Kill Your Status Quo

June 19 - someone else rants

Seething Bilious Hate, Down 3%
Where is all the good news? Why is the media so obsessed with horrorand misery? Herein, some possible salve
By Mark Medford 

This morning on Highway 12 during dreary rush-hour traffic no one was really enjoying in the slightest, a large black gas-guzzling SUV slowed down slightly to allow not one but two small cars to merge into the lane ahead of it without the driver feeling the slightest need to blare his horn or swerve angrily or pull out any major weaponry. And in fact said driver even smiled and shrugged and hummed and wasn't really bothered in the slightest and arrived to work exactly 1.3 seconds later than he would have, otherwise.

Sidebar: Drivers in the other vehicles suffered slightly less stress and heart-clenching tension, and in fact one felt sufficiently diminished amounts of jadedness and resignation about life that she finally said, what the hell, I'm going for it. And she took a deep breath and took some initiative and posted that nerve.com personal ad and signed up for that art class and decided to eat more organic foods and forsake Oprah and read more actual books, as opposed to hollow coming-of-age family melodramas featuring alcoholism and betrayal and bitterly dysfunctional mother-daughter relationships.

Meanwhile in Israel, several hundred if not thousand Israeli and Palestinian families living in relatively close proximity to one another, and each deeply proud of their respective nation's history and foundations and traditions, did not actively seethe in a roiling cauldron of hatred or religious bile, nor did they let the horrible atrocities some of their people are perpetrating on each other cause them to froth with self-righteousness and mad desire for war. They did not go about their day cowering in a pit of lost hope, fearing for their lives and wishing their neighbors extreme painful death and eternal damnation, despite all the painful evidence and political urgency currently screeching at them that they must do so immediately.

It was a decided and almost prosaic lack of burning simmering timeworn malignant sentiment that lasted at least an entire day, if not the week, and perhaps longer, God and Allah willing. We hereby interrupt to report that the above non-events were reported nowhere, because if you are not really incredibly violently angry about something, you are not news.

Also this week a very large multinational corporation held its quarterly board meeting and the CEOs and CFOs and all the other abbreviations scanned the financial report and realized they and the company as a whole were in fact exceedingly wealthy and prosperous and powerful.

And in a blasphemous anticapitalist step, the company decided to rake in slightly lower profits for the coming year so it might improve its community standing and treat its employees better and quit lining the pockets of corrupt senators, who by the way a newly released study reveals are just people too.

The corporation, headed largely by Republicans but also some Democrats and an Independent and a handful of women and even one Latino guy, also moved to slightly reduce its executive bonus packages in favor of granting raises to almost all employees and improving the pollution-filtration systems in its overseas manufacturing plants and by anonymously donating a huge slab of cash to the local school system to buy textbooks and art supplies and to hire a dance teacher, and it did so not just for tax deduction purposes or the good PR. In other unreported news, in Catholic churches across the globe, no priest creepily molested any cute young altar boy named Daniel or maybe Gregory, and in fact most members of the clergy ministered carefully and sympathetically to the despondent and the destitute and the spiritually indigent and even to pampered yuppies and well-adjusted homosexuals and women, providing much-needed hope and emotional stability to the lives of many.

In fact, each clergy member went about his day in deference to a higher good, a profoundly altruistic calling, despite the deep flaws and the bitterly archaic dogma plaguing the organization as a whole, and many people were assuaged and loved and spiritually balmed. This just in. Today in your neighborhood, happening right this moment,  numerous people are going about their lives, right there, just outside your window, eating and laughing and crying and screwing and driving  and pissing and sleeping and loving their dogs and children and significant others like mad crazy imperfect bipeds. Some are craving enlightenment and cosmic reassurance and maybe a nap, almost every single one of them not really wanting war and not desiring to wallow in all this anxiety and existential angst and not really wanting to get caught up in all the turmoil or breathe bad air or kill a tree for no reason.

Breaking news: Most everyone is just trying to get through the day. Most everyone really only wants a decent soft bed and good food and warm shelter and to get through it all without suffering any major life-threatening flesh wounds or karmic trauma or embarrassingly protruding nose hairs.

Most people, in fact, care deeply and drive safely and have difficult-to-reach itches in almost exactly the same places you do, and just want to find someone in life to help scratch them. Do not please turn to page C17 for more. Do not tune in later for details and colorful pie charts. Do not ever think what you read in any paper or see on any TV or hear from any talking head is all there is. This is obvious and common-sensical but needs to be repeated because we seem to so easily forget. Thank you and good night.

June 18 - to the National Geographic Society

Dear Mr. Griffin:

Thank you for your reply. I am glad to see that the magazine's management is concerned about these issues, although it appears to have decided that controversy will not alter progress for profits. I had hoped that the NGS, as a wealthy non-profit, would leave a few areas non-commercialized, that book sales, memberships and other income streams would be large enough to allow editorial independence in deciding what to put (and not to put) in the magazine.

Does NGS actually take a stand about what is right or wrong? The Society seems schizophrenic: supporting the increase and diffusion

of geographic knowledge is coming at an increasingly high cost.

I wish that this letter would make a difference, but I feel that the bean-counters are ahead of me.

Regards,

David Zetland

June 18 - The National Geographic Society responds

Thank you for contacting the National Geographic Society about your concerns regarding Fordís sponsorship of the Quest for Everest map supplement. 

As you probably know, the Societyís mission is to increase and diffuse geographic knowledge. The Magazine plays an important role in fulfilling that mission. In addition to remarkable articles and world-renowned photography, we traditionally provide our readers with up to four maps annually. The feedback we receive is that these maps are a highly valued part of our editorial service. 

As we continue to look for new ways to provide additional benefits and information to our readers, weíre trying different approaches through partnerships such as the map sponsorship. Such partnerships are not uncommon in the media and corporate world. The Quest for Everest map represents a test of one such idea, made possible by Fordís support. They had no input or approval on any aspect of the National Geographic map. In exchange for their underwriting, they received an ad on the back. Our readers got a bonus map. It seems like a positive outcome for everyone, and the overall reaction has been favorable. 

We do appreciate your interest, value your comments and will share them with our senior editorial and advertising staffs. Thanks for taking the time to share them with us.

Sincerely,
John Q. Griffin
President, Magazine Group
National Geographic Society

June 8 - Letter to the National Geographic Society

Dear Editors:

I was pleased to see the Everest map in the June 02 issue, but wondered why there was neither a story in the magazine nor a change to the map (which I still have from the Nov 88 magazine). Alas, when I turned over the page, I found a FULL-SIZE Ford advertisement. Now, it's bad enough that your magazine is full of SUV ads, but must you dress up ads for the Expedition (a renamed Explorer seeking to shed a bad reputation?) as if they were editorial content? Can't you leave this type of anything-for-money "journalism" to the tabloids and beauty magazines?

Shame on your scientific credentials!

Regards,

David Zetland
Still a lifetime member (as of now)