The value of emotions as ink put on paper

My Turn

Posted: Sunday, February 04, 2001

I have a filter allowing me to read Word of Mouth and differentiate between venting and voicing.

I had not read the editorial the Empire printed in the waning days of 2000, though I gather Mr. Jerry Reinwand did, as too, he is likely peeking at Word of Mouth.

Journalistic standards are perhaps much like standards for chiefs of staff, lobbyists and businessmen, not to mention the rest of us lowly citizenry. Perhaps if we all had such positions of power, lofty titles and the necessary monetary backing we too might be able to gather an audience to listen to our concerns, our standards. Alas, there is little monetary value in silence.

On a separate but related note, I recently sat through part of a CBJ council meeting. An ordinance was passed to control those pesky loud car stereo operators and anyone who'd think of throwing a noisy party lasting after 10 p.m. The ordinance dealt with noise, of which I am not a proponent. So, why is an ordinance passed in a relative blink-of-the-eye, one discriminating against a small segment of the population while similar standards cannot be adopted to cover all noise? I suspect the answer is digital, though not computer-related.

Ironically, while the ordinance was being amended one of the wiser councilmen asked why couldn't there be a comprehensive noise-related ordinance, say, to cover car stereos, parties and helicopters? Finishing his question with a slight chuckle, the rest of the council made quick work of his attempt at honest governance, passing the ordinance favoring an adversarial system of law with the bang of the mayor's gavel. It has been written, in the form of ink on paper.

Lawmakers, custodians, carpenters and parents all have standards. Few are written, nor can they be. I have to wonder though. With laws, rules and imposed standards proliferating in everything we do, from our children's education to operating a stepladder, I, for one am heartily glad for the occasional chance to read the printed word as if emotions on paper and sort out what is fact and what is not. At times unnerving, others aggravating, still others, moving and inspirational.

Thankfully, I have a filter allowing me to read Word of Mouth and differentiate between venting and voicing. Giving titles such as, doctor, lawyer, legislator or lobbyist should not confer one any more right to speak (or write) than those without these titles. To quote Jerry Reinwand, "The column also allows wildly inaccurate allegations to - in effect - be interpreted by the reader as fact, simply because the allegations take the form of ink on paper." Well put, Mr. Reinwand.

Jeff Slaughter is a carpenter who previously worked in tourism.



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