Travel may be Broadening but it’s also Different

Ship’s Log Day 1

In his newly acquired vessel, a van of recent vintage, the mariner set sail for Phoenix, Arizona, USA. When his first mate took the helm, he decided to lounge luxuriously aft in the Captain’s quarters. Opening his laptop to write to his readers – note the mariner’s skill at hitting both the right key and only the right key is already challenged – typing while moving has a fail rate approaching 75%. It is wise that programmers have provided voice-driven software. Now, if the mariner can reduce road noise enough for the software to hear his voice, things will be fine. Another tip for typing while moving is to turn off the mouse and use the inboard pad; all the mouse wants to do is escape.

The first day’s course is set for Oklahoma City; it involves foregoing the fastest course, due south, to avoid rain and flooding. At Leon, IA, we changed bearing to southwest; without incident docked in Oklahoma City 20:30 hours. 

Ship’s log Day 2

In the morning, as we ate our free breakfast, we encountered the first sign that we were traveling in foreign waters: the restaurant TV is on FOX channel. Regular readers know the mariner, on occasion, is not wholly conservative. Nevertheless, he considers himself a tolerant soul. It’s simply that he is unaccustomed to traveling abroad. Things are different.

The first impression, as we sail further into Southwest waters, is the tone of the media – not just TV but newspapers and advertising. Conversation, too, is less tolerant – or perhaps more judgmental about unaccustomed topics. It makes mariner think about chicken and egg relationships: what came first, the media or the people? Thinking about it, the people came first but what sustains public opinion? Would folks anywhere have more thoughtful opinions if the media didn’t harp on headline grabbing interpretations that induce separatism as a way of life? The mariner decides the same undue influence is universal but different in each region.

Since communication corporations decided that news is also a profit center and not just a public service, the public has been abused in its desire to know just the facts, ma’am. News departments are now required to obtain market share; not only does the public not receive important but unentertaining news, it receives altered news focused on market share at the cost of encouraging close-mindedness. It is not hard to know why there will never be another Ed Murrow, Walter Cronkite or Huntley-Brinkley.

It is time for the mariner to take a turn at the helm. Today our course takes us to the port of Albuquerque.

Ancient Mariner


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