Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Thursday, May 12, 2005  

She had big hair

I was sorry to read today:

Diana Griego Erwin, whose column has appeared in this space three days a week, resigned Wednesday amid an internal inquiry into whether some people mentioned in several recent columns actually existed.

The few dealings I had with Diana by email were fun. She was effervescent, and humorous even though she was a dyed-in-the wool liberal.

Her picture for her column used to be of an attractive woman with 80's huge hair. Brown, very curly, of great quantity, cascading all over and around her head. It was iconic.

I would like to believe that she simply erred in not making sure her sources could be easily relocated, but that doesn't look like it will happen. I feel bad for her and her family, and would be more saddened than angered if it is certain that she invented stories and people for her column.

I can imagine that after so many years, finding fresh stories, angles, people would be difficult. I know she didn't lack for stories since people were always calling about some sad thing, outrage, or problem with life and society they wanted publicized. But the writer gets awfully tired of the sameness after awhile. I mean one more pathetic case of a stolen welfare check, a rude bureaucrat, an instransigent INS or DMV.

Add to the fact that journalists like Diana are pretty much middle-brow folks without a great deal of depth, insight, or talent -- you can see that resources might run low.

She probably needed a sabbatical. Something to recharge her career, a change of tack, but the salary is good, and the work isn't that hard to do when you come down to it. One column a week, a few calls to make for quotes, and it's done.

It isn't easy to change your life when you're fifty or so, ready to quit, but not free to do so. Shortcuts are taken by the young and ambitious, the lazy, and by the old and tired.

Many of her stories helped people in need, though. Money was raised for projects and help; things got ironed out or settled better than they would have otherwise, and many found an advocate when they were down and out that gave them hope. Those are good things, but people shouldn't try to make a career of do-gooding. It's a path of diminishing returns. The psychic payoff wanes over time. Same with muckraking. A crusade can only last for a little while. There comes a point where you need to move on and get on with your own life.

Diana may have reached that point but couldn't make the decision. It looks like she made the decision another way - getting sloppy, getting caught, getting fired (resigned, yeah to be nice).

I wish her well, and I hope she finds something to do in the future that fully engages her positively.

Update and Corrections

In the Sunday Bee, the ombudsman received an email from Diana which simply stated that she had been suffering a matter of personal crises during the period of work in question.

She also wrote a three times a week column instead of once a week as I said above.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 1:05 PM |