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September, 2004 - Nr. 9


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Letter from the Editor

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister  

Dear Reader

As I sit here and write this editorial to you tropical storm Frances is causing havoc in Florida, in the south of Russia families are tormented by fear and grief inflicted upon them by terrorism, and in the USA the political heavyweights are slugging it out to win the lead in their upcoming election.

If I only read these kinds of headlines I could be made to feel that the world is a terrible place to be and there is no hope for us and nothing can be done about it.

That is the purpose of the chaos mongering and that is the effect it creates in most people. If you ask me: I call that terrorism of the worst kind, because it is legitimized with the mantle of righteousness. Claiming that the people have a right to know is used as an excuse to use the truth as a tool of terror. Freedom of the press apparently does not carry any responsibility with it. The HOW is not important, as long as the truth gets out, which leads us immediately into the question: Whose truth? The writer’s, the editor’s the advertiser’s truth? Take your pick; in the end it is all conjecture and paid for propaganda, unless it simply states the bare facts, as in: Who, what, where and when and in what form, no adjectives, no adverbs, just bare bones.

Sure, we have a right to know what is going on in the world, but we should also be able to avoid this so called truth and not have it rammed down our throats if we do not want to know every gory little detail.

This is not as easy as we might think since it is practice to push every emotional button on the book to upset people. This makes them buy more papers, turn on more bad news, and so a demand is created, that is not really needed or wanted, yet everyone is suffering because of it. We need to isolate this for what it is: chaos and fear mongering.

How do we learn not to be affected by this kind of news marketing?

Create your own emotions

To understand what this is really all about one would have to live entirely without such information for a certain amount of time and gage one’s well being before, during and after. This would mean that NO bad news is allowed per newspaper, radio, television, telephone, internet or any other form of communication.

In an age were people cannot even put down their cell phone while driving this is not easy. A lengthy vacation, as long as one can afford, would be the best way to get used to living without all that inflowing bad information. Then one must resist the impulse to reach again for all these sources of negativity. Slowly one can then reach, after one has become expert at avoiding, for some information from popular sources, limiting it to the good news and shun the headlines that scream chaos. Find radio stations that do not have bad news as the mainstay of their programming. But even my favorite classical channel made me listen to the crying of women in Russia, a trend I do not appreciate on that station. It is new.

And there is something we can do about outrageous programming. Howard Stern was chased off our airwaves in Canada because many people spoke out to the authorities…. I myself called with a hefty and lengthy message, which actually was played many times over many months at the radio station, after he discussed with the New York Governor religion and then launched seamlessly into pure interactive porn.

We must not forget that freedom of speech should also carry responsibility with it. Some ethical guidelines exist, but probably need redefining.

Sure, radios can be turned off, as can the TVs…but in our society this form of news casting surrounds us.

That is why we at Echo Germanica chose to remind our readers of the other parts that make life livable: our arts and culture, which we are passionate about! A little social criticism here and there is needed to keep all of us on our toes and keep a balance, so we can celebrate all those things that keep us going.

I hope you enjoy the journey as much as we do.

Have a wonderful fall!

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister


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