Reflecting on who are influencers

By Jack Neely,

The bank teller greeted me with, “How are you doing today?”

I responded, “It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there and I’m wearing milk-bone shorts!”

The teller gave me a quizzical look. As he had no idea where that came from, I explained Norm’s quip from the long-running TV show “Cheers.”

So once again I got leveled by my age.

I imagine he could have quoted any number of “personalities” or “influencers” from Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, WeChat, TikTok, or any of the other unsocial media outlets — and I would have had the same questioning look.

Influencers? Such a strange and hollow current concept. Some of my earliest influencers were my parents, an older sister, grandma and my kindergarten teacher — and the ubiquitous platform of the day: AM radio.

Radio was king when I was a youngster as we followed World War II via those airwaves, along with films at the Saturday matinee. My dad who served on Guam, and correspondents were my heroes — our influencers of a moral code.

Even more than 75 years later, I think I could identify the voices of Edward R. Murrow, Walter Winchell, Westbrook Van Voorhis, Charles Collingwood, Douglas Edwards, Eric Sevareid along with President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

I wonder what these stalwarts of factual reporting would think of our current political climate and how the masses are assaulted daily by talking heads on major media outlets, as well as on our unsocial media platforms, with outright lies, innuendo, conspiracy theories and accusations that have nothing to do with solving the problems at hand.

They might well view our “democracy” as on the brink, largely due to technology coupled with a significant portion of the population that is gullible, racist, immoral, incompetent and, to be blunt, just plain stupid.

Democracy is being attacked on all sides. And then we have those who commit sedition. Our World War II clarions would think they were reporting on the fascists of that bygone era. 

Jack Neely, 87, is a St. Anthony Park resident and occasional freelance writer-sage for the Bugle.

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