This is your article on drugs

9 02 2008

ArticlesWhen people write articles for widespread publications, I like for the authors to draw clear lines between objectivity and subjectivity. Otherwise, it can be really hard to tell what the point or motive of the entire article is, like in this one about Barack Obama and drug use.

The article offers insights into Barack Obama’s college days and focuses on drug use presumably because of its headline value.  While the article seems particularly objective, offering information directly from Barack’s autobiographical works and comments by college friends of his, by the end of it, I wondered why I had read an entire article to learn absolutely nothing.  The entire articles uses the following format: paragraph about Barack and claimed usage of drugs, paragraph about Barack’s friends and their lack of knowledge of drug usage, paragraph about random, unrelated activities Barack participated in during college, repeat.  This pattern is followed to the very end, which ends with someone quoted as saying, “I would never say that he was a druggie.”

In the end, we assume that Barack’s statements are true as well as those made by his friends.  If they are true, then the article appears to be worthlessly objective.  The author offers no conclusions or analysis, instead choosing to simply end the article.  I feel it’s fairly obvious that, if Barack used drugs in college, not everyone would have complete knowledge of it.  That point is clearly illustrated here, but that seems to be the only point.  I’m fairly the headline of the article tells the entire story of the article much more succinctly and effectively.

If the article has some other motive, perhaps to hurt Barack’s image if only by using a title that misleadingly accuses Obama of being a liar, then suddenly the point is something completely different.  The article is still a worthless read, but because it is fairly well-written and lengthy, it can be published in a newspaper such as the New York Times.  In essence, it successfully hurts Barack’s image without appearing as if it is, which seems to be the cruel path some journalists are taking nowadays.

Quote of the day 2

2 02 2008

Quotes“How can I convince you to trust me?” -The Fourth Side

Trust is an important issue in the world today. World leaders are chosen based on the trust people have in them. Loving relationships are based around complete trust two individuals have in one another. But in general, people have an inherent distrust in others that is hard to overcome. With the pain and suffering that is displayed across TV and news, it’s hard not to be wary of strangers and their motives. In fact, we have settled into a situation where people seem more surprised by good Samaritans than by people who lie or ignore the hardship of others. People ask, “What’s the catch?” Response: “There is none.” “You’re lying. What’s the catch?”

So “how can I convince you to trust me?” Every single day we guess people’s motives. No matter how much they attempt to convince us of the truth, we can never be completely sure, which is why this quote is so perplexing. The question itself doesn’t imply good intentions or bad intentions. It’s completely ambiguous. If I asked it to you, you would not know if trusting me would lead to extortion and backstabbing or to a bonding relationship. So how do you answer? You answer, “Why do you deserve my trust?” No matter what gesture I make, what experiences I have had, what emotion I show, you can never know for certain that it isn’t all just a farce as well.

Yet, every day people choose to trust people based on assumed reasons. People assert the truths and lies behind every single motion of political candidates. Often, major changes in the world can be based on the trust in chosen political figures. Trust is a source of hope that drives people and promotes lasting relationships. It also can destroy hope when trust is shattered. Where is the balance between basing trust on hope and understanding that every person in the world, good or evil or simply misleading, is trying to convince us to trust them?

On the other side of things, it’s depressing to know that no matter how much you want to convince someone to trust you, sometimes it’s just not possible.