Two weeks ago I read D. Patrick Miller’s article “Notes Toward A Journalism Of Consciousness” [Issue 170]. Having done some media work during the past six years, I found it extremely helpful. I had no idea how helpful it would be until a cover article about me and my medical practice was recently published in the Maine Times.
Having spent more than eight hours talking with the journalist who wrote the piece, I felt I knew her. She is a Buddhist meditator and does fine work on environmental issues. She is also a feminist; I felt that the two of us had an excellent connection.
When the article came out, it had a flavor of controversy which I have never perceived in my practice. I found D. Patrick Miller to be right on target when he said, “So far as I could tell, journalists of all stripes — left, right, and mainstream — enjoyed the battle of their jousting perspectives too much to confront their personal investments in conflict.”
Had I not read Miller’s article prior to the publication of this piece, I would have been quite disheartened. Now it feels as though I have simply slipped into the bad guys/good guys arena upon which all journalism is based. I found that the journalist who interviewed me was not interested in my work. She was more concerned with stirring up controversy.
I was planning to send her Miller’s article in any case, because I had the feeling she would appreciate what he had to say. I will now send the article with a note suggesting she could be a recruit for the field of conscious journalism.
In the future, I do not intend to spend hours with a journalist until I have written assurance that I will be able to review the final piece. I want to make certain that what I have to say is fairly represented. I thank you for this very healing piece.
The Sun arrived yesterday with John Gatto’s “Why Schools Don’t Educate” [Issue 175]. It’s a very important document and I am grateful for it.
As a teacher of young children I especially respond to his statements about the lack of time in schooling. One can see the bewilderment in the eyes of students as they are forced to change activities or move faster than their own sense of time suggests. And I join John Gatto in being offended by the school’s intrusion into the privacy of children. Most of all, I appreciate Gatto’s emphasis on family as a vital element of true education. Each September I tell my students’ parents, “I couldn’t do it without you,” and I mean it. Our relationship is critical to their child’s sense of self and community.
The one area Gatto did not touch on directly, and which I feel needs greater attention, concerns our disappearing notion of childhood. It is so subtle it often goes unrecognized. Neil Postman has spoken to this point in The Disappearance Of Childhood, as has David Elkind in The Harried Child, All Grown Up And No Place To Go: Teen-Agers In Crisis, and Miseducation.
May I please have permission to copy the article so it can aid reflection, dialogue, and action on behalf of children and the larger community?
I support your decision to leave advertising out of The Sun. Your “Editor’s Note” [Issue 175] was very inspiring and struck a responsive chord in my wife and me: we have for the past fifteen years endeavored to live our lives as a prayer to something other than the gods of commercial necessity. It started in San Francisco when we felt the need to provide quality photographic services to people who couldn’t afford our standard fees. In examining the situation closely, we realized that we could afford to do what we wanted. It was the fear of stepping outside society’s parameters that had kept us from being who and what we desired to be. We’ve kept this philosophy through our counseling of the handicapped and the work we do with abused children. It has kept us sane in an increasingly strange world.
I just read your editorial explaining your decision to drop all advertising. My soul is quietly applauding, or at least nodding approval. A magazine that refuses to seduce is such a rare pleasure. As a reader, I feel honored and respected by your decision.