Dear Dirty America


Tell Our World Audience Every Detail, Bode Miller, About How It Feels To Lose Your Brother

Tell Our World Audience Every Detail, Bode Miller, About How It Feels To Lose Your Brother
February 17
14:28 2014

NBC’s Christin Cooper badgered an Olympics bronze medal winner named Bode Miller about how sad he must be about the loss of his brother until he broke down on national TV. In mainstream America, this is usually considered adequate journalism. Getting to the heart of the matter. Tapping into deep emotions. This is what makes the Sochi Olympics special, other than the shirtless portrait of Vladmir Putin hanging above the bed in every hotel room.

“Bode, you’re showing so much emotion down here, what’s going through your mind?” she asked, clearly though she knew what was going through his mind, as she then asked, “I know you wanted to be here with Chelly, really experiencing these Games. How much does this mean to you to come up with this great performance for him? And was it for him?”

And then, when the Alpine medalist trailed off and was overcome with emotion, Cooper hammered him again, “When you’re looking up in the sky at the start, we see you there and it looks like you’re talking to somebody. What’s going on there?”

What does it feel like to have your brother die? Can you tell us? Can you try to explain to a world audience how it feels to have your throat tighten up and tears stream out of your eyes because you lost someone dear to you?

But this is how reporters get to the meat of the story. A very close friend of mine studies at the University of Chicago. He lives in a tall building that houses students. It was paid for by the Rockefellers. His room is slightly smaller than a prison cell. There is one kitchen many floors below so dozens of students can wait in line to use the microwave. There is a community bathroom to encourage interaction between neighbors on the same floor.

Sadly, a young man died in his room a few floors beneath my friend. Nobody knew he died, but they thought there was a funny smell in the restroom. It also lingered in the hallway. When they found the young man, he’d been there awhile, turning back to dust as human bodies do. Foul play was ruled out.

The local news stations swarmed the doorways of the dormitory. When my friend stepped out to go to class, a female reporter jumped into his path and asked if he had any reaction to the news that a young man had died in the dormitory. “What did you think when you heard this? How has this news affected you?”

My friend shrugged it off. He walked away, but then he turned and went back to the woman with the microphone. Behind her a man held a TV camera. His black hair was braided and hung halfway down his back. He aimed the black machine at my friend.

“You have a reaction, sir? We’d love to get real opinions of those who live in the building.”

“Yes,” my friend said, “I’d like to suggest a possible headline for this story.” He raised his hands in the air as if to bracket off a space for the lead he was going to offer them. He glanced into the darkened eye of the camera. “Newsflash!” he said, and lifted one finger, “Young people die too, sometimes, and it sucks!”

A few moments later, as my friend was walking away, the reporter shouted after him, “Thank you! Anything else?”

[photo by Jon Wick]

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