Perhaps we are becoming rather blasé about the phenomenon of web journalism (commonly known and often derided as “blogging”). Many of us still write what we wish, refusing to succumb to the urge or promise of making monetary profits by agreeing to become the mouthpieces of commerce, thereby to surrender the opportunity of sharing something about ourselves other than our apparent greed. How much is it worth to you to write freely, to display whatever you are pleased and prepared to share, what you think, think you know or believe?
It used to be a rare chance indeed to make yourself heard in a public forum comprising of more than a room full of people. The media who can spread news or opinions beyond the small circle of our communities, they always seem to be owned or run by others, be it likeminded or otherwise. That sense of being removed or apart from the media is largely a misconception, at least in democratic societies, a misconception arising from the distrust or apathy of the individual who does not participate, let alone initiate debates. And yet, what went on the air was generally prepared for the listener-turned-consumer by those who chose to enter the radio industry, whether to teach, delight, or exploit.
How exciting it must have sounded to the radio listener of 1951 when a program called This I Believe premiered on CBS, soon to be heard by American and international audiences the world over. This week, BBC Radio 4 is offering an hourlong introduction to This I Believe, its origins, its creators (among them Edward R. Murrow, pictured above), and its participants—an eclectic group of housewives and luminaries).
So, what if you were given four and a half minutes—or no more than 600 words—publicly to express your beliefs (something thousands have done since the revival of This I Believe in 2003)? What would you say? Would you find the words—and the courage—to say it?
However easy it is to say I, I believe that it should take more than a moment’s haphazarding to examine and express one’s philosophy, provided such a philosophy, which lies beyond performance and conformity, can be formulated at all. Yes, it is far easier to say “I” than it is to add “believe” and to follow it with words that truly follow . . .