Dayle in Limoux – Day #27August 1, 2022
Waldensian symbol Lux lucet in tenebris, “A light shines in the darkness.”
Isn’t this so beautiful?! Discovered this Waldensian symbol reading and researching the Languedoc/Occitanie region of France. The Waldensians were an ascetic movement within Western Christianity started in the 12th century before the Reformation. They embraced poverty and simplicity, and believed many of the Catholic clergy were unworthy due to their associations to wealth, divinity, and power, and claiming to be ‘divine communicators with God.’ They were pacifists and believed people should have the right to read the Bible for themselves. So, of course, they were deemed heretics, even though they followed the gospel and believed followers should live as apostles. They were persecuted and massacred throughout the centuries. One particularly horrific slaying took place in 1655 in Piedmont, Italy, bordering France. Thousands were brutally murdered and later inspired John Milton to write a sonnet titled, ‘On the Late Masacre in Piedmont.’
‘…even them who kept the truth so pure of old,
when all our fathers worshiped stocks and stones;
forget not: in thy book record their groans…’
The historical account of the massacre is harrowing, and very very difficult to read. Dogma has always served us so well, hasn’t it.
So this happened today. :)
Day 8. I’m going to test again in the morning to confirm it isn’t a false negative. Ten days are what many epidemiologists are recommending to prohibit infecting others. The CDC in the U.S. is still promoting five days without a negative test before recirculating. Pas bon. I felt better on day five, but. I was still positive. How did I know? Because I t e s t e d. And then a bit of a relapse on day seven. If I was out and about, no doubt I could have infected other people. Numbers are going way up again, while noticing many people walking around with seemingly heavy colds, coughing and congestion. How many of those are Covid +? Most likely, quite a few. My bout started with an intense sore throat and the last symptom to abate.
Keep the colds at home.
T E S T.
And Power Path says it could be a bumpy ride.
Courage is for moving forward into your next step.
Determination is for doing whatever it takes to follow through.
Flexibility is for adjusting and refining as needed during this erratic and unpredictable time. It is a good month to plan ahead but with adjustments when necessary.
The proactive resiliency we hopefully ended up with last month leads us into the challenges of August beginning with a tension created by seemingly opposing influences, pushing and pulling and forcing decisions we may not feel ready for. Tension can be a proactive energy that fuels change and inspires you to action. We need to be careful during these first days not to act out of reaction but to consider our bids for power carefully and practically. Decisions and intentions need to come from our own intuitive truth and from the emotional intelligence of your heart. If you overthink or obsess, you will only add to the potential confusion and possibly lose out on a good opportunity.
[You can read more at thepowerpath.com.]
Tomorrow, the journey begins…again. Ten day Covid interlude, ready for some pre-adventure planning. So much to explore! And learning loads about the layers of deep history in this magical, beautifully heretical region of France. The energy is palpable, signaling constantly, ‘Healing the Universe is an inside job.’ [Mindwalk, Le Mont-Saint-Michel.] Another remarkable creation from this area deep in the south of France, the Troubadours, or if female, a Trobairitz. They were performers of Old Occitan lyric poetry, mostly about chivalry and courtly love. The town of Puivert welcomed the Troubadours in the 12th century and at The Chateau de Puivert, still standing although badly damaged after the Albigensian Crusade.
It’s spectacular. Found some Occitanie Troubadour music today.
Here’s a listen.
Dayle in Limoux – Day #26July 31, 2022
The devastation, as many all over the planet are learning, is awful. It will take weeks, months, and years to salvage and re-build in Kentucky from historic flooding there; some will not be able to afford that privilege, having lost everything, and having so little to begin. My source from France has been following Appalshop. I have been connecting with them for years after discovering their work through research I was doing for my inquiry, being instantly connected to their purpose to not only archive and document life in Appalachia, but to teach and connect and serve. They do this lovingly through film and music, radio, video and other media. Their’s is an idea I deeply wanted to see emulated in many communities across the United States. I remember talking to one reporter specifically about it in Sun Valley, Idaho. Today, a note from them…
‘Dear Appalshop Community,
To say the past few days has been overwhelming would be an understatement. We have felt immense grief and sorrow, pain and fear, and a bone-deep dread of discovering the true toll of these floods on our building and our archive. But we have also felt incredible gratitude for all the love and support that has poured out on our behalf and on the behalf of our community.
Our recovery begins, and it will take weeks, months, even years in some cases. When the floodwaters first receded, we discovered that our apple tree that’s planted on the grounds beside our beloved shop was still standing with its young roots intact. Despite record floodwaters of over twenty feet, our little apple tree still stands, bearing fruit and hope.
Thank you all for your kindness and your willingness to come together for us and for the Appalachian community. There are no words to express how deeply we love and appreciate all of you.
“In the essential prose
of things, the apple tree
stands up, emphatic
among the accidents
of the afternoon, solvent,
not to be denied.”
– excerpt from “The Apple Tree” by Wendell Berry
They have also organized a flood support link:
‘Please continue to share our resources page at appalshop.org/floodsupport. We’ve managed to raise thousands in direct aid and get immediate help to so many folks in need thanks to our community, and the needs will continue in the days and weeks ahead.’
Before the flood.
‘Appalshop started as a film workshop in 1969, and 50 years later we’re still documenting and revitalizing the traditions and creativity of Appalachia.
We tell stories that commercial industries don’t tell. We challenge stereotypes with Appalachian voices. And we do it all with artists who are from and committed to this region.’
Two sweet rescue photos…wearing their little rain boots.
Sgt. Maj. Tim Lewis of the Kentucky National Guard escorts three boys to a helicopter for evacuation from an area inundated by floodwater.
Reportedly, crews have made more than 1,200 rescues from helicopters and boats.
I am testing again tomorrow. Hopeful for just one of those little lines. Still coughing and a sore throat, but the congestion is way better. I haven’t had an appetite, just drinking tons of fluids. If I could get money back on all my recyclables, I might be able to purchase a small Citroën. And today, the kindness of new acquaintances from Limoux who sent me a message saying they have some food for me they made, this cold tomato soup (vitamin C!), and an incredible Chile relleno casserole. Are you kidding me?! Yes! Please. Unpacking their goodies after they left them for me downstairs, the aroma, just looking at it (!) encouraged hunger pains. :) Margot and Fred, you are the best French friends une fille Americaine could ever dream! It must have been mana because I thought I died and gone to heaven. It’s been a lot of days of pain (break, not pain) & fromage. This was welcomed and incroyable! Angels on our path.
Bonne appétit to me! ♡
The woman who owns my building who is in the hospital with Covid is now conscious and out of her coma. Her sister will be with her in Carcassonne on Tuesday and her daughter will be joining next week. Promising developments. She has been so ill. She was vaccinated, but not boosted.
Reading & researching lots about Languedoc…langue d’oc, the language of Occitan…John the Baptist…😳…and Lazarus, Cathars, Inquisitions, Gospel of John, more Cathars, Mary Magdaline, the Waldensians and Albigensians, pelicans and wisdom, consolamentum, Zoroastrianism, Manichaeans, Bogomils, sacred geometry, Gnosticism, D U A L I S M (a fan…big time), Descartes, Pope Innocent III, Evil, Rex Mundi. This: “Think how many turns the line of development of forces must have taken to come from the Gospel preaching of love to the Inquisition.” Indeed. And hasn’t stopped.
Reading about Pope Francis’ apology this week, begging forgiveness from the Indigenous People in Canada for the “evil committed by so many Christians.” He cited the cultural destruction and physical, verbal, psychological, and spiritual abuse of children in residential schools run by the Catholic church. Awful, awful history. All I kept thinking in context of this region I’m now living and the medieval history, is that his plea needs to go way back. Waaaaaaay back. Yeah, thinking of you Pope Innocent III and Pope Gregory the (not so) Great. How different history could have unfolded without the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE, and basically Roman Catholics. (The Pope is looking ahead to the 1700th anniversary of the Council of Nicaea, as a “source of unity between Christians.” Nope. Hard no. Christians and unity, kinda not a thing (especially at Nicaea).
So many places to explore and map as Covid explodes and triple digits return. (Have you heard about the new variant beyond BA.5? They named this one ‘BA.2.75,’ nicknamed ‘Centaurus.’ Invades even more rapidly than BA.5. Yay.) We’re supposed to have a booster mid-September that battles the variants a little bit better than the initial boosters and vaccines. With so many people choosing not to vaccinate, as well as not mitigating behaviors, the variants are growing. I saw a clip of people getting on a plane in Amsterdam after seeing Pearl Jam, singing an Eddie Vedder tune…very cute…packed!…sitting on the tarmac, no ventilation…and all I kept seeing was 🦠 🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠. And no masks.
Some books to find after researching today:
Stalked by the plague, ‘The Maiden of All Our Desires’ follows a medieval abbey at a time when monastic life was a refuge for women, “Revolutionary women thinkers like Hildegard Von Bingen, Julian of Norwich & Sor Juana Ines De La Cruz.” Just published in February:
And this book from two researchers who made a discovery viewing a painting and decided to dive in on the backstory of enslaved people during Louis XIV’s reign,
I was able to sit in on a virtual presentation with art history professor Meredith Martin and historian Gillian Weiss as they ‘unveiled an uncommon picture of art and power in the dawn of modern France through a look at the depiction of slavery, in ship and artillery design, militaria, paintings, and prints.’ What’s fascinating is there is little known about maritime enslavement during this time. Love these finds. One of my most cherished research discoveries was made combing through the Archives at DePauw University in Indiana a few years ago, literally stumbling upon something I had no idea existed. Huge. Saving it for my book. :)
I have an idea…
Let’s meet for breakfast in Montmartre.
Dayle in Limoux – Day #24July 29, 2022
Very sad. The woman who owns my building, from whom I contracted Covid, was put on a ventilator overnight. She is not well. Her daughter who lives in the U.K. is making her way to France now. Friends and family are bereft. The rain and clouds, although welcomed, have given a backcloth to many saddened hearts today.
I continue to improve and isolate; was able to practice gentle yoga last night. I’m going to test again in a little while.
“Greater love has no one that this, that someone letdown his life for his friends.”
-Saint Martin of Tours
She waited a long while before her friends joined today. I wish I could have sat with her, there, on the other bench. And smiled.
Practicing presence. What a beautiful art.
Norman Lear, creator of iconic sitcoms like “The Jeffersons,” “All in the Family” and “Good Times,” turned 100 on July 27.
He shared a message recorded by his daughter, one of his ‘breakfast thoughts,’ centered on the joys of living in the moment…practicing presence.
“I guess my breakfast thought at the moment…is the moment…the moment between past and present, present and past, the moment between after and next. The hammock in the middle of after and next. The moment. Treasure it, use it, with love.”
Not writing much today. My heart is too sad for my new French friend. Here are words to the song, her song, Joni Mitchell sang at the Newport Folk Festival with her revelatory journey back to the stage after learning how to sing and play her guitar again. She suffered a debilitating brain aneurysm in 2015 and retaught her self to play after watching her old videos. The last time she sang and played before an audience was on her 55th birthday. She’s 78. It was a moment.
“Rows and floes of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that way
But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all”
Oh, but now old friends they’re acting strange
And they shake their heads and they tell me that I’ve changed
Well something’s lost, but something’s gained
In living every day.”
Dayle in Limoux – Day #22July 26, 2022
s a d n e s s
Fully vaccinated and double boosted. The psychological effect of testing positive this morning is deep and unanticipated. I isolated for so long the last 2.5 years, no indoor activity, mask always in crowded outdoor spaces and inside, even if only :30. I wore it on my wrist in public spaces so I could be ready to don. No one is wearing masks here. No one. I know who infected me, the owner of my building who lives downstairs, and now she’s in the hospital in Carcarssonne. She was transported sometime after 1 am. She had underlying health issues and I thought her sickness solely emanated from that affliction. I told her not long after I arrived to be so careful, that she didn’t want Covid with her compromised breathing. She didn’t wear a mask and was not boosted. When I took her one of my tests yesterday, it registered immediately that she was positive, could barely talk at this point. Yet, she still procrastinated on medical treatment because she’s adverse to hospitals. We share a common space, although I think I contracted it before Rennes-le-Chateau when she found me sitting at a table in the outdoor space at Place de le Republique. She joined me, sitting close, and we shared an aperitif and some frites (fries). I think her viral load is very high and she most likely should have had treatment weeks ago.
My symptoms are mild (thanks be to science and vaccines), although my throat really hurts. I have congestion and a cough, too. No fever. In France, according to their protocols, I am to isolate for seven days, test, and then if negative, I can mingle again with a mask. I thought about Paxlovid, yet, I have no idea how to get it here. It’s prescription, so it would not be easy. And I’m not at high risk. I may just have to ride it out. I did find out France’s 911 is 112. So there’s that if things get a little scary.
Drinking lots of liquids. Lots. I had just stocked up, so I should be good to go for awhile. I’m just sad.
I had more I wanted to share, not really feeling up to it. Day 22. Isn’t 22 an auspicious number? Mary Magdalene’s Feast Day. “…it carries additional spiritual power, often seen as a sign of good luck or of positive things to come. If you keep seeing 22, it could be a message from your angels that they are helping you to manifest your dreams into reality.” k. I’ll just let that all unfold. :)
Dayle in Limoux – Day #21July 25, 2022
When we grant ourselves permission to live the life we want, there is little in the world that can stop us. Our weakness is often just a lack of faith – believing more in the limitations of the world than in the limitlessness of spirit.
Sometimes, it takes a long time to unfold, but it will.
So, what are your feelings about public loos? Annie and I spotted one in Grenoble.
I said to Annie they need those for chicas, too.
Well, guess what. Reading in The Connexion French newspaper today they are!
Tres chic. But. Will they have a view?
These two shots are from Paris. Wait for it. Another Emily in Paris reference. She’s surprised while talking with her U.S. boss on her cell when a guy behind her starts to urinate publicly in one of those stalls. Couldn’t find a clip. BUT learned they are in Paris right now filming season III. Can’t wait. :)
Covid has hit 22 Maison. The owner of my building who lives downstairs is quite ill, trying to determine if she needs to go to the hospital. She absolutely should. I’m trying to encourage her to go. Not yet. She’s from he UK and her French is weak, and it’s difficult for her to communicate with them. Her breathing is quite labored and she’s coughing a lot. She had some health afflictions before I arrived and they have seemingly gotten worse. Now we know why. She found out a French friend tested positive today who she was near on Friday and Saturday. The owner didn’t have any tests so I took her one of my boxes. Almost instantly positive. So I tested, too. Negative. I have cold symptoms now, so I’ll test again tomorrow and on Friday. Drag. I was near her on Saturday. And although outside, we share a common space inside. I’ve been so careful, for so long…masks inside anywhere, and on public transportation, as well as outdoors if there’s a lot of folks, like marches (ourdoor markets). Yet this BA.5 is highly contagious as we know, and cases are going up 50% in France every week. Monkey Pox is also prolific. Humans, we are a mess.
This virus is not going away. Only morphing. And no one…no one…is wearing masks inside or out. Or social distancing. Seemingly, just me. <sigh>
I’m vaxxed and double-boosted, so, hoping for the best.
Saturday, May 14th, 2022May 14, 2022
Like nature this time of year, abundance is all around you and the possibilities for all of us, together, are bountiful, if only we believe.
Not easy, is it. This thing called hope. Collectively, we can grow it together.
Can you feel it?
Tomorrow, the full moon lunar eclipse. From Lena at Power Path:
The Super Moon marks the bookend of this eclipse window that has brought powerful and unexpected change in endings, beginnings and transitions. Whatever you have set into motion over the last couple of weeks has tremendous momentum and will have far reaching effects. It is important to honor and acknowledge any endings and completions, whether they are initiated by you or not. It is also crucial to focus and place some attention on the space created for new beginnings by those completions. Stay out of any judgment or resentment or martyrdom if what has left your life was not of your doing. Instead, notice what is coming into your life and honor it as part of something new. If you only dwell on what you have lost, you will likely create the same thing for yourself, losing the opportunity to create something new, something that marks an improvement in your life. Be careful what you ask for during this powerful time and make sure it is from your heart and not a calculated thought process.
It is a good time to take action and to refine the intentions you have been working with since the new moon at the beginning of the month. This is a transformational time that can expose issues that need to be addressed, processed and changed. You can also be inspired to manage your obstacles in a new creative way. Be encouraged to think and problem-solve outside the box with a focus on improvement and innovation. Creative thinking will be rewarded with new solutions to old problems.
Whatever else happens, keep your energy light, your vibration as high as possible and your thoughts positive. Bring beauty into your life and fill yourself with inspiration and the intention to move forward in a positive way no matter what.
‘In the spiritual Universe, we only keep what we give away.’
‘I would not sacrifice my soul / for all the beauty of this world. / There is only one thing / for which I would risk everything: / an I-don’t-know-what / that lies hidden / in the heart of the Mystery.’ -John of the Cross
Noche Oscura del Alma
‘If we stay the course and go through this [dark night], we find our way deeper, deeper, deeper, and then we can see that at any given moment in these ways, through marital love, through parenting, through solitude, through oneness with the world, through silence, through service to community, through art, in any given moment, there can come flashing forth our unexpected proximity to this mystical dimension of union.’ -James Finley
C O V I D
1,000,000 U.S. (at least) – – let’s lower the flags and move on.
Yet, the virus continues to mutate and infect, and kill. In our small community, zero masks indoors. As if Covid is…gone.
“COVID-19 Rates Rising as Super Contagious Variant Gains Ground”
KRLD News Radio 1080
With Dr. Peter Hotez, Baylor College of Medicine, with his own breakthrough infection.
“This new BA.2.12 sub-variant is the most transmissible one we’ve seen to date and it’s up there with measles in terms of its reproductive number and its ability to infect. So when you have something this transmissible, even a good vaccine is going to be tough to fight.” Any individual shedding that virus is likely to infect 12 other people.
BA.2.12 is now poised to become the dominant variant in the United States. Dr. Hotez says prior infection from Omicron doesn’t offer much in the way of immunity.
“I have to believe this coming summer we’re going to be vulnerable yet again. Don’t screw around. Get vaccinated, get boosted and get your kids vaccinated.”
In Texas? The testing positivity rate was below 2% in the middle of March. Now it’s up to 8.4%. Keeping in mind, many are ‘home’ testing and positive results are not being recorded.
Too few boosted. Too many more will suffer from long Covid complications. And too many more will die.
Sunday, February 6th, 2022February 6, 2022
“…liberté, égalité, et fraternité triumphed, and here, a place of exchange between English and French thinking, we get to enjoy the spots of peace: literature, friendship, conversation, debate. Long may we enjoy them and may they…instead of guns and grenades…become the weapons of new rebellions.”
“The world as we knew it has ended, and it’s time for something entirely innovative.”
From Seth Godin.
In defense of non-interactive media
It doesn’t talk back. It doesn’t beep or update or invite a click. It doesn’t change based on who’s consuming it. It doesn’t interrupt you, and it begs to not be interrupted.
It’s rarer than ever before, and sometimes, we need it.
Agree. Completely. I think all comments across all social media platforms should be muted for six months.We must recalibrate. Let us read, absorb, research…enact media literacy and ease the meanness, vitriol, hateful and polarization with our words. Practice Lectio Divine…contemplative interaction…not words…conversations through meaning and meditation. We need it…indeed. -dayle
From Dan Rather.
We often hear of the tides of history, as if the fate of the world shifts in unison – the rising and lowering of a great sea of fortune. Tides are predictable. They are unstoppable. They are acts of nature. Human affairs, while inextricably tied to planetary forces, are also shaped by the actions we take, and do not take. Our destinies do not move with any great cohesion or coordination. Rather we are more like boats tossed by the accumulation of countless individual waves (to stretch our maritime metaphor), cresting and receding, churning and placid, forceful and gentle. These can be waves that push us backwards, but they can also propel us forward to a better future.
When looking back at the past, it is tempting to see paths as preordained – narratives we neatly tuck into the contextual confines that make them easier to understand. In contrast, the present is always messy. It will only become clearer once we know how it ends, at which point we will be living in a new era of uncertainty.
We can never dismiss the many challenges we face or the threats they pose. They are particularly dire. The list of woes bears repeating and remembering – from the climate crisis, to the ongoing threat to our democratic institutions, to our continued struggle for racial justice, to the threats of war, to the pandemic, and onward.
In the future we may look back and see that one of these forces escalated to a point of even greater dominance, and disaster.
One of the few things I have learned with any certainty over the course of a long life is to be wary of certainty. Those who predict with the most confidence what will happen in the future are often the voices that should be treated with the greatest skepticism. These paragons of certainty invariably are the ones who talk the most and consequently do the least to make a difference.
Substack: Islands of Hope
Both sides…not working now. It’s lazy journalism. -dayle
‘Both sides’ journalism does not always show us the truth
Journalists are bound to tell the truth, not give platforms to positions which are demonstrably wrong in a misguided attempt to be ‘impartial’.
“Flat-earthers are not going to get as much space as people who believe the Earth is round, but very occasionally it might be appropriate to interview a flat-earther. And if a lot of people believed in flat Earth we’d need to address it more.”
The BBC’s director of editorial policy, David Jordan, tried to make a defence of impartiality. Instead, he inadvertently showed us why the dogma is so dangerous.
It’s time to end both-sidesism. For so long, the idea of impartiality has been treated as more a matter of faith than a principle to be debated.
Where does this end? If we’re giving airtime to flat-earthers, then surely Syrian war crimes deniers are entitled to a platform. How about genocide deniers, 9/11 conspiracy theorists, and people who think there’s no climate emergency?
In the UK, the dogma of impartiality led the media to the false equivalence trap during Brexit. Pro-EU campaigners were given their share of airtime, and then the other side said it had “had enough” of listening to experts and fed viewers factually incorrect claims.
On other issues, too, the shrine of impartiality has taken us to dangerous places.
It took the BBC until 2018 to recognise that it wasn’t necessary to host a climate crisis denier to balance a debate about the impending environmental emergency. The BBC briefing note read:
“To achieve impartiality, you do not need to include outright deniers of climate change in BBC coverage, in the same way you would not have someone denying that Manchester United won 2-0 last Saturday. The referee has spoken.”
But that was a long three years ago. Before COVID conspiracy theories and leaders in the UK and US began regularly mixing fact with fiction.
Why is impartiality valued more highly than truth? We know that we’re failing as journalists when around 25 percent of people avoid the news in the UK, and one of the main reasons is because they can’t trust the news to be true.
Journalists are not naive storytellers incapable of discerning fact from fiction.
If we don’t stop giving a platform to things we know are false, how are we going to win back that trust?
Ironically, it’s the BBC that is leading the way in the UK’s fight against fake news: they have a specialist reporter covering disinformation online, and in 2021, they appointed their first health disinformation reporter.
I know what you’re thinking: give them a platform, and then robustly challenge them. Let their arguments crumble in the face of a tough line of questioning. Here’s the danger with impartiality purists: simply repeating false claims – even if it’s challenged – can push people to believe the false statement.
This isn’t a manifesto for throwing impartiality out of the window. We’re not campaigners or activists. We shouldn’t have an agenda.
But we’re also not naive storytellers incapable of discerning fact from fiction. The New York Times and many other publications did readers a service when they called former President Donald Trump’s lies, lies.
Fairness doesn’t mean giving a platform to factual inaccuracies just because they’re popular. That’s what Twitter is for.
There are not always two sides to every story.
Sakhr Al-Makhadhi is Executive Producer for AJ+
Remember reading the paper?
by Scott Simon
Image: A worker at a San Francisco Chronicle printing plant arranges stacks of freshly printed newspapers in 2007. Its digital version, like that of so many newspapers’, is behind a paywall. -Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
The road to free information and opinions seems to run into a lot of paywalls.
Want to finish reading an article? You can, but only if you subscribe for just $1 for 3 months, which becomes $11.99 a month thereafter, and into perpetuity, until your credit card expires. Even if it’s after you do.
I have a strong, even personal interest in paying journalists fairly. But the cost most people have to pay these days if they want to try to stay informed and enrich their minds with a range of opinions is pretty steep.
It’s become harder to read more than an article or two in most publications, which may no longer be the word. News sites, from The New York Times and The Washington Post to The Des Moines Register, insist you subscribe. So do Ebony, The New Yorker, The Economist, Rolling Stone and opinion journals, including The Nation and National Review, and sports-reporting sites. And of course, there are proliferating newsletters and extra-access-plus plans, as news broadcasters begin their own subscription services. They don’t crave an audience, so much as what they call a “customer base.”
“You can’t do much web grazing of quality content these days without a paywall clanging shut on you,” Jack Shafer wrote last year in Politico. “What delights publishers about subscriptions is what everybody from Amazon to Spotify to the Dollar Shave Club to Netflix love — the annuity-like reliability of steady revenue.”
But the cost of inducing people to subscribe is to make news, information and a range of opinions available to only those who have the means to afford and receive them online. This skews the audience toward what Nikki Usher, a University of Illinois College of Media associate professor, calls the “rich, white, and blue,” as in left-leaning.
The political and social divides, which so many decry, may begin between those who can and those who can’t afford access to a wide range of fact-checked, accurate information.
Disinformation, of course, is utterly free.
Newspapers and magazines often got ink on your fingers. But they were cheap. Anyone with pocket change, rich, poor, students or job-seekers, could buy a copy of a magazine with Princess Diana or Oprah Winfrey on the cover or a newspaper when the headline said MAN WALKS ON MOON, or, yes, HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR.
The internet has made news and views of all kinds, from all over the world, available on screens we can keep in our pockets. But so many paywalls have pulled costly shades over those screens.
We need an opportunity to reestablish and recalibrate the purpose and necessity of the Fourth Estate. What should the institution’s moral compass be based on the ideals of the U.S. Founders? The U.S. Founders believed a free press vital to democratic debate. So how did the current contemporary news culture evolve into a climate of disinformation and false news? Further, how did an institution created for public service evolve into an influential economic profit platform more destructive than instructive? Free Press co-founder, author and professor Robert McChesney is an activist for government subsidized non-profit media, a model the United States Founders had encouraged for a free press. He believes the Founders did not “authorized a corporate-run, profit-motivated, commercially driven media system with the First Amendment.” Corporate owned media is complicit in misinformation, and disinformation, for ratings, clicks and profits. This must change. And the change begins with our consumer information behaviors and tech media regulation. Democracy may die in darkness, but right now it’s happening in broad daylight. The pillar of the Fourth Estate is crumbling. -dayle
“Some would say that humanity is destined for self-destruction; that our history of lethal violence towards our own kind has programmed us to be fearful, suspicious, revengeful and greedy; and, despite our modern age, this programming now threatens our well-being on a global scale never witnessed before. But does it have to be this way? Can we not consciously evolve into a different kind of human?”
I propose a journalism renaissance based on spiritual companioning, or homo spiritus, and radical compassion (Khen Lampert), deep empathy for other within democratic social process, a heart-based journalism paradigm in necessary community; a Fourth Estate defined in the third space of spirit, love, dignity, and humanity. -dayle
2021’s end.December 18, 2021
I have seen for some time
how everything changes.
There is that which arises and acts,
kills and causes grief.
Now it is empty where I stand
and look down the avenue.
Almost as far as the farthest ocean
I can see the heavy