And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. "John 8:32, King James Version of The Bible.

Truth is inedible.
"Louis Ferdinand Céline, Voyage to the End of Night, 1935.

What a gulf. And I have sailed in it, dismasted.

John was a familiar if sometimes frightening friend to me as a child, growing up in a Christian boarding school. I knew that passage well. I never doubted it. And when I became a journalist I committed to live by it in my reporting and editing.

In college I read Céline. He was under a cloud for his anti-Semitism, as many others should have been but were no "yet. Like so much that I read in those days, his misanthropic daring, his deadly and sometimes hysterical humor flew over my head.

I have no excuse. All I can say is that my education taught me how to learn, but I did not emerge from it educated. Does anyone? Journalism took up my education from there. Once I realized that most of the world`s skulduggery was documented I took to journalism enthusiastically.

Television gives a poor impression of what good journalism is all about. The TV people look and act as if they don`t read and don`t need to read. Yes, it shows. Considerable trivialization of issues has resulted. When an issue is subjected to the question, Will it play? rather than, What is it about? news becomes a pastime much less serious than baseball. In large doses, which is what we get with cable news, it gets on our nerves, becomes a stressor and sickens us.

Only at the end of my journalistic career, when nobody cuts me a paycheck, do I recognize how terribly irreconcilable John`s and Céline`s statements are. They may well both be right, but where does that leave us?

I think we have witnessed again and again in the 20th and 21st Centuries the dramatically unfolding truth that truth is unpalatable and that people often prefer lies, myths and, well, a crock. They prefer their ideologies, their belief systems, their hand-me-down ideas to scrutiny, to facts, to the truth. The so-called freedom of the press "our press is commercially censored "has not instilled in us a passion for the truth.

Lies smooth our hair and our feathers, they grease the skids, they comfort us, but truth upsets us, scares us, and it won`t get in bed with the people and ideas we`ve been sleeping with. Truth is the great pain in the ass. Lies are doughnuts, truth is castor oil. Cable news in its 24-hour braggadocio purports to bring us the truth, but instead it incites paranoia and is far more stressful than caffeine or illegal drugs.

Ultimately journalism, when it is conducted on a high level, is as much about disabusing us of our untenable notions as it is about telling us the plain, unvarnished truth. We`re high on the varnish, we don`t want to come off it.

So, as we question what will become of journalism in cyberspace we must question what will become of our sugar tooth for lies. The people who have been given the public`s airwaves to use and abuse recognize this sugar tooth. That`s why we have Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and all the other hate-mongers. They knew they had a ready-made audience, the people who think they know exactly which truths John means. Such people regard John as a hand puppet.

But preconceptions and prejudices vs. free inquiry hardly describe the conundrum. There have always been inciters "remember Father Charles Edward Coughlin and Senator Joseph McCarthy "but they amount to nothing unless cynical people with money finance their trouble-making. And the people who finance Beck, Hannity and Limbaugh, et al, have been granted the use and care of airwaves owned by the public.

Djelloul (jeh-lool) Marbrook was born in 1934 in Algiers to a Bedouin father and an American painter. He grew up in Brooklyn, West Islip and Manhattan, New York, where he attended Dwight Preparatory School and Columbia. He then served in the U.S. Navy.

His book of poems, Far From Algiers, won the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize from Kent State University in 2007 and was published in 2008. His story, Artists Hill, adapted from the second novel of an unpublished trilogy, won the Literal Latté first prize in fiction in 2008. His poems have been published in The American Poetry Review, Barrow Street, poemeleon, The Same, and other journals. The pioneering e-book publisher, Online Originals (UK), published his novella, Alice MIller`s Room, in 1999. He worked as a reporter for The Providence Journal and as an editor for The Elmira (NY) Star-Gazette, The Baltimore Sun, The Winston-Salem Journal & Sentinel and The Washington Star. Later he worked as executive editor of four small dailies in northeast Ohio and two medium-size dailies in northern New Jersey.


Del`s book, Far From Algiers: http://upress.kent.edu/books/Marbrook_D.htm

New review of Far from Algiers: http://www.rattle.com/blog/2009/05/far-from-algiers-by-djelloul-marbrook/

Artists Hill, Literal Latté`s fiction first prize: http://www.literal-latte.com/author/djelloulmarbrook/

His blog: http://www.djelloulmarbrook.com

His mother`s art: http://www.juanitaguccione.com

His aunt`s art: http://www.irenericepereira.com


Far From Algiers Video Trailer #1 from Brent Robison on Vimeo.