Friday, February 28, 2014

Illness And Honesty

At this time of year, it's not always easy to be anything but tired, grumpy, and even a bit pessimistic. After a week of stupid political battles, some minor technical glitches, and struggles to keep healthy, staring down yet another weekend of bitterly cold winter weather isn't exactly a recipe for a positive Friday.

The vile threesome of intolerance, hate, and bigotry represented by the events in Arizona might have been enough to spoil this weekend weekend on its own, if Arizona's Gov. Brewer hadn't finally vetoed the gay hate bill this week.

Indeed, since much of our focus this week has been on the anti-gay legislation in Arizona and around the country, that some other very important stories have slipped through the cracks, as Alec Macgillis pointed out on Thursday.

From the Medicaid expansion fight that Macgillis wrote about, to the fight over voting rights Ana Marie Cox addressed beautifully, to the economic wedge between mainstream Republicans and right-wing extremists that Greg Sargent honed in on, there were plenty of other important political topics that didn't get the ink and pixels from us that they deserved this week and we were all set to tackle more than a few of those topics today.

Then one of our staff members came across the story of comedy writer Laurie Kilmartin and her father - and we pretty much gave the bird to covering any more intolerance, hate, and bigotry this week.

Kilmartin - who is a friend of a friend of one of our staff members - is a well-known stand- up comedian, and also a comedy writer for the Conan O'Brien show.

She's also been "live tweeting" her father's last days on her Twitter account, in a raw, real, funny, running stream of thoughts and images that shook us up just a little bit. As Carol Hartsell covered over at the Huffington Post, Gilmartin's account of her father's exploits right now are both gut-bustingly funny, and heart-breakingly sad.

Those 140-character messages from Gilmartin remind us of how funny being brutally honest and totally real can be.

We usually seek to remain a bit more removed from you, our audience, as you aren't coming here to see any of our staff members. You want to see our work, Paul's fantastic cartoons, our finely honed prose, and the trove of links in our expanded daily edition.

The personal struggles we face daily - sick kids, sick pets, being mind-numbingly sick ourselves, business trips, family trips, tripping over new technology. These are all things we usually choose not to share with you, our audience, in large part because doing so isn't professional.

Being a journalist or a member of the professional media most often means you don't make yourself the story, you don't draw yourself, and you don't insist that the part of the content you're creating that you identify with most is kept in - especially when it's the one part you need to edit out.

Every once in a while, though, you say "What the hell," you throw the rulebook out, and you do what Laurie Kilmartin is doing now. You be brutally, totally open to the world - and you laugh.

Sometimes, giving the world the bird and just being real is exactly what the doctor ordered.