The caricature of JD Rockefeller likened to Dickens’ Ebenezer Scrooge sets the example of a hardened heart, a practical misanthrope, a cynic, but a successful one. Turning the gloom of hatred into financial success or is it the misery of success that produces the revulsion of one’s fellows?
The converse finds the ever bright and shining light of Melanie Wilkes, Scarlett O’Hara’s long suffering friend who would not say a bad word about anyone and dutifully, with dying breath, asks Scarlett to care for Ashley. Actual shining lights are hard to find outside religious martyrs. One finds temporary examples in Tammy Faye Baker or Oprah, both during their early years before an inquisitive press revealed the human foibles behind the image.
Oh but to the skeptic goes the prize, sometimes the Nobel Prize. The lineage of great skeptics includes Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Clemens, and Will Rogers, all men who sought the reason behind the action and the truth within the myth.
America’s uniqueness was founded in the skepticism of freethinking individuals who dared to ask questions, think about the answers, and return with even more questions as doubt and concern for the rational, logical, positive progressiveness spurred them on to create the greatest capitalistic country the world has ever seen.
Rising to the occasion of continual skepticism requires increasing vigilance as time creates history from current events. An inherent positivism, in the face of evidence, that allows joys to shine through while endeavoring to search for the radiance humankind has within to propel the species forward toward greater things, makes a reporter get up in the morning, stay late, ask the questions of representatives and the citizenry, get the story, the whole story, because we need a frame from which society can scrutinize itself to change for better.
The good news for the publishing industry is that inquisitive reporting, superior writing and telling people the truth increases readership, promotes an informed citizenry, sets ethical standards and it’s good for business.