The science of misinformation, are the kids moving back in or moving back out, are you even nice, the first dance, and empowering Latinos.
Like so many millions of other people on Twitter, I saw Louis CK's tweet earlier this month about comedian Tig Notaro's stand-up performance at a comedy club in Los Angeles, just a few hours after she was told she has breast cancer, which came on the heels of her mother falling down, hitting her head and dying, which came right after her relationship broke up, just after she battled an infection that almost killed her.
How do you start a comedy set hours after you've been told you have cancer?
How about, "Good evening, hello. I have cancer. How are you?"
Louis CK writes...
What followed was one of the greatest standup performances I ever saw. I can't really describe it but I was crying and laughing and listening like never in my life. Here was this small woman standing alone against death and simply reporting where her mind had been and what had happened and employing her gorgeously acute standup voice to her own death.
The show was an amazing example of what comedy can be. A way to visit your worst fears and laugh at them. Tig took us to a scary place and made us laugh there. Not by distracting us from the terror but by looking right at it and just turning to us and saying "wow. Right?". She proved that everything is funny. And has to be. And she could only do this by giving us her own death as an example. So generous.
I've heard her Public Radio interviews about the performance -- and about the cancer -- but until today, I hadn't bought the performance, which Louis CK provided on his website for $5.
It was, indeed, a stunning performance that forces the listener to confront how -- or even, whether -- we press on through the times.
"God never gives you more than you can handle. I picture God going, 'You know what?I think she can take a little more.'
And then the angels are standing back going, 'God, what are you doing? You are out of your mind.'
And God is like, 'No, no, no. I really think she can handle this.'
'Why God? Why?'
'No, well, you know, just trust me on this. She can handle this'
"God is insane... if there at all."
You'll want to spend the time today to listen to this episode of Fresh Air that aired a few weeks ago...
This is a topic -- reacting to the worst news you can get -- that had already gotten my attention this week anyway. A colleague of ours at MPR revealed that her husband's cancer has metastasized into his brain and they had decided he would transition to hospice.
She relayed on her Caring Bridge site how he reacted when the doctor gave them the horrible news.
"Okey-dokey," he said.(3 Comments)
If you were among the many people wasting their time watching the Minnesota Vikings last night, you probably missed this from the World Series game between the Tigers and Giants.
How hard did the ball hit Doug Fister in the head?
Wired.com's Dot Physics blog did that thing they do with the...
... and the...
... and that other thing -- oh, what do they call it? -- you know, this thing...
It says something about journalism that the notion that reporters shouldn't be afraid to show empathy and compassion is a debatable point. But it is.
This week, as readers of NewsCut know, it's one of the issues at the heart of Radiolab's woes after the podcast crew created the "Yellow Rain" episode, which has caused considerable backlash from its audience for the way it treated a Minnesota survivor of genocide.
Coincidentally -- and only coincidentally as near as I can tell -- a teacher Augustana College in Sioux Falls writes today about compassion and empathy by journalists on the Poynter website
It's time to surrender: Journalism education should incorporate the study of empathy and compassion alongside its study of the objective method. The objective reporter who integrates into his or her work an empathetic, compassionate approach does not face irreconcilable demands. The compassionate act, one that seeks to alleviate suffering, often follows a process that starts with empathy, i.e., the moment within which one connects with the other in an effort to see through his or her eyes, to know something through its meaning for that person.
When journalists practice an ethic of empathy and compassion, they do not forfeit their objectivity. Empathy seeks to understand the other, not produce agreement with the other. For this reason, empathy compels fair treatment of all sources.
Just as one should empathize with the poor person, he or she should empathize with the public official. For the journalist compelled by a moral compass, the writer who seeks justice in the world, empathy can make visible the lives of those who are marginalized and misunderstood and in so doing transform the act of reporting into an act of compassion.
If you chase down your wife and shoot her to death in the daylight of a strip mall, you'll get your name and picture in the paper, and nobody will suggest it will lead to more husbands killing their wives. But if you take your own life, alone, outside a school, you're invisible.
As I've written before, kids are killing themselves and many schools are keeping a lid on the information for fear the knowledge will lead other kids to kill themselves. Many newspapers buy into this theory.
Earlier this week, the Pioneer Press made an exception -- sort of -- when the suicide intruded on a high school football game ("Hastings football team falls, hours after student commits suicide").
A stadium full of people knew about the death; it's impossible to keep such a thing a secret in 2012...
In honor of their classmate, the Hastings student section released a large bundle of balloons into the sky before the game. The three Hastings captains did the same on the field.
"What happened is far more important than anything we are doing out here," Hastings coach Dana Strain said. "We talked about making this a three-hour block where we could get our minds off of it."
And that was the extent of the suicide angle. No name was mentioned, nor any indication of what would compel a young man to take his life outside his high school.
His name was Mitchell Lucas, he was 17 years old and today the Hastings Star Gazette, one of the few papers that's made a deliberate decision not to hide suicide in its community, ran the young man's obituary.
Mitchell Martin Lucas, age 17, loving son, goofy brother, valued friend, and avid outdoor sporting enthusiast, died tragically on Monday, Oct. 22. His death by suicide breaks our hearts and leaves behind an emptiness of unanswerable questions.
According to Mitchell's wishes, we want to publicly thank the employers of this good boy who gave him a shot at making it in this world. He was on his way to be a good citizen, albeit in his own way.
Neighbor Buck Carlson for his first job as a farm hand; Welch Ski Village, Ski-Link staff; Mike and Jim Leifeld as a farm hand in exchange for hunting rights; Nick Langley, Mitch Whipple, and Pete Terry at Terry's Hardware; Sean Lenz and Jim at Road Ready Truck and Trailer Repair who were the only ones who could cheer him up.
Mitchell is a child of God and is now in his Father's care. The devil is a loser. We are very grateful for the outpouring of love and support from our community, family, friends, neighbors, PINGP co-workers, and especially the members of St. Philips Lutheran Church that will sustain us. Our God is an awesome God. He is our rock and our salvation. Mitchell is resting in peace.
He was preceded in death by his grandfathers, Martin Bisson and Joe Lucas, and his uncle, Gary Groves. Mitchell is survived by his parents, Jeff and Lynn Lucas; sister, Mackinzie Rae; grandmothers, Mary Bisson of Bloomington and Eleanor Lucas of Hastings; godparents, Joe Lucas and Beth Groves; along with many other relatives and friends.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at Our Saviour's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 400 W. 9th St., Hastings. Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, at church, and 1 hour prior to the service on Saturday at church. Pallbearers are Terry Bisson, Craig Bisson, Scott Schlosser, Derek Niebur, Mike Lorentz, and Sean Kieffer. Interment Lakeside Cemetery in Hastings.
The Star Gazette didn't have a lot of information about the suicide when it printed its edition this week. But it ran a four-line story anyway to say it happened.
"Readers told me we should have considered the family when posting the story. Those callers told me this was a private matter, and that I should have stayed out of it," editor Chad Richardson told me in an email today. " I'm hearing from more and more people, though, who support our decision to cover the story. The positive comments now outnumber the negative ones."
Meanwhile, up in Menagha, Mn., friends of Kyle Kenyon are hoping a petition circulating in town will convince the school district to change its mind and allow a picture of him to appear in the high school yearbook. He took his own life earlier this year.