Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Saradise Lost & Found - Chapter One - Michael Carey's Wise Empathy

I probably have more respect for the corpus of work done by Michael Carey over the years than for any other Alaska journalist. We've met a few times, and he knows of my respect. I'm not sure how Mike feels about me, but he's one of those people who have observed me in the community over the decades who gives me what I call the "Why can't you just write beautiful, non-controversial music" look. A lot of establishment types in Anchorage - from the left and the right - give me that look.

His columns for the Anchorage Daily News often show a depth of empathy that one seldom experiences in Alaska newspapers. However, his main journalistic responsibility these days, Public Television/Radio's Anchorage Edition, is so often out-of-touch and behind the curve, that I've talked to Jeremy Lansman and others about putting up a REAL weekly roundup opposite of it, to either eclipse that sleepy niche, or force it to take on life again.

The only PA column about Michael Carey took up his excellent column about a person Mike and I both know, Jim Clark. You can read my column and his here.

This week, Mike has come up with two excellent examples of his empathy and wisdom. He penned a column about soon-to-be-ex-Governor Sarah Palin for the ADN today. It invokes sports metaphors and similes throughout, but ends on a contrasting note that ties a lot of the strains of Palin's ephemeral fame together brilliantly:

Palin will continue as an A-list celebrity in the tabloids and gossip magazines. She and her husband, Todd, provide a rich source of family drama, scandal and compelling photographs. She also will remain a celebrity on the Christian right, which adores her.

She will keep my state in the news. But she is finished as a leader. No leader abandons the battle in mid-fight.

How will she be remembered?

If she is remembered at all years from now, my guess is it will be in the same kind of way that we remember the Los Angeles evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, who in the '20s and '30s drew massive crowds and vast media coverage until she disappeared for several weeks without ever adequately explaining where she'd been.

After that she lost her magic and fell out of favor, leaving historians to ponder: "What was everyone so excited about?"

Earlier in the week, Mike was on National Public Radio's Fresh Air. Mike is probably the only Alaskan who has gotten as much national air time since last August 29th as Shannyn Moore. Fresh Air's hostess, Terry Gross, is my favorite on-air interviewer, and her knowledge of Alaskan issues strikes me as more than a cut above most out-of-state journalists. Here it is:

Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:


OzMud said...

Thank you so much for this interview! I can't begin to tell you how much better it makes me feel about the US media :)

Lynn in Australia

Anonymous said...

I'll bet Michael Carey even knows a thing or two about due diligence too.

Aussie Blue Sky said...

Thanks, Phil - I was so disappointed when they didn't have an mp3 - I should have known you'd be on the case.

And I l-o-v-e how the video ends. :)

Anonymous said...

The governor’s oath of office: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Alaska, and that I will faithfully discharge my duties as governor to the best of my ability.”

Either she wasn’t faithful to her oath and she can’t be taken at her word, or her abilities suck; it has to be one or the other, and Alaskans should insist that that be the new meme.

Anonymous said...

Never says someone is finished as a leader or anything else; that makes you famous for being wrong.

I don't like Palin, but I think that jinxed Mike.

Will Sean be any better? I feel like Palin will also claim that this is the Christian idea about men leading and women having less important roles.

Anonymous said...

Terry Gross is the best thing about NPR, particularly in light of their recent decisions regarding the word torture and that effing Juan Williams disgrace. Car Talk and Wait Wait Don't Tell Me are 2nd & 3rd in NPR greatness (irrelevant but there you go...)

Can't wait til everyone is in bed and I can sit back with a nice cuppa tea to enjoy.

In the interim, everyone should read the gem here:

Utter insanity! What about Republicans like myself, my husband and the reader quoted at the Daily Dish (helpful enough to provide the link above) who have been utterly alienated by the GOP, their change from serious small-government politics to right-wing nuttery? I couldn't care less about "The Thumpin" and Democratic playbooks -- I'm still reeling from the GOP implosion, the erosion of core Republican values.

What a long strange trip she's been...


Anonymous said...

Terri Gross doesn't work for NPR, she works as a producer for WHYY in Philadelphia.

WHYY produces the show, not NPR.

NPR picks up the program and distributes it to other member stations.

KaJo said...

I listened to this interview when it was first aired, and signaled as many people as I could to tune in, live.

It was just about the most lucid commentary on Sarah Palin from an in-state interviewee I've heard, other than the interviews given by the pantheon of Alaska progressive/moderate bloggers.

Thank goodness for YouTube and podcasts!

Anonymous said...

I should have known you'd be on the case..

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