Topic: "Down Below Back Home"(4)
Several days ago an earthen dam broke in Tennessee, spilling tons of coal sludge into the free-flowing nearby waterways. The resultant environmental impact appeared horrific, but that was quickly minimized by any and all public comment from the responsible government agencies. Frodo snorkled over the denials, knowing full well that, over time, it would be found that chemical imbalances in the watershed would come to light. What caught his attention in this instance was the location, variously reported as either Kingston or Harriman. Frodo doesn't know anybody, as best he now knows, who lives in Kingston, but he does have a friend with roots in Harriman.
Frodo's friend attended the College of the Shire with Frodo. Upon graduation, he became a minister, and is now actively retired. Frodo has always felt a bit guilty about his friend's chosen profession, fearing that his friend turned to the task of salvation because of his association with the youthful and unrestrained Frodo Baggins. Frodo has been assured that is only partly correct.
Frodo spoke with his friend this day to inquire about the status of his old homestead. Frodo learned that the property damage all took place "down below" his friend's farm. Frodo puzzled over that response, pointing out that if the damage had taken place "up above," then the farm would either be entirely submerged or could be otherwise taken as a symbol of heavenly retribution upon the earthly tenants.
Frodo was assured that the damage had actually taken place outside of Harriman, and that the "city" was named in the news reports just so that the "media" could accentuate the relevance of the story. It seems that the actual events all took place in the suburbs.
Now Frodo understands much of the public concern about the nature of news reporting, and how some people feel that whatever the media says is eternally biased. Frodo's friend was asserting however, that the media referred to Harriman simply because it gave greater depth to the human interest of the story, than to accuracy. Frodo supposes his friend would've preferred to hear the location described as rural eastern Tennessee. To wit, uttered Frodo, "Balderdash!"
Among the reasons that Frodo never pursued a career in journalism, beside a tendency to use language which brought a flush to the countenance, was the specificity he chose in descriptive matters. In this case, Frodo could have reported that "15 houses were washed downstream but nothing of value was destroyed." More likely, his friend pointed out, Frodo would have written that the loss of "the Sarah Palin Trailer Park" would temporarily improve SAT scores in the local high school. Frodo, it seems, would indeed have been a member of the "liberal media."
He supposes that it is truly a good thing that he did not choose to follow his friend into the ministry. God only knows, and that is the reason why.