As I set out to find events in the news that some online journalists mention, I quickly discovered the lack of international events in the news. Certainly, there has been newsworthy items in late October and November, such as the turmoil in Kosovo or the Congo war or the tensions between UN weapons inspectors in Iraq or the violence in Jakarta, Indonesia. However, since few of these tensions revolve under a single event, searching for such items in online journal entries is a near-futile act. The international events that journallers across the globe write about are rare and typically tragic, such as the Swissair Flight 111 crash or the death of Princess Diana. It is a mixed blessing.
I originally wanted to explore journalists' reactions to Jack Kevorkian's 60 Minutes episode when he administered a lethal injection to a terminally ill man. I felt that such a public display had a slim chance of being covered in journals around the world. It didn't compel many online journalists to write. The United States November 3rd Election did. A large number of American journalists expressed their feelings and observations (not surprisingly, none of the non-US journals I searched mentioned it). Some mentioned that they voted. Others mentioned that they didn't.
"I didn't vote in this last election." boldly declares Jazzbo of Jazzbo's World Journal in his November 26th entry. "I refuse to be a coconspirator in something I've grown to despise. Screw my 'civic duty!'... Who cares which sick puppy is in charge? What difference could it possibly make?" Earlier in November he proclaims, "Politics is one of the manure piles of life that we have to deal with whether or not we enjoy the smell of shit. Politics is the big beast that has created the shit out here in the hinterlands."
Columbine, of alewife bayou in her November 3rd entry makes a comment on voter apathy. "I figure it's as much contentment as anything else, and once a sufficient number of people get irritated enough with the status quo, people will start to vote again. But, goodness - you really do forfeit your right to complain if you don't." Both her November 4th entry and November 5th entry entirely discuss campaign finance.
On November 3rd, Dreama of File Under D writes, "When I voted this morning, I realized that I could not, in good conscience, vote for any of the choices available to me for U.S. Senate." From Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, she decides to write in a vote for her mother. "She'll now be in the history books forever as having received one vote for the U.S. Senate in 1998. Go mom."
Elizabeth of Scrawls, a life in writing makes a comparison between voting and the WWF after hearing that Minnesota elected Jesse "The Body" Ventura, a former wrestler, Governor. In her November 3rd entry she lampoons, "Both are a barrel full of monkeys throwing swings at each other that aren't intended to hit, just look real for the cameras."
Elizabeth wasn't the only journaller that found the election of a professional wrester amusing. Bill of Man Out of Time comments on his victory speech on November 3rd. "His victory speech was entertaining, Iíve got to give him that. How many governors-elect have used the word 'sucks' in their victory speeches?" He'd like someone from Minnesota to explain why Governor Ventura was voted into office. Email him if you have an answer.
From San Diego, California, Gus of randomly ever after made the observation that people in his area "are far more concerned about housing difficulties than they are about preserving open space". His November 4th entry uses these observations to note his own feelings. "...I never cared nearly as much about the environment around Charlottesville, Virginia (where I lived for two years) as I did about the land in and around my childhood home south of Staunton, Virginia (where I lived 20 years)."
Jim Valvis of The Buck Stops Here states his complex political opinions on November 4th. He touches on his view of the dealth penality, reproductive rights, social programs, gun control, etc. He then turns his eye to the voting public and observes how everyone is out there for their own interests, politicians included. "Politics is about how to get the most for yourself at the least possible cost to yourself. Therefore, it is not just the politicians who are creeps, but their electorate. It takes one to elect one... Every ballot cast is a exercise in ego mania. Then we act surprised and disgusted when politicians act solely in their own interest. "
In Hermeneutics of the Ordinary, bluejack writes several days after the election on the media and politics. "We don't care!" he writes. "Why is it that the anointed pundits, commentators, anchors, and opinion generators totally and continuingly fail to understand that the vast majority of Americans don't think that the Monica Lewinsky thing is the defining political event of the decade?"
Bluejack also mentions another recent event, Senator John Glenn's excursion to space. "Why am I so cynical?" he questions on November 2nd. "Why do I think that if a wealthy Senator who kept NASA in funds for years wants to go up for a joyride in the Space Shuttle it's just another nail in the coffin of the space
program. I wonder who the next celebrity to go up will be. Tom Hanks probably."
"This whole John Glenn thing is pissing me off too." Jennifer Wade of Like Sands Through the Hourglass chimes in her October 29th entry. "There is no objective scientific reason for this mission to be getting so much attention, and I don't share the nation's apparent unconditional sentimental affection for John Glenn. He's not really qualified to be an astronaut (he's been out of the space program for more than 30 years, and he's displacing real scientists who train for this type of mission every day)."
Kate of cheap black & white does have some positive comments on Glenn's space excursion. "I also think it is fitting that Glenn gets to share this experience. The circle of... something. I'm just awestruck." On October 30th she is optimistic, "I guess I love the space program because it reminds us of the possibilities. I'm never going to be an astronaut, but I can certainly do other important and valuable things if a grandfather can go into orbit! It reminds us of all that is still unknown. Still available to explore. The universe belongs to the curious."
John Glenn sparked a great deal of
humorous email for November.
Searching for events every month is a labor-intensive process. The few volunteers and I try to keep our eyes out for things, but I realize that there are lots of great entries out there that are missed. If you're a journaller from outside the US that writes an entry on an event that you think other journalists would comment on, email me the URL. If you're from inside the US, I'd still like to hear from you. I am only an egg.