The Herald seems to be engaged in an intriguing journalistic experiment: attempting to demonstrate how it might publish a newspaper with almost no actual news reporters. On Thursday evening, I attended a public lecture, along with a large number of other people, at the Everett Events Center. This talk, organized by the students at Everett Community College, was delivered by Cornel West, surely one of the most prominent public intellectuals in the world today.
My guess is that, at one time, such an event would have been covered by a local news reporter, but in the next day’s Herald, no mention was made of this event — no report, nothing. To offer some idea of what he talked about this lecture, I will attempt a brief but hopelessly inadequate summary. In his remarks, Dr. West cogently and passionately discussed the realities of human existence in our own time, emphasizing the need for integrity, honesty, decency and virtue, particularly when confronted by deception and violence. He encouraged the audience to seek out an authentic education, one that would allow us to learn how to live a meaningful life. And he eloquently talked about how difficult it is to gain such an education in a society dominated solely by materialistic values and notions of success.
He particularly discussed how this kind of an education was important for all people — of all races, genders and classes — so that we can make use of this increased self-knowledge to help create a more just society. My sense is that his comments are much more useful than, say, Charles Krauthammer’s hack punditry, regularly published in the virtually reporter-less Herald. But for the readers of your newspaper, it is as if they never occurred. And that is a shame.
Roger A. Berger