Saturday, August 1, 2009

truth = transparency

A while ago - almost three months ago - I posted about my desire to have a superhero-like 'cause.' I realized what my cause SHOULD be - no doubt about it in my mind. But acknowledging this cause is merely a first step towards championing it. What I really need to begin doing is defining my cause, and then following through with it.

There are not - usually - masked crusaders darting between shadows and downing mutant foes in today's world. That doesn't mean there aren't superheroes though. I don't think I'm making too big a leap as to say that besides super powers, superheroes are also known for a strict moral code, and for trying to do good things to help society. I would say that a real-life superhero is someone who heroically and admirably adheres to a strict moral code. If I'm right in my assumption that people like Harry Potter and Superman do not exist, then I would think that admirable and heroic do-gooders are all we're left with. And yes, it's very rare, but they are superheroes after all - they're supposed to be exceptional. In fact, their status as "exceptional" is literally unattainable, because it's to the extreme, and that's the point. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't strive for it. Real-life superheroes, like fictional superheroes, and like Howard Roark, are there to set an example for us to strive towards.

And so? So I shall strive! But what should I strive for? What is worth fighting for? What is a cause can I strive to champion? What 'cause' do I genuinely believe in?

This is not a light topic. I can't imagine dedicating my life to something unless it was something I absolutely believed in. I don't think I could deal with dedicating my life to fighting for something and then failing. Failing is scary! Everyone knows that! And well, while there's plenty of worthy things to fight for, I've always been more interested in improving the life of myself and my friends as opposed to crusading for a cause. I've always been "too cool" to care. But I've come around, or close to. I've realized I've never been too cool for anything, if ever cool at all, and my days of pretending to not care, or being too afraid to care, have, I hope, come and passed.


In other news, I've made the decision to go out and try to be a television news reporter. It's something I believe in, and something I believe I will enjoy doing. In the past couple years, I've learned a lot about what goes into the making of a good reporter, a good journalist. Much of that education has been observational - I've been watching some of the very best in the business at work - and I believe it's time I begin more doing.

On a simple plane, my experience has been an "ask and report" exercise. I've learned to press and pressure and schmooze and beg and plead and express empathy and excitement all for a bit of information, maybe to get a good sound bite or to attain a piece of knowledge over the phone. This I've learned during my time on the assignment desk, and it has been invaluable. From the reporters though, I've learned something more dynamic. There's the ability to determine fact from fiction from sources, and there's fairness and balance to keep in mind. Then, there's the entertainment factor, the art of storytelling, and this can not be overlooked.

I've learned a good reporter knows something about everything, is quick and always curious, can talk and make friends with anyone, and is courageous.

Atop a journalist's moral code should be a relentless striving for truth. Honesty and accuracy are the cornerstone of a reporter's reputation, and reputation is everything.


As previously mentioned, a quality of superheroes is that they take their moral code to an unattainable extreme. If a reporter was a superhero, and we took a reporter's moral code to the extreme, where would that lead? The relentless strive for truth -- to the extreme? Where does that take us? What does that even mean? Are we left left with total transparency? Complete clarity and utter lack of mystery?

And is truth subjective? It's more of an existential concept that I've always toyed with in my mind, though I don't think of it as my personal theory towards things - maybe just something I've always wanted to believe. I certainly think it sounds the "coolest" and most progressive, in part because it's the most accepting theory of truth, and I'd like to think of myself as an accepting person. I suppose though that the subjectivity of truth would infer that truth is based on individuality, and to me that seems the most ideal.

Despite my interest in this topic, I know this is not actually how the world functions. Opinions are individual and subjective, but not facts, and people try to push personal agendas and shape views, but there is a 'truth,' even if we don't know what it is.

If truth was subjective, then there could never be complete transparency, because transparency requires that there be 'one' clear truth.

I don't know if the meaning of 'truth' is complete transparency, and I don't know if complete transparency is even a good thing. I would imagine it would be truth, to the extreme. I know, now, that truth will be my extreme cause.


The irony of all this is that Clark Kent used the facade of being a reporter as a disguise. One of Superman's great traits was his fight for what was 'right,' but he was at his most dishonest when he was pretending to be a reporter.


nevie said...

i'm glad you believe in the existence of and fighting for truth. more people, especially those in the field of reporting, should. i'm excited for you, adam.

David Pratt said...

I'll comment before Jason can -

Clark Kent is the real identity - he's the truth. That makes his job as a reporter all the more significant. Superman is a mask he wears so he can do what needs being done without endangering his loved ones. This is in stark contrast to Batman, who uses Bruce Wayne as a mask for his true persona.

But anyway, a good post on a worthy topic.

Matt Lindeboom said...

Isn't there an argument to be made that Super man's secret identity is just another mask?

A mask is a covering worn as a disguise. Clark Kent is an alien disguised as a human.

ali d said...

I would argue that a huge part of the conflict in Clark's dual identity is not the Clark/Superman clash, but rather that because of the way that Martha and Jonathan raised him from toddlerhood, Clark is as much human as he is alien.

ali d said...

*NOTE: I am basing my observation only on the Superman of digital media. All that I know about the Superman of comics is what David and Jason have told me.

Ozkirbas said...

I would argue that Superman's identity is more human than alien. Superman lives his life in conformity with the ideals of human civilization, even with the cape on. His racial designation does nothing more than a) grant him the tools to protect the planet he calls home and b) causes him grief and a feeling of ostracization from human society.

My knowledge of Superman doesn't extend past the digital media. Feel free to slam me anyway.

But, what does this mean for Adam? Pretty much nothing. I mean, his career is a lie. But, that goes without saying.

Kidding, Adam. OR AM I!?

Jason Heat said...

Much of this depends on whether we're discussing the Superman of the 1930s to the 1980s or from the 1980s until now.

The early era, Superman is definitely the dominant personality and Clark is a disguise.

But since the 1980s Man of Steel revamp and Crisis on Infinite Earths a much more compelling vision ofd Superman has been presented where neither "Superman" or "Clark" is real. They're both disguises, or facets, in their own way of the real Clark Kent - who was born and raised as a human long before he ever discovered his wondrous powers. At his core Superman is always this real Clark Kent, an amalgamation of his two sides, only comfortable with those who can truly know him as being whole.

But make no mistake - Clark is the name he responds to in his head, heart, and to the people who tryly know him as a friend or lover, and not just a colleague (His parents, Lois, Bruce, Steel, etc.)