And now you know the rest of the story.
That sentence, the tag line of famous broadcaster, Paul Harvey, would end his mini-biographies and histories about obscure facts of history or little known details of famous – or infamous – people familiar to the American public. It would not be uncommon for a listener to utter, Wow, after each episode, having just learned of some detail of an event or character trait of someone that often would utterly change his or her understanding of that event or person.
And yet, today, we seem to forget that there is always a “rest of the story”, lurking behind the headlines or latest utterances of TV or radio pundits. And the result is that we are being duped – day in and day out almost unceasingly. In our current desert of despair there appear very few oases of candor, honesty and integrity.
Recently, I’ve taken to listening to a number of Podcasts by Mike Rowe of the television show, Dirty Jobs, fame. Judging from his range of topics and assortment of guest conversationalists, Rowe seems to be curious and fascinated by a range of subjects, ideas and people. One recent podcast ( Click Here) featured Megyn Kelly, formerly of Fox Cable and now doing her own podcasts and speaking tours. Her conversation with Rowe was entertaining and enlightening. One particular comment, by Ms Kelly, in response to Rowe asking what did listeners and viewers really need to know about the news – how to be critical thinkers and listeners – caught my attention. Kelly’s response was that viewers probably didn’t know how much the news programs and talk shows desperately wanted to scare you and outrage you and to keep you that way.
In days gone by, many television news programs would feature blood and fire to hook viewers – “If it bleeds, it leads” was the motto. Now, it seems, it is fear and loathing…of one another. No, it is more a fear and loathing of nearly everyone and everything. How did this become so? How have so many become Howard Beales, screaming, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” in the film, Network? Click Here. Is it because, since the dawn of the 24 hour news cycle, our outrages and fears and hatreds have been created and fed? Have we become so trusting or reliant on News Personalities that we have lost all ability to think critically – to think for ourselves?
Are bad things happening? Absolutely. Is everyone out to hurt us? No. Can we change things? Maybe. But, the only way to find out is to try.
Think. Seriously, just think. And ask yourself why things are the way they are. If you see things have gone wrong, think how you can do something about it, rather than just complain.
Learn. Read, research, compare, verify. Don’t rely on one source. Learn the history.
See the humanity in one another. Here’s a challenge – and NOT a “tic-tock” one: No matter where you live – small town, country, large city; whether you live in a single home, HOA, an apartment building…whatever, invite 5- 8 people to get together for a meal. Everyone takes a turn hosting a dinner. It doesn’t have to be fancy. As a matter of fact, simple is better. At the end of the cycle of everyone getting together it is almost certain that you will have made several new friends. You will also have been exposed to different points of view (avoid the taboos: politics and religion!) and discovered some really interesting people. Keep these get-togethers going and you may be surprised at how differently your world begins to look.
Make it a point to be sincerely polite to people you come into contact with on a day to day basis.
And, most importantly, pray. Pray that God helps you to be a better person. If enough prayers are answered what a better world this can be.