To my email subscribers. Click on AN EDITORIAL COMMENTARY above for full post, links—and color.
Playing Around With A Story Line in Different Literary Genres
Writing Leap #5 An Editorial Commentary
Did you ever hear or see something on the news that struck you as particularly horrible, funny or sad?
If it’s sad, like the event below, I find that writing about it helps me to think about it.
A commentary is an opinion about an event that reveals the writer’s feelings about the situation. A foray into journalism. Readers may respond to the details as well as the common human experience the piece may portray.
Sometimes Love Hesitates (And Sometimes it Doesn’t)
I’m going to play loose with the story line. In this case I’m interpreting the word love as empathy.
Matt Lauer of NBC has seen many shocking and distressing film clips. Hardly any have aggrieved him more, he said, than watching a grandmother on a school bus attempt to ignore vicious taunts from twelve-year-olds.
The bullying incident upset a lot of us. I watched the clip and felt sick.
What was she feeling? The cruelties were coming at her like bullets.
“You’re so fat.”
“You’re so fat you don’t fit in the seat.”
“Put your glasses back on. Cover your ugly face.”
Did these boys know that her son had committed suicide when one yelled out, “Your family should kill themselves so they don’t have to be around you.”
She started crying. The boys pulled at her hair and poked her.
In the next couple of weeks the outpouring of compassion for this grandmother overwhelmed her, she said. People responded. Many sent money. An airline offered to send her and nine friends or family members to Disney World.
Perhaps the humanitarian response was more than compassion. Perhaps it was empathy. We are her. Could this woman’s experience have touched raw feelings of our own humiliations at the hands of others? Or moments of shame when we might have said something unkind?
The outpouring of compassion helped her, the woman said. But what did this incident really do to her perception of herself?
How about you? Do you write down your reactions/thoughts on news stories that have touched you? Do you send letters to newspaper editors? Or comment online? Go for it! You know you have a lot to say, even if you think you don’t. You have feelings and reactions, right? So you have a lot to say.
LINKING THE ARTS
A Favorite Columnist
Maureen Dowd, Op-Ed Columnist for The New York Times, won a Pulitzer for Editorial Commentary in 1999.
She has a razor pen and a kind heart. She is mistress of the metaphor and plays on words. Maureen Dowd makes me cringe sometimes but she always puts ideas in my head. Plus she makes me laugh.
A Powerful Word
A person who torments weaker people.
These days we are all more aware of the prevalence and harmful effects of bullying. Many schools have created consciousness-raising classes to educate bullyers and victims alike about the dynamic of bullying. About time.
A Favorite Painting
Willem de Kooning
I think of empathy when I look at this painting. Maybe it’s the warm yellow colors.