I have been feeling somewhat disillusioned and cynical recently and in the wee hours of this morning (sleepless again) I spent some time pondering the source of my cynicism. I realized that it’s about truth, or lack thereof, in communications and media that I’ve observed recently.
On some level I suppose I have always known that high profile people giving speeches have behind-the-scenes people crafting a message with the right words to impart the desired message; after all some people are just better at communicating via the written word than others. Okay.
But recently I have observed that same approach in communication used by other, perhaps not so high profile, individuals who take words that have been written by someone else and put them out as if they were their own and it bothers me. Why not be honest about the authorship? Wordsmithing and polishing a message written by someone is one thing, but creating it in its entirety and running it by the individual for a “yay” or “nay” is something else altogether.
Then there is the recently publication of Justin Bieber’s memoir First Step 2 Forever: My Story. That a sixteen year-old has had the life experience worthy of a memoir is debatable to begin with, but what bothers me more is that he is credited with writing the book. At sixteen years of age Mr. Bieber has attained a goal that I have dreamed of for much of my life: he has an ISBN number!
Did he sit down in between school, touring, and hanging out with his friends and family and actually pen this book himself? I can’t say for sure. What I do know for sure is the effort that goes in to writing a memoir; I’m working on the fifth draft of mine and, in my life, it’s not always easy to carve out dedicated writing time. I do have roughly thirty-six more years of life experience that I’m dealing with than Mr. Bieber so that might complicate my story as well.
Sarcasm aside, I don’t know for sure who wrote the book and in the grand scheme of things it probably doesn’t matter. It’s the trend toward, what I perceive as, deliberate deception that gets under my skin.
One thing I know for sure: when I do get my own ISBN number I guarantee that the book it belongs to will have been written by me. And only me.