Mike Wallace is Here: A Convergence of Ideas

I’m having a convergence of ideas culminating in a life changing philosophy. Contributors are: Martha Gellhorn’s Lettters as detailed in an October 2019 release book by Janet Somerville, a song by The Wood Brothers “Postcards From Hell”, a 2014 commencement address by Jim Carrey and last, but certainly not least, the documentary “Mike Wallace is Here” directed by Avi Belkin.

I’ll focus on the documentary first since that’s why you stopped by. (Smiley face) I’ve seen my share of biographical docs this year; Maria Callas, Pavarotti, Dr. Ruth, Leonard Cohen and have to say that “Mike Wallace is Here” and Ask Dr. Ruth rise far above the others. Reason being they both show people totally engrossed by their passion; Ruth’s to inform and dis-inhibit the populace about sex and Mike to search for the journalistic truth.

The others, while obviously covering the person du jour’s passion, didn’t capture the essential character. Sure we see Leonard’s ‘sides’, but do we fully understand his drug and sex fueled middle years. Or perhaps Cohen, Pavarotti, Callas either changed more throughout life or are simply too elusive or diluted to understand. In comparison, “Mike Wallace is Here” is more accolade worthy.

We see Wallace, far ahead of his time as one of the first reporters to ask the tough and real questions. Let go as a result of these being too shocking for conservative times, Wallace made money where he could, as ad spokesman, sometimes actor and game show host. He bided his time and eventually met Don Hewitt with who their synchronicity in search of the truth led them to make 60 Minutes into a must watch weekly television show. I’ll let you view the doc to get the rest of the story, but suffice to say, if we all searched for truth the way Wallace did, we’d be a better society. One last rationale is that Wallace didn’t need to demean or attack, he simply had to ask pointed questions. The KKK leader he interviewed in full garb doesn’t need to be put down, his ridiculousness and utter weakness is on full display simply by him speaking ignorant racial views. Truth, if you allow it, will always rise to the top. Shouting it down only serves to keep evil lurking in the shadows.

Back to my epiphany, I continue to love being 55. The epiphany that’s come from an amalgamation of music, literature and film is that I am slowly breaking free of inhibitions which for a near professional worry wart is a feat and a half. “Mike Wallace is Here” helped to strengthen that, ‘be who you want to be and f%$# everyone else’s opinions’, which also demands avoiding toxic people.

My favorite physical fitness hobby speaks to that notion, so it’s high time my mental health followed suit. Long distance runner means running at my own pace, at the time that works for me. It’s now time to run the rest of my life in that order. Enough guilt and paranoia about what I may have done wrong or ‘why doesn’t so and so like me? And more, ‘well? sucks to be you if you don’t respond or if your cockeyed response speaks to some dysfunction that blocks caring and supporting a fellow human’.

So thank you Avi Belkin, for adding another layer of shellac on my ever increasing shine.

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