Even the ‘Pointless Forest’ has a point, says Oblioby Cherlyn Gardner Strong on Aug. 26, 2010, under Arizona Border
Last week, I wrote about my life in the forest on the Arizona-Mexico Border.
I received many comments both on and off the Tucson Citizen website about that post.
Some commenters said thank you to me for providing points to ponder, in regards to the complex border issue. Other commenters said that the article was pointless. Pointless, specifically, because I did not make a point to include my personal opinion regarding SB1070 or illegal immigration, nor did I make a point to suggest solutions to the problems related to the border.
I wrote a few off-topic posts away from my regular blog topic for about a week now. During that time I inserted one post that did make a point, at least the way I see it.
First, however, I’d like to share a story.
Harry Nillson wrote a story in the 1970′s called The Point! This story was made into an animated film, an album and a musical play.
The Point! is the story of Oblio, a small boy in the Pointed Village. In the Pointed Village, everything had a point. The people in the village even had points, including the trait of a point on top of their heads. Oblio, however, was different. He did not have a point on his head. He was born with a round head.
Because Oblio did not have a pointy head, he was banished to the Pointless Forest. In the Pointless Forest, Oblio had many experiences with the people and creatures of the forest. During his time in the Pointless Forest, Oblio made an important observation. He noticed that the trees had pointy tops and the mountains had pointy peaks. He realized that even the Pointless Forest had a point.
When he returned home to tell the villagers his point, everything became pointless in the Pointed Village, even the villagers’ heads – with the exception of Oblio’s. Oblio finally got that point on the top of his head.
There’s a point, to all this, and I’ll get to it.
The other day, I wrote on a drug tunnel discovered under the southbound lane of the Port of Entry in Nogales. I had several issues with the AP reporting of this story. The article emphasized that the Border Patrol, along with state, local and Mexican authorities discovered the unfinished tunnel. This point was made in two different paragraphs. Only one sentence pointed out that the tunnel was discovered on this day, only after the road collapsed under the weight of a bus. The rest of the article made a point that the discovery of drug tunnels in Arizona was down this year versus last year.
I became interested in drug tunnels for a period of time that evening. I Googled other articles about drug tunnels. I came across an article out of San Diego that stated that the Department of Homeland Security, noting an increase of drug tunnels (up 63%), pointed out that these tunnels are a growing threat to national security.
Well, needless to say, I had points to ponder from that article. Were tunnel numbers only up in California? This article didn’t say.
I presented both articles in a blog post. At the end of that post, I made a simple statement and posed a question that could be read in a number of ways:
If these “numbers” are true from DHS, it doesn’t make sense that the tunnels would actually be down in Arizona. It would make more sense that the “discoveries” in Arizona would be down.
I quickly received two answers to my question. One commenter who made a point is a fellow blogger and a former reporter for the Tucson Citizen. The other commenter did not state her background, but did also make a couple points.
From Hugh (a former reporter):
“God knows how many tunnels there are under Nogales. When I ran the Public Works Department we’d stumble into them whenever digging a trench. Sometimes the cartel would rent a house, and dig a tunnel from the house and only when neighbors got suspicious and the house was raided would the tunnel be discovered.
Some of the tunnels are quit professional…lights, ventilation. They mostly go to the city drainage system which connects to the covered tunnel that runs to Mexico..a major hole in border security….and occasionally the tunnels actually go straight across the border.
The joke down there is the whole downtown area is going to collapse into a giant sink hole.
The fact that fewer tunnels were discovered doesn’t mean there are fewer tunnels…another Border Patrol statistic game. It just means they haven’t been found yet.”
From Christina (background unknown):
“I read both articles and found the conclusion of the Citizen reporter unfounded. The article released by the AP only talks about the Tucson sector in the last year. The article published by NBC San Diego does not specifically say anything about a particular sector but says the border in general and discusses the events over the last several years (which is nebulous when trying to do a proper comparison). If both articles are true, the reporter should have come up with the conclusion that tunneling must be moving to other areas on the border, such as Tijuana and Calexico, and that the emphasis on the Tucson sector is actually discouraging the drug lords from taking chances in Nogales, but the most likely scenario is what Hugh said in his reply, they just haven’t found them, yet.”
Well, first off, we are not reporters here at the Tucson Citizen. We are bloggers. So, Hugh, as a former reporter, did not make reference to statistics from the media. Instead, he spoke from personal experience from his former job with the Public Works.
Christina, on the other hand, felt that I should have taken the stance as a reporter and deduced that the tunnel threat was moving to California. However, she did state her opinion that she agreed with Hugh that the tunnels had not been discovered yet in Arizona.
WAIT! Isn’t that what my deliberately misleading statement and question also hinted at – emphasized by quotation marks around the word ‘discoveries’? If you are unsure, go back and read it again. Perhaps you will still form a different opinion about what I meant. That’s your opinion.
The reason for that drug tunnel post was to actually get people to use their heads, with the points given, and to make a conclusion based on reasoning.
The same holds true for my pointless post about life in the forest. I made points in that post, but I did not offer my opinion, nor did I share my political views. It drove some people crazy that I did that.
Americans are too used to Maddow, Beck, Olbermann, and all the other talking heads making their talking points about the issues, forming their left or right skewed opinions based on the facts. During debate sessions I have with people, I hear: Maddow proved this, Beck proved that.
If you were simply presented with the facts, and you were not enlightened by their opinions or slant on the issues, would you really actually see things the same way as Maddow or Beck see them?
More and more, the same thing applies to the way the entire media present the news, even on the local news channels. Even if straight news is reported, the news anchors will heave a sigh, or shake their heads after a story. Or, they’ll come right out and say what they think.
Personally, I would rather be presented with a set of facts to use to form my own conclusions, but this does not hold true for everyone.
I purposely did not say what I think about what should be done about the border or what I think about SB1070. This threw some people off. Would my opinion have made the points that I shared in that article about the facts of my daily life, well, pointless? I think so. My opinions aren’t left or right. I see validity in many points that both sides make about the issues.
The point of the article was simply to share with readers about my life in a border region. Another point of it was to allow the reader to form their own opinion based on what I shared.
Nothing is going to happen based on an opinion piece. Any opinions, points and possible solutions that I think of will be sent to the government. They can decide whether I have made a good point that they should act on, or not.
I saw that some people on a discussion forum thought that my article was “b.s.”. That’s their opinion and I’m glad that they formed their own opinion about it, regardless of that opinion.
In that article about my life in the forest, I placed you in a Pointless Forest, like Oblio.
It is up to you to think about it and take a look around you. When you return to the Pointed Village, your view may be the same as Oblio’s. Maybe you might discover some other features of the forest that Oblio didn’t see. Perhaps you just can’t see the forest for the trees and come up with nothing.
It’s your set of eyes and it’s your brain. Form your own conclusion after considering all the points.
There’s no point to this pointless video clip, except that it’s from the animated film, The Point!
(Updated clip at 11:20 am)