News to Us
by Peter Block on July 1, 2010
Our intent here is to reconstruct what is considered news. The traditional news is about extraordinary people working in systems and institutions doing special things. We especially call it news when those extraordinary things are illegal or titillating.
What the politician or performer, the surgeon or scientist, the executive or the athlete does is not really news, it is an old and tired story where we have to find greater and greater extremes to sustain interest.
What is real, authentic news is the story of ordinary people finding satisfaction through their neighborhood and community. What will reweave the social fabric of our democracy is when we get interested in ordinary people doing what were once ordinary things. This is what we consider newsworthy.
When a neighborhood knows a child and maintains a container of concern for that child, this is newsworthy. When we discover a developmentally disabled person who sits as a greeter in a pharmacy so that all who enter feel especially welcomed, that is newsworthy. News that is worthy builds community. News that is worthy makes visible who we are when there are no spotlights, disasters or tragedy. And this is really who we are.
The self that shines in our fifteen minutes of fame is an inflation of a human being. It is day-to-day living that defines us. Most of what we do when no one is watching is generous, kind and forgiving. This not a romantic view. It is reality. Reality is not the scripted subversion of a life we see on TV and in the movies. We plan to take back what is real. See art and grace in the nuances of the neighborhood, regardless of how that place looks to an outsider.
We call this small potatoes. A life that is home made, hand made, shared and within walking distance.
~ Peter ~