We have been in Phoenix for almost 7 weeks. Escaped all the BC snow ‘cept for the first few days. Been living in sunshine down here ‘cept for the first few days which was mostly just refreshing rain with a lot of sunshine in between. The desert was beautiful. No question, Phoenix in January and February is a very pleasant retreat from a Canadian winter, even the mild ones we have on the coast.
And, today it snowed again around the Salish Sea. My host wrote to tell me, “It snowed again!!! Change your flights, stay another week, save yourselves man, for the love of God!!!!
We missed four earthquakes, too.
To stay is tempting. A little. But NOT tempting enough. Why? I don’t know, really. There is no place like home? I am not a cowboy…? Flat and brown gets me down….? I don’t play cards and ‘do’ BBQ with old folks….? Seen one mall, seen ’em all…..? I don’t really know…..
It’s probably just that I am old. I thought I’d be drawn to play golf. I really like golf. But, well, I was more drawn to writing the book and we are definitely closer to the end of that exercise. This trip turned out to be a writer’s retreat and, in that vein, it was superb. Takes time to read and re-read the same book ten times and changing it every time.
It was also a chance to peak into the ‘media’ and ‘news’ that is right here in the heart of Trumplandia.
I confess: NPR and PBS is good. CBS and CNN are good. Of course, the BBC is good. So is the NY Times and a handful of other news sources. Instead of flag-waving and ignorant propaganda, many ‘Merican news sources seem to be making an extra effort to be ‘neutral’ and fact-based. This new trend to ‘fact-checking’ may, in fact, reestablish the MSM as something to listen to.
Last night FOX News did a report on Sweden’s Immigration problems as touted by Trump. They interviewed two ‘security advisers’ to support their contention that Sweden is having unreported difficulties with immigration. By this morning, several major news agencies reported that no officials at any level of government in Sweden had ever heard of the so-called security advisers interviewed on Fox. Fox simply made up the titles!
Mind you, ‘security adviser’ is hardly a title restricted to only trained and specially educated people. I am pretty sure I could claim to be a security adviser. Who can say otherwise? But the claim had implications of official status, authenticity and legitimacy. It was none of those.
But my point is: the media war is on. Fox lies on Saturday night and is debunked Sunday morning. The MSM has never been so ‘on the ball’, so diligent in their fact-checking and so focused on truth-telling. I think it is a good thing.
But, so far, that kind of professional journalism has not spread to the Vancouver Sun, CBC or Global.
I.e. Where is the OUTRAGE at the BC Liberal party for the blatant ‘bribing of the electorate’ (with the electorate’s own money) just before the next election after years of withholding? Where is the condemnation of the site C dam that has been crumbling in various ways from the get go and now has a major crack in the wall? Where is the follow-up story on the make-us-all-rich promise of LNG? Where is the anger at the Kinder Morgan pipeline sell-out? Seriously? The US media is better than ours.
I admit to having watched much worse media than ours, too. The local Arizona station did five or six stories in a row that were not stories at all. ‘Police getting nicer’ (some feel good cops talking to people took up gobs of time), a story on ‘therapy dogs’ for the mentally challenged, a practice session for some applicants in the Special Olympics, some motorcycle rider’s traffic accidents and a day care that is not up to scratch with cleaning and such. Half an hour of less-than-gossip. Stupid-making gibberish passing as news and filled with advertisements for lawyers and drugs. Very weird. In effect, it was cheap, amateurish local news-gathering used to convey an extraordinary level of huckster-style-advertising.
My biggest take-away from Arizona is a confirmation that the common people everywhere share so much of the same values; kindness, consideration, generosity and friendliness. These are nice folks. Ignorant? I think so…..but benignly so for the most part. They prefer sitcoms and football, BBQ and shopping malls, fast food and country music to anything more complicated. But they’ll share their BBQ and beer at the drop of a hat. That ain’t all bad.
I have known this kind of common humanity everywhere I have been in my life. It may be soccer and cervezas, rice and chicken feet or Vodka and borscht, makes no difference, the common people are usually alright. Nice. Pleasant. Like sheep, really. Easy to exploit, manipulate and manage, that’s for sure. But easy to like, as well.
It’s been a good vacation.