What list did I make….naughty or nice?

Published 11:08 am Saturday, December 22, 2018

Responsibility, I believe, accrues through privilege.                 – Noam Chomsky


If you read this column last week (and a quick catch-up for those who didn’t), I used this space to wax about how what we call the “magic of the holidays” can also be shrouded in melancholy. I further spoke of ways to beat those Christmas blahs (charity work through altruism, the contagiousness of spreading holiday cheer, and how the actions of such ‘tidings of comfort and joy’ can boomerang back to you).

Well, not all those words or suggestions were mine.

I borrowed heavily – too heavily, perhaps – from another column in a sister publication, and this is now my moment of atonement.

There was a time when shortcuts, screw-ups, or even questionable information wouldn’t be tolerated on the opinion pages in just about any newsroom in America – kind of like getting caught lying in church. But now we live in the age of Facebook and Google, Instagram and Twitter; i.e., information overload – all of which can, in the blink of an eye, leave one’s credibility savagely exposed.


In an era where one of the most bandied-about phrases to attack legitimate media is ‘fake news’, a lot of people may wonder now if I can be considered trustworthy.

I define my role as a columnist as a chance to make a strong, informed and focused opinion on an issue of relevance. Is that always easy week in and week out? No, it’s not.

Still, it is within the realm of public trust and that same trust not being compromised. While I’m proud to have a weekly forum to dispense opinion, there are times when the stress and strain to find ideas – particularly original ideas – to disseminate and discuss can be trying.

Last week was one of those times, and rather than own up that I basically didn’t have anything foremost nor profound to say, I took an easy way out by plagiarizing some of the words of another writer.

The columns I write give me the luxury of expressing my opinions, though I always try to back them up with facts. And those facts, as such, are usually what leads me to these beliefs in the first place. Sometimes I’ll labor over a thought or notion and try to relate it back to you, the reader, as fairly and impartially as possible. That’s tough sometimes, folks.

So, this is my apology to Nathan Rice, from which the idea of writing about ways to spread Christmas cheer first crossed my mind; and because I felt at a certain nadir of self-esteem that I hadn’t any new ideas to call upon.

As a ‘shameless plug’, you may want to Google Mr. Rice and peruse some of his writings for yourselves. While I will confess he does live nearby, I won’t take the liberty of revealing his exact whereabouts out of respect for his privacy. Let’s just say, if you do let your eyes wander over a few of his columns you won’t be disappointed.

As for me, I’ll return here next week with what I promise will be my own ideas, own thoughts, and own musings. I hope what you read will amuse you, inspire you, and if you’re not too careful, or too particular, maybe even glean some small tidbit of wisdom from it.

In the meantime, how about another original thought: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.


Gene Motley is a Staff Writer at Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at gene.motley@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7211.