Wednesday, January 26, 2005

A Newspaperman's Funeral

George Sanchez, one of my former USF journalism students, went to the funeral of Gary Webb, who blew the whistle on the connection between cocaine smuggling, the American inner city, the CIA and the Nicaraguan Contras and got burned down for it. Webb was George's mentor and his friend. Webb killed himself late last year. George quotes Rilke:

Confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple ‘I must,’ then build your whole life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse.

I remember when Webb's story came out. I remember when the San Jose Mercury-News ran away from it. That retreat is not a tale the intricacies of which I followed, but what I did hear more than once was that there was enough in Webb's story -- plenty in the story -- enough that Webb didn't deserve to be expelled from the craft. That's what my student thinks, too, and I respect his opinion. In the piece I've linked to, he puts you inside the funeral and the life, too, in a way nothing else I've read has.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dude! Didn't the LA Times knock down Webb's conspiracy theory? Maybe they were doing the CIA's bidding, but I don't think so. Bob Scheer wouldn't let them get away with that. The left's Hall of Heroes should be reserved for the likes of Che, Huey and the other genuine martyrs to Bu$Hitler imperialism.