More Jackson County Opinions...

OCTOBER 16, 2002


Column
By:Kerri Graffius
The Jackson Herald
October 16, 2002

A year later and...oops!
Well, I finally made it through my rookie year here at MainStreet Newspapers. Being a journalist is like being in any other public service-related industry—you always have a lot of stories to tell.
Take my loved ones, for example.
When I first told my boyfriend, James, that not only would I be reporting for his hometown newspaper, but that I would be writing an occasional opinion column as well, he flipped out (a little).
He thought I would write about him in every column or share details with the rest of the county about our personal lives. He didn’t want any mention of his name and even suggested one night that I change my boyfriend’s name in each column, just to see if people actually read what I write. At the same time that he’s insistent on anonymity, he’ll ask me to say hello to one of his old high school friends that I just interviewed. Well, a year later and I’ve only mentioned his name three times in my columns (this marks the fourth).
But James probably doesn’t even know that I am writing about him. Every time I bring him the first copy hot off the press, he’ll throw aside the A Section (where all of my written stories appear) and flip immediately to the social section to see which one of his high school friends is getting married now.
I’ve also learned in the past year that just because my family doesn’t live in Northeast Georgia, doesn’t mean I can write whatever I want about them. They check MainStreet Newspaper’s website often, just to see if I’m calling them crazy or poking fun at their names or just calling them strange.
For that matter, people around here often ask me about my “strange” accent. It’s Midwestern—I grew up in Texas.
On another personal attribute, I’ve realized in the past year that a lot of you think I’m someone else. It took some awkward situations and a few months to figure it out, but I’m not Jana Adams.
For the record, I’m really short with long, blonde hair. Jana Adams, another reporter, has dark brown hair and Yve Assad, our photographer, has curly hair. Find the blonde-headed reporter and that’s me.
Funny, though, when I dyed my hair a few months (yes, I’m admitting that I dyed my hair), I really didn’t think anyone would notice. My hair was already dirty-blonde, but when I went straight blonde it seems like everyone had to make a comment about it. I don’t care what I’m covering—city council meetings, crime scenes, feature stories, whatever—someone mentions my hair. One city council member recently flagged me down in my car just to give me his opinion on it. Honestly, I didn’t think I changed my hair that much, but I guess I did.
Speaking of cars, around January I wrote a column about the new state teen driving laws. When I was writing that column I had a really bad feeling that I was going to get a speeding ticket the day after the column was published.
Two days after that column was published, I was driving to work and thinking, “Well, it’s been two days. I guess that feeling was wrong.”
Just then, I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw a police car racing after me. I had just received my first speeding ticket. Oops!
Back here at the MainStreet Newspaper office, I’ve learned how to deal with a news room filled with male, sports reporters—you just don’t listen to them.
Former sports editor Tim Thomas used to test my auditory skills the most. He knew I wasn’t listening to everything, but every now and then he would throw out some random saying, just to see if I would protest at his comments (I didn’t).
Apparently, when Rochelle Beckstine used to occupy my desk, she would add spark to any controversial topic the guys were talking about. But, I usually just give them looks or roll my eyes and keep typing. (And Tim, I was listening.)
Overall, I’ve learned a few other things through my work here at MainStreet Newspapers.
Some politicians will hate you just because you’re a journalist; some politicians will love you just because you’re a journalist. Wearing skirts isn’t a good idea, because you’ll never know what you’ll be doing or what you’ll be walking into that day. And always have a camera, because news can happen anywhere.
There are also a few people I need to thank.
Thanks to all of the city clerks for answering my (many) questions. Thanks to the people at Subway in Jefferson for knowing what I order everyday.
Thanks to James’ parents for letting me crash at their home while I wait out meetings in West Jackson. And thanks especially to his mom for learning my meeting schedule and having dinner ready on those nights. It’s been a great way to know the future in-laws (my mom is so jealous).
Kerri Graffius is reporter for MainStreet Newspapers. Her e-mail address is kerri@mainstreetnews.com.

Jackson County Opinion Index

Send us a letter
Column
By: Virgil Adams
The Jackson Herald
October 16, 2002

Answering the questions
Over and over, time after time, I’ve told you that I don’t understand anything. Religion, politics, the economy — I don’t have a clue. So why do you read this stuff?
I may have a clue.
You’ve listened to a plethora of renowned theologians, professional politicians, and famous economists.
You are a faithful reader of The Methodist Advocate, The Baptist Index, and The Catholic Digest, and you regularly watch the charismatic performers on the Trinity Broadcast Network.
Every day you check out the political columnists and analysts in The New York Times, The Washington Post and the AJC.
You keep up with the Dow, NASDAQ, and the bear and the bull in The Wall Street Journal.
And you get a taste of all three — religion, politics, and economics — in The Jackson Herald every week.
But you still don’t know what’s going on.
So you begin to think. So, if all these know-it-alls aren’t enlightening me, why not listen to the village idiot? He may be onto something.
Here, class, are the answers to last week’s questions.
1. What exactly are the moderates trying to moderate?
A. The moderates are trying to moderate the two extremes – the liberals and the conservatives, the right and the left — so everybody will gather in the center and be just like them.
And then everything will by hunky-dory. No more squabbling. No more fighting. Smooth sailing ahead, right?
Right!
And what a boring, dull, lackluster world this will be. All the excitement will be gone. No more running hot and cold — only lukewarm. No more highs, no more lows. We’ll live out our lives on the straight, narrow, level plateau. We’ll sit on the fence until we have blisters on our butts.
(Never thought you’d hear a moderate say that, did you? Look, I’m no moderate. When I’m extolling the virtues of moderation, I’m just talking. I’m testifying now. I hate tolerance. And political correctness is a pox, a plague, and a curse — a trinity of disastrous evils — on our country.)
Let us move on to the next question.
2. What exactly are the liberals trying to liberate?
A. Liberals are trying to liberate all conservatives, and to a lesser degree all moderates, whom they believe are imprisoned by antiquated beliefs, rigid reasoning, and wrong actions.
Once everybody is free, freedom will ring indeed.
Everybody will be generous, broadminded, and progressive. Not strict or rigorous. No longer will law or morality restrain us. We can disregard commonly accepted rules or principles. We can be as drunk, lewd, lustful, sensual and wanton as we want.
In other words, we’ll trade the boring, dull, lackluster world of the moderates for one that is helter-skelter, chaotic and, after the party, very tired and very hung over.
(Sorry, liberals, I just try to tell it like it is.)
Let us move on to the next question.
3. What exactly are the conservatives trying to conserve?
A. This one is a bit tricky. Unlike the moderates and the liberals, the conservatives aren’t trying to chance anything. Whatever their beliefs, reasoning and actions, they are determined to hang onto them come hell, high water, higher taxes or Tom Daschle. And since their policy is not an open door one, it is difficult to know what is going on behind their closed doors.
I assume (take you and me out of assume and see what you have left) that the CEOs of Enron, WorldCom,Tyco et al are (were) conservatives.
I am sure they were not interested in conserving your 401-Ks. I am reasonably sure they were interested in conserving their ill-gotten fortunes.
Let me hasten to point out that those crooks are not typical of all conservatives. There are good conservatives, just as there are good moderates and good liberals.
Whatever conservatives are trying to conserve, they are happiest when they have a lot of it and unhappiest when they lose some of it, like when they take a hit in the stock market or get caught with their hand in the cookie jar.
Conservatives are cautious by definition and by nature, but when it comes to war, they are the hawks and the liberals are the doves. Go figure.
Conservatives talk a lot about family values, but the way some of them value their own families makes you wonder. But as I indicated last week, neither conservatives, moderates nor liberals are immune to the temptation to stray.
* * *
What’s to make of all this? And what to do about it?
I have no clue, and I am glad I don’t. If I did, I might be like the moderates and liberals and try to change everything, or like the conservatives and hold onto the status quo.
As long as we’ve got the moderates, liberals and conservatives fighting each other, there is hope. If one of them ever whips the other two, turn out the lights. Hello, totalitarianism.
Totalitarianism: “the political concept that the citizen should be totally subject to an absolute state authority.”
Is that what you want? No?
Then be thankful that you live in a country where you can be different — and free. Free to be liberal, moderate or conservative. Free to be all three, at any given moment, as the situation arises. Free to not have a clue what you are.
But for the grace of God and the good ol’ USA, we could be under the thumb of communism, anarchism, anarchosyndicalism, syndicalsim, or some other gosh-awful form of government.
Don’t forget to vote next month.
Virgil Adams is a former owner and editor of The Jackson Herald.


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