In Uncategorized on March 25, 2009 at 2:52 am
I watched a chilling story on CBS News tonight about a family fighting for the memory of their fallen soldier, Carmelo Rodriguez. He didn’t die in a fire fight, nor at the hands of a suicide bomber. No, his doctor and the military murdered him. According to military medical records, Rodriguez had been diagnosed with a melanoma-ridden mole, but no one told him and it remained untreated. Eight years later, the cancer had spread so much, he died. We’re not talking fall and break your neck kind of dying here. He suffered. In fact, my one criticism of the story is that CBS did not warn viewers of a disturbing image–one of Rodriguez on his death bed, surrounded by family, literally moments from death. They flashed from the photos of a healthy, ripped Marine to video of a man (?) barely alive. It looked like something out of a mummy movie or the cover of a Sci Fi effects magazine. It could have been prevented.
The Rodriguez family wants to change the law that forbids active military or their family members to sue the military based on medical malpractice. It stems from a 1950 Supreme Court case which said, in part, that the doctrine was important to maintaining order and discipline within our military. Allowing a treatable cancer to ravage a human being takes more than discipline. It takes unconscionable cruelty.
Please write your senator/representative and ask them to support the Carmelo Rodriguez bill. I did. CBS makes it easy for concerned citizens to get involved here: http://tinyurl.com/cppg53
In Uncategorized on March 21, 2009 at 4:56 am
I think I’ll start writing some movie reviews here. I used to be a freelance performing arts critic for the St. Petersburg Times. Why do I feel like an ass writing this statement or any statement that begins with, “I used to…” Perhaps my shame is born of a force much stronger than this little five foot frame of mine. Our youth culture and the Internet are a potent combination hell bent on eradicating the virtues of experience and credentials. Hell bent in a totally casual way, of course. I am no Luddite; however I do mourn this nasty side effect of technology. I marvel that anyone, regardless of talent, can broadcast their views to the world in a nanosecond. The free speech loving, red tape hating woman in me laughs as the barriers tumble, as the gags of money and power rip apart. Yet, I wonder everyday how the talented, the balanced, the ethical will be heard amidst the cacophony of tweets and tags.
In a world where the citizen is journalist, where the journalist is analyst, where the analyst is vendor, where the vendor is government, who do we trust; where do we go for knowledge, advice or entertainment? Theories around credibility are central to the answer and I’ve been reading a lot in this department lately. Drs. Miriam Metzger and Andrew Flanagin at the University of California, Santa Barbara, are exploring this topic with fascinating research. It would appear that a less hierarchical, peer based model of credibility is emerging with the advent of digital media. Any kind of credibility would be a salve on my worry, but in a different study we learn that some who say they verify a source, actually do no such thing. This lack of self-awareness or worse, a propensity to fit an image perceived to be desirable (i.e. I tell you what you want to hear) is even more disturbing.
The Internet is aiding and abetting, producing Jayson Blairs like so many copulating bunnies. Maybe I’ve got it all wrong though. The Blair analogy is funny because the vaunted New York Times had plenty of warning about his poor–borderline criminal performance, yet he was not fired. Maybe my bastions of ethics, integrity and authority were always suspect and it is those very citizen journalists, the unwashed, the un-credentialed that will congeal in some magical, Internet wiki wiki way to become the new mass media. All I can say is: beware of bunnies.