News and Stories

Fri 23 Aug, 1996

Somebody chukked a couple days-old San Antonio Express-Newses in my landlady’s yard a couple days ago; she being outta town and me being the neighborhood-watched, i snagged ’em. (Yes, this must be my “news rave” i’d referred to earlier.) For many years now– i guess since i first moved out of my parents’ house & was living on my own & didn’t get a daily newspaper or have a TV– i’ve wondered on those rare occasions when i DO see the news, “just who the **** decides what IS news and what ISN’T?”

Headline: “Perot accepts Reform nomination” Huh? Some bottled-water company is agreeing to change their name? Who cares? I mean, what does this have to do with ME? Little ol’ me, stuck down here in the butt-end of nowhere just trying to survive from one day to the next, lucky to have a day when a bill or a creditor isn’t bugging me about “you owe us money / u o us munny / ewe oh us mummy.”

It’s news to me when the full moon rolls around and me & a bunch of my friends hang out at the beach making music and dancing around the fire. It’s news to me when the 1/2 Pad gets a bit of precipitation. It’s news to me when somebody i know gets a cool job or meets a nice soul mate. It’s news to me when my band Makak gets a gig or composes a new rhythm. It’s news to me when i got enuff money left over after paying bills to take a friend out to dinner.

But i’ve hardly ever read any of that kinda stuff in a “newspaper” or seen it on a “newscast.” When i win that $60 mil in the Texas Lottery, i’m just gonna buy me my own goll dern newspaper and fill it with nothin’ but MY news, goddammit. What about “objectivity,” you say? What about “SUBjectivity,” i respond.
“You can’t expect to sell any newspapers if all that’s in it are stories about YOU,” you reply.
“Why not?” i ask. “At least i don’t PRETEND to be objective, unlike other so-called ‘newspapers.’”

I guess my point is that objectivity is a fiction– we can pretend to pull ourselves out of our bodies to take a look at a given scene from an unseen perspective, but we must always see from one perspective or another. Or even many perspectives. But it’s still, in the end, YOU’RE perspective. This is not to say that subjectivity isn’t a fiction– obviously it IS. I just wanna say that ALL WE HAVE ARE STORIES. Real, fiction, yours, somebody else’s, it doesn’t matter. Don’t sell your own stories short.

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