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The Drift

Photo credit: Genessa Gutzait

“Just the opposite of what you’re reading is what’s going on.” That’s what Alice Cooper told NME on Tuesday, concerning his friend Johnny Depp and the press. Although he was only addressing  the way the press treats celebrities, I think there lurks a larger truth behind his words.

Of course, fake news comes to the front of my mind. What you read about rival politicians, partisan issues, and even local events can spin any number of ways. As reporters, our job at The Sentry demands we remove ourselves from all this spin. But can we really step outside our own biases to deliver a faithful sketch of the larger world? Can anyone?

As I sit in the office the morning before we publish the paper, making headlines snappier and cutting the bottoms off of articles, I can’t help but wonder whether these mutated children really paint a perfect picture. If I change a word or two, has something disappeared? If I cut a sentence down, have I stripped it of all significance? If I add on somewhere else, do I drown the original meaning in alphabet soup? As an editor, do I rob my writers of any poetic intentions they might have otherwise included?

I love the cliff on the back side of Mt. Beirstadt, the way it falls neatly down into the lake below. I love the smooth cliff walls, and I imagine smacking into them. I feel both terrified and amazed. I even love the vertigo I get when I stand on the edge of the mountain and look up to the washed out sky, blue and cloudless.

I climbed the mountain last spring for the first time in a long time, and snow blankets everything above treeline. The cliff near the summit has a shelf of snow blown out, over the edge, like an alpine porch. It masks the deadly fall. Below, the lake lies frozen, still mingled in among the miniature pine trees that claw their way toward the circ. My footing remains careful. The last thing I  want is to misstep and fall to my death.

Johnny Depp is a good person. After all the rumors of drugs, weight loss, mental instability, irresponsible spending, and an abusive relationship with Amber Heard, he remains healthy in another reality. He remains intact.

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