Monday, August 27, 2012

The Question is Why?

So, this being the modern age where fame is no longer judged in 15 minutes but 140 characters or less, some people have posed the question as to why I would take this incredible artifact and make it something the public could consume.

Contrary to popular belief, journalists are taught at some point to engage critical thinking on issues and to be as objective as possible. Whether we do it 100% percent of the time, however, is an entirely different matter (A lot of us don't really do so half the time, sad to say).

In this case, however, it's a fair point to weigh both sides of the argument, so here's the main criticisms which I've seen so far.

1.) I'm doing it for the money.
2.) I'd like to be famous.
3.) I'm a mooch who's taking advantage of my grandparents now that they're dead.

Let's start at the top:
1.) I have a good paying, full-time job in my chosen career field. In this economy, not a whole lot of people can say that, let alone that they even have a job period. I consider myself truly among the fortunate to be so lucky and for the record, I LOVE what I do. Being a journalist is what I've always wanted to be, and I'd even like to think I'm pretty good at it.

But I can get most of my bills paid every month (minus the dreaded student loans, which I'm still trudging through), pay my child support to my son, and even get to have the occasional good time at a restaurant or movie with my friends. All in all, could be a lot worse. That I know. I've been there. More times than I should've been.

That said, there isn't a person alive who doesn't undertake ANY creative endeavor not thinking even a little bit, "It would be nice to make a little money off this." Doesn't mean we're greedy. Means we're human beings who want to take in the fruits of our labor. I'm no different and nor do I hold myself as such.

2.) Even before I became a part of the media, I happened to meet and interact with some famous people, by virtue of working at a video store in a suburban Portland mall out of high school. I met Everclear frontman Art Alexakis at the height of his career, boxer Roy Jones Jr. also at the height of his career, as well as most of the Portland Trail Blazers (unfortunately, they were also the "Jail" Blazers of the time too.)

Name dropping aside, it's not like I have them on speed dial, but I saw how famous people had to interact with the "normal" crowds and how invasive that lifestyle can be. I don't claim to be an expert on fame, and in fact, I'm not entirely sure I'm programmed to handle it well. But I'm of the opinion of if it happens, it happens and I'll just roll with it as it comes.

Life's too short to spend it worrying about what may or may not even happen.

3.) This one irritates me a little. I loved my grandparents unconditionally. Even at a young age, they laid down the foundation for me of the sort of person I wanted to become when I got older. They taught me to treat people with respect, to be courteous, forthright, and honest. They taught me not to complain when something went wrong, to value education and to never stop the pursuit of learning. And they taught me that love is in fact a real, tangible thing which must be cherished for it to last a lifetime.

My grandmother has been gone for 25 years. My grandfather for 10. I miss them every day and I always will. This project is a way to honor the bond that they shared, while also giving us a glimpse into a pivotal point in our history. My hope is this book can become a tool which people use to educate themselves a little bit about our history, while also giving some life not just to my ancestors, but to other names, places, and events which may have been forgotten entirely had this extraordinary document never existed, or had that chance occasion 20 years ago in my grandfather's house never happened.

That's why.

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