Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Offstage Waiting for My Cue, or Teaching as Performance (Plus the Florida Contradiction)

John Keats' tombstone, Protestant cemetery, Ro...Image via Wikipedia
Tomorrow is the first day of class, and I am anxious and excited, particularly about the journalism ethics class.

Let us consider Keats notion of Negative Capability:

'At once it struck me, what quality went to form a Man of Achievement, especially in literature, and which Shakespeare possessed so enormously- I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties. Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.'

To me, that describes journalism its practice and its instruction, once you venture beyond the 'toolbox,' all those interviewing and newswriting techniques that any reasonably clever person with an inquisitive disposition can master in six weeks of close attention to how the job is done.

But to what end? Some rules would be a relief. What's the joke about the Ten Commandments, that they are not the Ten Suggestions? But when it comes to journalism ethics, I have only suggestions. No, you choose. It's up to you. Your facts are assembled in dread array. You can write it-- you certainly know how to write it -- but should you?

What delicious self importance. What exhilarating self absorption! How I loved it.

 Meanwhile in Florida E. tries to decide how to settle the question of  how her mother is to be allowed to die. And today Mom is doing better! The physical therapist says she's walking better. Why she could easily be mistaken for a child of 88, not 98, the physical therapist says! How much pain should we impose on her or encourage her to endure in the hope that she can push through the pain to.... What?

Uncertainty. Uncertainty. Uncertainty and the responsibility that comes with it. Sometimes it's fun. And sometimes it's not.

I need a good night's sleep.

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1 comment:

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