In Other Words.....(4/3/14)

Jacob Lane · Wednesday, April 2, 2014
"If I'd written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people - including me - would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism." -Hunter S. Thompson

Thompson was the freakish fringe journalist of his day, the guy everyone loves in college because of his inaccessible attitude and sarcastic approach to journalism. He stated the facts, not necessarily about the story, but the human condition surrounding the story.

Quite frankly, he was a terrible journalist by any day's standards. He wasn't interested in the poppycock peril of first world Americans, he was interested in the murky truths that swam below. If he were to cover an easter egg hunt, Thompson would zero in on the violent competition among three-year-olds while examining their parents sitting back and watching the little gladiators. He had a way of bypassing a person's false outward persona and digging into their true character, like the world's most honest X-ray.

Having been at The Index for a while now, I'm beginning to understand the heart of Thompson. Don't worry, my fundamentals of journalism will stay intact, but as I get to know this town and its people more and more, I'm beginning to catch a glimpse into pieces of its true character. There are currents below the tide that shift and flow in certain directions. For instance, downtown West Liberty is in for some changes. The way it works, the way it looks, the way it functions, all aspects are going to undergo facelifts. Why? That just seems to be the way the town is flowing right now. Whether it be We Lead, the Rotary Club or the 176th committee, an emphasis has been placed on downtown beautification that wasn't there last year. Good or bad, Third Street won't look the same after this summer.

Another flow seems to be traveling in the direction of the Dutton Athletic Complex. I think the people of our community are ready to see it get finished, or they're ready to abandon it all together. Fortunately, the Parks and Recreation Department is taking a vested interest in finally bringing the Dutton to full fruition, beyond what the city can actually fund. It's a magnificent complex, but the tide is beginning to turn. If we, as a community, don't step in and make something out of it, the Dutton may be lost to time.

Finally, our city government may be in for a few more shake ups over the year. Personally, I believe we're in good hands, but there are still pieces behind the current that have yet to be revealed. You’re probably thinking, just how vague can this guy be? Well, at the moment I know just as much as you do. As I said before, it’s the current below the city that gives me this feeling.

So this is all speculation of course, we all know a riptide can tear in at any moment and change everything. Thompson would be the first to tell you his truth was his own, go find your own.

He'd also get sick of West Liberty. Thompson was always looking for a way to find the darkness within people. But here in West Liberty, there's a positive element under the surface of our ups and downs. No matter what we go through, people are still there for each other. For instance, take a look to your left. Jodi Kelly wrote us a wonderful letter about fellow community members standing up and making the Community Youth Group Breakfast Fundraiser a great success.

"No man is so foolish but he may sometimes give another good counsel, and no man so wise that he may not easily err if he takes no other counsel than his own. He that is taught only by himself has a fool for a master," wrote Thompson.

As a young guy in the little city I've found counsel from many of its older and wiser citizens. They've showed me where the city has been, and where the city is going. They've presented to me West Liberty's true character, one geared toward improvement.

However, there is absolute truth out there, the piece of ourselves we never want revealed. I hope it never finds itself on our pages, but the truth is the truth.

Now how's that for some vague talk?
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