Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Have Pen, Will Travel
Recently our Ethiopian cousins have taken it upon themselves to invade their neighbours, the Somalis, in a large-scale and dynamic war. They didn't wait for months to get U.N. approval that would have meant limiting terms of engagement to meaninglessness, didn't wait for Russian and Chinese vetos, and didn't bring along CNN to monitor each and every outrage committed by national soldiers. The Ethiopian government had and interest in local affairs and took military action to correct what they saw as a threat to their nation and its people. In their case I applaud their decision. I wish I were there to cover the action as a first-hand reporter, in spite of my limited abilities as an objective reporter and my opaque writing style. As bloggers and private citizens we have unique opportunites to present to the larger world our views as untainted by conformities as they might be.
We might not compete as ably with major news producers who give us such brilliance as the copy on a South African mercenary in the early 1970s who was eating a piece of beef jerky when a reporter asked him what it was, to which the mercenary replied: "It's a baby's arm." Yes, the reporter panicked and wretched. We might not be able as bloggers to compete with that kind of reportorial genius. But we might do something else, almost as worthy: we might be able to report the facts as they are without ideological white-washes and flights of morally outraged dramatic fancy. But only if we are there, wherever 'there" is next time.
Therefore, allow me to humbly suggest that we start a travel fund for intrepid bloggers who are willing and able to write clear and unironic prose that anyone can understand at a glance. As a pool of contributors we could perhaps support one blogger's efforts in a place of our mutual choosing. Next year we could send someone immediately to a hot-spot to get what we would like: more or less what we might consider the truth as known to our own trusted colleagues. That might be worth $10.00 from each of us.
We likely pay as much for our local papers, only to be outraged rightly by them. personally I would love to see Pastorius's copy appearing hourly from the heated front. With some co-ordinated effort on the part of many of us if not all, we should easily be able to send someone somewhere to cover our own interests, even if it is without the approval of the U.N. and the French elite.