STOP IT! and they did. Networks show thescen= e as still shots only and as part of a memorial. There will be no hype.This= is not a sensation, this is devastation. We know it when we see it.

Although events happened in the last six weeks, I was hard-pressed to fi= nd any issues that didn't seem ordinary. Imagine, "ordinary," when what I = read was a school bus going over an embankment, three dead, 43 injured. A m= onth ago, that wouldn't have been ordinary.

So, what else is new? Life on the Home Front, not to be confused with l= ife on the Front -- uh-oh, same thing. For now, American people need to go= about their lives, and as we do, I've discovered one wonderful common deno= minator: We're all pulling together.

Now, isn't that good news?

Copyright 2006 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.

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