Thursday, June 21, 2007

Forget the memorial

I was reminded this week of an apocryphal journalistic story, retold in the opening paragraphs of Dan Simmons' novel A Winter Haunting and countless other places. Here's the brief version, as told by Roger Ebert:
There is a famous journalistic legend about the time a young reporter covered the Johnstown flood of 1889. The kid wrote: "God sat on a hillside overlooking Johnstown today and looked at the destruction He had wrought." His editor cabled back: "Forget flood. Interview God."
I was reminded of this when I read the lead of a front-page story in the June 20 Cumberland Times-News:
The Irish responsible for the construction of the C&O Canal and the B&O Railroad finally will get the memorial their ancestors believe they deserve.
My first thought was: "Forget the memorial. Get us an interview with those dead ancestors!"

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