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Saturday, February 14, 2015

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  • Gary Neil Carden Poor Brian Williams. If he and I were on speaking terms, I would invite him up to sit on the porch and stare at the Balsam Mountains. I would try to say something helpful, like “Hey, Brian, I tell lies, too. Yeah, I have been doing it for most of my life. No particular reason.” And then, I would tell him that it had a lot to do with my pleasure at watching people’s eyes when I told them how fat the groundhog is that lives behind the house. I like to see people’s jaws drop when I told them about the hoop snake that used to roll down Painter Knob, stinging oak trees along the way, making the swell, Yeah, I told lies for the same reason Jack Kerouac did ... because I loved that magic moment when I delivered that punch line which was like the moment when the big 4th of July sky rocket went off over the courthouse, raining mullti-colored streamers across the sky and everybody said a kind of whispered, “Wow.” I would tell Brian that maybe he tells lies for the same reason. I don’t really know since I don’t watch the nightly news that much, you know, but it seems like maybe Brian doesn’t have all that much to work with. I mean, if he reviews the average nightly report and it looks remarkably like the previous nightly report, I think that prompts Brian to try improve a batch of deadly, grim and boring facts with a personal touch. Yeah! I do it all the time.
    Like I remember once when I was teach Victorian literature to a bunch of bored and jaded teenagers who slouched in their seats and smirked at me, and well, to tell you the truth, I didn’t have much to interest them since I was teaching Tennyson that day, and suddenly I was filled with a perverse desire to spark their interest, so I said, “Tennyson first experimented with cannibalism when he was twelve. He killed his irritating cousin who was visiting and fricasseed him on the backyard grllll. He served him with some baked potatoes and scolloped tomatoes,” Lo, I saw a spark of interest in my bored class. Heads raised, faces changed from comatose to surprise and I went on into an analysis of “Idylls of the King.” Hands were raised,
    “Sir, did you just say he killed and.....ate somebody?” I replied that there was a complete account in “Locksley Hall” and I suggested that the class read the poem. They did. Some of them even liked it a bit.
    Now, I can easily imagine Brian Williams feeling that he might “jazz up” his latest adventure into Iraq with a bit of personal experience, noting that the aircraft in which he was riding was hit by burst of enemy fire. Did this bit of
    imaginary terror cause any stirring among the couch potatoes? Did his viewing audience drop their pizza slices and listen to him with greater attention? Did this bit of falsehood do them any harm? Anyway, the point of my post is simply, perhaps Brian was amiss in giving false information, but I for one am willing to forgive him for attempting to add a bit of frission to the nightly news. After all the nightly news is frequently guilty of the same thing when they add “inspirational” spots that denote courage in the face of daunting odds. .... Like the blind cat that is hiking the Appalachian Trail or the man who is knitting sweaters for injured penguins. Wow! Aren’t those just another form of Kerouac fireworks?
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